Parents outsourcing task of teaching kids how to ride a bike

On the list of indicators that we are in end times, we offer this from today’s Boston Globe: Some parents aren’t teaching their kids how to ride a bike anymore. They’re outsourcing the task.

“Having someone with patience, who’s done it before [is helpful],” said one bike shop owner.

It’s not that the bike shops are foisting this on parents; they’re trying to meet the demand of parents, the newspaper says.

Some parents seek teaching help because they don’t know how to ride a bike themselves. Others are too busy. Many can’t take the whining.

In Somerville, Lydgate was thrilled to stand by and watch as Susan McLucas — a grandmotherly woman with the world’s calmest vibe — taught Lydgate’s daughter, Marina, to ride a bike in 45 emotion-free minutes.

“I didn’t have to be implicated in any way,” she said.

Thirty-one years ago, when McLucas started the Bicycle Riding School , out of a ramshackle barn behind her Davis Square house, her intention was to help “the poor adults who spend their whole life not knowing how to ride.”

But along the way she taught a kid or two, and word spread from one parent to another. Now, demand has grown to the point where the kids have squeezed out the grownups, and McLucas needs to hire another teacher. (She already has one working for her.)

McLucas starts kids coasting down a very gentle slope so they can learn to balance and then teaches them to pedal — sometimes with her in tow, holding them up with a harness.

It’s only going to get worse. Thirteen percent of today’s 18-to-34-year-olds don’t know how to ride a bike and won’t be able to teach their kids.

There’s also another reality behind this. Kids won’t listen to parents. They’ll listen to someone getting paid to do the same thing.