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Franklin could swim underwater and hit a home run. He knew how to climb the monkey bars and pump himself high on the swings. But Franklin had a problem. He couldn't ride his bicycle without training wheels.
In the spring, all of Franklin's friends had training wheels on their bikes.
Beaver was the brave one. She took her extra wheels off first. She practised and practised. Then she went to the park to show off.
"Look at me!" she shouted. "I can ride my bike all by myself."
Franklin watched Beaver ride around in circles.
It wasn't long before Beaver could signal with one paw and hold on to the handlebar with the other.
Soon, everyone but Franklin could ride without training wheels.
"We're going on a picnic," said Bear. "Come on."
Franklin was worried that his friends would make fun of his training wheels.
"I'm not hungry," Franklin fibbed. He went home to eat lunch, alone.
Afterwards, Franklin asked his mother to help take the training wheels off his bike. He wanted to ride all by himself.
He sat on his bike, and his mother gave him a push.
Franklin wibbled and wobbled, and teetered and tottered. Then he fell into the flower bed.
"I can't do it," he said. "I'm never riding this bike again."
For the rest of the week, Franklin felt left out.
He watched as his friends rode off without him.
They were becoming great explorers on their bikes.
On Saturday, Franklin's friends zoomed by his house.
"That looks like fun," said Franklin's mother.
"I can't ride without my training wheels," groaned Franklin.
"Did you give it your best effort?" asked his mother.
"Well ..." said Franklin. "Maybe I could try one more time."
Franklin sat on his bike.
"It's tippy!" he cried.
His mother held on the seat. "Try it. I won't let go until you tell me to."
Franklin pedalled while his mother guided the bicycle from behind.
He felt unsteady and very unsure.
"I'm going to fall," he said, and he stopped pedalling.
"Riding a bicycle is difficult," said his mother. "But you can't give up just because it's frustrating."
"It's too hard for me," said Franklin. "It was easy for my friends."
"Do you think everything comes easily for them?" she asked.
Franklin had to think about that.
Franklin went to the park.
He saw Beaver struggling to swing on the monkey bars. Each time she got to the third rung, she fell into the sand below.
"No, Beaver," said Bear. "Do it like this. It's easy."
"Easy for you," said Beaver.
She tried one more time and fell again.
"Maybe tomorrow," Beaver grumbled.
Excerpted from Franklin Rides a Bike by Paulette Bourgeois, Brenda Clark. Copyright © 1997 Contextx Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Kids Can Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Posted December 29, 2011
Posted July 6, 2013