I want to share with you how I taught all five of my kids to ride a bike. Then you can teach your child how to ride a bike with ease. When I was a kid, I rode a bike with training wheels, and then when we took the training wheels off, I had to learn how to balance. Here is my dad running behind me making sure I don’t fall.
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When my oldest was learning how to ride a bike, she had training wheels at first also. But after a little while, we realized, we should teach her to balance first and then how to pedal. The best way to teach her to balance would be to take off the training wheels and pedals. We lowered the seat so she could have her feet flat on the ground. Now we had our own balance bike, before balance bikes were even a thing.
We had a sidewalk out our back door that was down hill. It made it really easy for her to lift up her feet and roll down the hill while she learned how to balance. She picked up her feet and used them to catch herself if she started to tip over. It didn’t take long for her to start balancing and then she was able to put her feet up on the bars of the bike while she coasted down the hill. When she had the balancing down, she could ride around anywhere. She would kinda run with her feet to get up to speed and then put her feet on the body of the bike. When she was confident at balancing, we added the pedals back on and she was off. The amount of time it takes for each kid to be comfortable balancing will vary. It could be two weeks, it could be two months. Let them be the ones to tell you when they are ready to put the pedals back on.
Each of my kids have been different ages when they started riding a balance bike. We let them determine when they were ready. I would recommend not giving them a bike with training wheels at all. If they start that way, it might hinder them. We did give one of my sons a bike with training wheels when he was young, maybe two or three years old. And then he was afraid to ever try a balance bike until he was about five years old.
Our second son received a balance bike when he was 18 months old. He used a balance bike the longest, just because he wasn’t tall enough for a bike with 12 inch tires. He was three when he started riding with pedals. He was so good on that balance bike though. He would run really fast to get momentum and then put his feet on the bars as he coasted around. He would even go off the curbs to make little jumps.
With our last daughter, she wasn’t willing to start riding the balance bike until she was three and a half. It took two weeks for her to feel confident on it. When I introduced her to her new bike with pedals, she was SOOOO excited! She rode it for five hours on the first day! She did crash and burn a few times, but she got right back up and started again.
These days, you can buy a balance bike like we did with our third child. Or you can make your own with a current bike. This is great if your child is older and too big for the little balance bikes.
Here are the steps to take to make your own balance bike
- Remove the training wheels with a wrench
- Remove the pedals
You’re going to unscrew the bolt that attaches the pedal to the crank arm.
Find a wrench that is the right size for the bolt. Put your bike upside down on it’s handles and seat. When your standing facing the left side of your bike(the left side when it’s standing upright), with the left pedal in front of you, you’re going to unscrew the bolt clockwise. Now reach over to the right pedal and unscrew clockwise also (see the picture below). Label the pedals so you put them back on the correct sides.
Here is what it looks like when the pedals are off.
Now you have a balance bike!
3. Lower the seat so their feet are flat on the ground
Now find a hill, or a downhill driveway so they can build momentum without trying very hard. Also, you should teach them how to turn their handles so they can control their bike and so they won’t run into any cars, people, or curbs(we’ve had a couple kids do that). And tell them to use their feet to stop when they need to.
I tell them to pick up their feet as they coast down the hill so they can get the hang of it. That way, if they start tilting to one side, they can catch themselves easily before falling over. Then, when they aren’t falling to one side or the other anymore, I tell them to rest their feet on the bars of the bike when they coast down the hill. Now they can ride their balance bike wherever they want. Have them run to get going fast, and then put their feet up while they coast around.
When they’re ready, put the pedals back on, and they’ll be so proud that they can ride a bike! At this point, make sure they know how to use their brakes since they’ve been using their feet to stop for a while.
I think this is the best way to teach your child to ride a bike so they are confident in their abilities and they will be less likely to fall since they are balancing before pedaling.
I hope this was helpful and that your child will be confident and successful in riding a bike very soon. And let me know how things go!
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