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Single stabiliser

Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
edited December 1969 in Campaign
Has anyone taught a kid to ride using a single stabiliser - ie removed one and left one on ?

I teach an after school cycling club and we have some quite young kids - one has one stabiliser on - I'm minded to tell his parents either to send him with both or neither - what do you think ? Last week we took the stabiliser off (probably a mistake) and gave him some 1 to 1 tuition on a grass surface - but his parents have reacted badly to this.

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  • OrbiterOrbiter Posts: 32
    It seems to me far better for kids to start on a cycle with no pedals or stabilisers. This is pretty standard in Germany with very young kids and makes a lot of sense. It's easier to just learn to balance than to coordinate balancing and pedalling at the same time.

    On the other hand my grandson dropped his stabilisers at three. The only problem was teaching him about brakes (which costs a fortune in shoes)!

    One stabiliser sounds totally stupid and I'd definitely talk to the parents about taking it off asap.

    Pete
  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    Google the "Ballantine method"

    Basically his theory was that the stabilisers have a problem in thatthe kid simply leans on them, and there is no incentive to balance.

    THe problem is balancing and pedalling so....

    Remove pedals and lower saddle.

    Introduce the bike and brakes.
    Let child scoot around hobby-horse like
    As they become more confident they will naturally start coasting further, and using the brakes
    At this stage, reintroduce the pedals as a foot rest whilst coasting
    Pedalling will follow naturally

    I have taught several children this way - as there is no pressure, the child develops quickly. One child went from refusing to even try to riding in less than an hour!



    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
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    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
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  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Thanks - yes personally I'd have the stabilisers off this kid and let him learn to ride - problem is the parents are "furious" we took the stabiliser off and are insisting we take him with one stabiliser or they intend to shut down the after school cycling club - not quite sure what tactic they intend to employ!

    Had a chat tonight with one of the chaps I run the club with (a fellow forumer) and I think we are going to reply politely that we think either their son comes with both stabilisers or none at all - I'm genuinely not happy about having him riding on tarmac which we use for the group activities with one stabiliser - I just think it's almost inevitable he'll fall off.

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  • mjonesmjones Posts: 1,915
    We've bought several 'Like a bikes' for small nephews and neices- small wooden bikes without pedals- strictly speaking, hobby-horses. Children love them and quickly get the hang of balance, so they are ready to ride without stabilisers when they progress to a proper bicycle.

    As a child learning to ride I had stabilisers, and I'm sure they only hindered my learning to balance properly.
  • Uncle MortUncle Mort Posts: 1,124
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Cunobelin</i>

    Google the "Ballantine method"

    Basically his theory was that the stabilisers have a problem in thatthe kid simply leans on them, and there is no incentive to balance.

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Cunobelin, that's really interesting - thanks. I'll be teaching my daughter to ride very soon and that definitely looks like the way to go. Although her big sister is so full of self confidence she just got on the bike and started pedaling. Unfortunately she hadn't got her head round the concept of brakes though...

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  • I have been shouted at before in this forum about saying this but...(deep intake of breath) Bicycles (and Motorbikes) steer diferently to Tricycles and cars.
    In that Bikes steer backwards. ie to turn left you have to push the left bar forward.
    (I am sure that someone will have a more technical reference, but trust me). Trikes steer by pushing the righthand handlebar forward to turn left.

    So poor little Johnny has been given a bike with stabilisers. This is effectivly a trike. He learns that to turn left he has to push the right hand bar forward.
    Now what happens when you take away the stabilisers is that the steering reverses. Poor Johnny doesn't know this and pushes the righthand bar forward and falls off. He is told that he can't balance (remembering that he now has to lean inward).
    Eventually through trial and error he starts to push the left bar and stops falling off so often.
    Until he gets a moped and finds that there is a tree with his name on it and no matter how much he steers into the corner the tree gets nearer!

    So by taking off one stabiliser Johnny does not have a hope of steering unless he moves his Centre of gravity over the stabiliser to ensure that he remains a Trike. I guess that anyone observing him will think that he can't balance and is dependant on the stabiliser as he will be leaning on it so heavily.
  • graeme_s-2graeme_s-2 Posts: 3,382
    One stabiliser only sounds absolutely nuts to me. It's inevitable that he's frequently going to fall off on the other side.

    A cycling friend of mine has a like-a-bike (or similar - it's a wooden thing from Germany) for his son, and my step-nephew who is the same age has a bike with stabilisers. The friend's son bombs around like a lunatic on his like-a-bike with his feet clear off the floor, whereas my step-nephew is limited to pootling around with his stabilisers where he exhibits no balance at all. It's pretty clear who'll be riding a 'proper' bike sans stabilisers first.
  • ArchcpArchcp Posts: 8,987
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Brightspark</i>

    I have been shouted at before in this forum about saying this but...(deep intake of breath) Bicycles (and Motorbikes) steer diferently to Tricycles and cars.
    In that Bikes steer backwards. ie to turn left you have to push the left bar forward.
    (I am sure that someone will have a more technical reference, but trust me). Trikes steer by pushing the righthand handlebar forward to turn left.

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Er, I think what you're describing is a pretty extreme haul turn, where pushing the left bar forewards causes the bike to fall to the left, whereupon you correct quickly. I'm certainly never aware of pushing my left bar foreward to steer left. The key difference is that bikes lean onto corners, where trikes and bikes with stabilisers don't (unless the stabilisers are so far up so as to be pointless anyway)

    Hobby horse bikes are the way to go. Or the ordinary bike without pedals or stabilsers, as others above have said. It also works for teaching adults who've never learnt to ride.

    What is the parents' problem with taking it off, for goodness sake? Do they not really want the kid to learn, in which case, why send him there? I thought the point of sending a kid to a class or club was for experts to teach them to do something. If they know so much, they should be teaching him...

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  • "I'm certainly never aware of pushing my left bar foreward to steer left. The key difference is that bikes lean onto corners, where trikes and bikes with stabilisers don't (unless the stabilisers are so far up so as to be pointless anyway)"

    That is the problem, no many people are aware that they do this. They assume that they are turning the bars like they did on their first bike with stabilisers or trike. That is why when that bend goes wrong and you see that tree with your name on it you seem unable to do anything about it.
    Many people also assume that they go around the corner by leaning it. You can make the machine change direction by just leaning it over, but I don't think that you are steering it. Try to do a turn with no hands on the handlebars. You can get around a corner but would you be able to do so with any precision?

    I also suggest that you have a go on the next trike you see. You will find that the steering feels wrong, even at slow speeds.

    It does sound like the hobby horse technique works though.
    And well done to to Tom for running the club.
  • RRRR Posts: 24
    Another vote for the hobby horse method, one stabliser seems lethal to me. By the time kids get to school they are too big and fast to be safe on two, but one?

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  • RRRR Posts: 24
    Forgot to say St Johns St Cycles have some something like a bikes on ebay at low prices.

    My bike produces less greenhouse gases than a Baby Elephant
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  • i remember my bike having stabilisers on and being gradually bent up by me slamming the bike round corners at speed

    this allowed the bike to lean etc like a normal bike, but caught me before falling or allowed me to fall off but not have the bike come to join me.

    i ride by steering / leaning the bike with my butt before catching the bars and guiding, something that may change when i get the road bike working.
  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    I think having one stabilister on a bike is about as logical as slapping yourself roughly about the face with a wet kipper.
    It makes ABSOLUTELY no sense. If the child falls to the side without the stabiliser, then it's no different to having no stabilisers, if they fall to the side WITH, then it's no different to having two.

    You've got to think of the possible reasons for this.
    Is it perhaps because the parents can only afford one stabiliser - can't you have a whip-round?
    Is the child in fact a secret 'twilight DH master' and lies awake waiting for his parents to go to bed, and then sneaks out to tear up the local trails, and one night when the moonlight wasn't so good, knocked one of them clean off on a tree coming out of a fast berm?


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  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    Further to that, you probably need to take a harder line with his parents. Lay down the law to them. Tell them if they're such experts, why do they send him to you?
    They need to let you do your job and stop being such back-seat drivers.


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  • CunobelinCunobelin Posts: 11,792
    There is an even better, but rarer compromise than the Like-a-bike.

    It was a framed version, but the back wheel had a single cog.

    There was then a stub where the bottom bracket sits.

    Once the child is used to scooting, an insert added the bottom bracket to the stub, and a chain added..... hence a bike.




    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
    <b><i>He that buys land buys many stones.
    He that buys flesh buys many bones.
    He that buys eggs buys many shells,
    But he that buys good beer buys nothing else.</b></i>
    (Unattributed Trad.)
  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    I don't think we give children enough credit. Who has known a child take a much longer time to learn because they had stabilisers on their bike? I haven't. I see kids regularly aged up to 7ish with stabilisers on, but I think this is just down to laziness on their teacher's part.

    There are 3 parts to learning to ride a bike -balance, braking and pedalling. Push a child off on a normal 2-wheeler first time out and they've got no chance, because they are trying to master all three at the same time. Stabilisers are useful in that the child gets to learn the braking and pedalling without having to worry about balancing.

    Like a bikes are the way to go with learning to balance (you don't have to worry about brakes or pedalling), but the likeabike brand is ridiculously expensive. Lidl usually do their own version once a year for œ10 or œ15. We had one, our eldest learned to balance on it in about 20 minutes, and it is now working its way around his friends. All of whose parents are amazed at how quickly they balance.

    Islabikes do a better version of likeabike, it's only œ75, and a 2-year old can fit it easily.

    Of course there is always the traditional, cheaper, balance-learning machine. The 2-wheeled scooter. You can pick these up for œ10, and it is an easier way of learning to balance, but with much less chance of ending up on the floor.

    We also found stabilisers useful on long journeys. Concentrating on balancing as well as the other functions is tiring, and it was good to be able to screw the stabilisers on when he was tired, and then we could go off on much longer rides.

    And I think this whole opposite steering thing is also a red herring. It doesn't cause problems. I've never seen a child go from a trike to two wheels and fall off because of the steering. Personally, I would question it anyway. If there is any opposite lock needed, then it seems that it is only necessary to unbalance the bike into a turn, and then you steer properly.

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  • BigBrenBigBren Posts: 145
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Who has known a child take a much longer time to learn because they had stabilisers on their bike? I haven't.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I have actually - we had a torrid time getting my son to ride a 'proper' bike, after leaving him relying on stabilisers for far too long. Everything about riding a real bike frustrated and frightened him, and it all seemed like far too much effort in comparison to tootling around on stabilisers.

    Our LBS explained to us the method that Cunobelin outlined earlier in this thread, and we had it all turned around in a couple of weeks. It was quite amazing to see - he loves cycling now and is about to join our local junior triathlon club, so a vote for the Ballantine method here.

    Bren
  • BentMikeyBentMikey Posts: 4,895
    One stabiliser? I think the parents are a little nutty to do that. Go with the like a bike method, we've used it to huge effect with miniMikey, and I would also tell the parents that if they're such experts, perhaps they should take their child out of the class and teach him themselves.

    Arch, Brightspark is right on the countersteering btw.

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  • The BosscpThe Bosscp Posts: 647
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Brightspark</i>

    ...Bikes steer backwards. ie to turn left you have to push the left bar <b>forward</b>.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Arch</i>


    Er, I think what you're describing is a pretty extreme haul turn, where pushing the left bar forewards causes the bike to fall to the left, whereupon you correct quickly. I'm certainly never aware of pushing my left bar foreward to steer left. The key difference is that bikes lean onto corners, where trikes and bikes with stabilisers don't (unless the stabilisers are so far up so as to be pointless anyway)
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by BentMikey</i>


    Arch, Brightspark is right on the countersteering btw.

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Sort of, you DO push the left bar to turn left, but you're not so much pushing it <b>forward</b> so much as pushing it <b>down</b>. Apparently it's the same or even more noticeable when riding a motorbike.

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  • Mister PaulMister Paul Posts: 719
    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by BigBren</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Who has known a child take a much longer time to learn because they had stabilisers on their bike? I haven't.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    I have actually - we had a torrid time getting my son to ride a 'proper' bike,<b> after leaving him relying on stabilisers for far too long</b>. Everything about riding a real bike frustrated and frightened him, and it all seemed like far too much effort in comparison to tootling around on stabilisers.

    Our LBS explained to us the method that Cunobelin outlined earlier in this thread, and we had it all turned around in a couple of weeks. It was quite amazing to see - he loves cycling now and is about to join our local junior triathlon club, so a vote for the Ballantine method here.

    Bren
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    (my bold) And that was my point. No-one is ever going to learn to balance by being left on stabilisers. But they do have their uses. And switching between 2- and 4-wheels when the child is learning really doesn't cause any problems.

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  • <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by The Boss</i>

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Brightspark</i>

    ...Bikes steer backwards. ie to turn left you have to push the left bar <b>forward</b>.<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Arch</i>


    Er, I think what you're describing is a pretty extreme haul turn, where pushing the left bar forewards causes the bike to fall to the left, whereupon you correct quickly. I'm certainly never aware of pushing my left bar foreward to steer left. The key difference is that bikes lean onto corners, where trikes and bikes with stabilisers don't (unless the stabilisers are so far up so as to be pointless anyway)
    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    <blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by BentMikey</i>


    Arch, Brightspark is right on the countersteering btw.

    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    Sort of, you DO push the left bar to turn left, but you're not so much pushing it <b>forward</b> so much as pushing it <b>down</b>. Apparently it's the same or even more noticeable when riding a motorbike.

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    <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

    its a kind of push down push away to get the weight of the bike to heel over into the turn, then steer into it.

    apparently you have to steer quite a lot right to get this thing going left
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