Teaching them to ride

secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,508
So - any tips? our two (twins) are 4 and a half, and have bikes (12" wheels, need something bigger really) and we're trying to teach them to ride without stabilisers. We have 'handles' for the bikes that enable us to hold them upright while they practice, but wanted to know if anyone has some top tips on how to get them up and running.

Thanks in advance.

It's just a hill. Get over it.
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  • fnegronifnegroni Posts: 794
    Keep the 12 inch bikes.
    Take stabilisers off, take that bar you mention off, take pedals off, *if you can* take cranks off too.
    Lower the saddle to the lowest comfortable position, so their feet are flat to the floor or just slightly higher.
    Then tell them to *scoot*: use their legs to propel forward.
    Do not at any time *help* them balance: the sweet spot when balancing is a matter of micro adjustments that they must learn instinctively: your interference will only compromise their progress.
    If they fall, it's no big deal: make sure there is plenty of room. Maybe a soft ground would be better.
    In a couple of hours they'll most likely get the hang of it and will learn to balance themselves.
    Practice makes perfect but, if they have already learnt to pedal, they'll be very keen so don't keep them at that stage for ever. As soon as they can balance lifting their legs while coasting down a gentle slope for a long stretch, put pedals back on and be prepared to be amazed. :-)

    These are a couple of videos I took last week:
    The first one was during the first scooting session after taking pedals off.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB4tWn3RRZg

    The second one is after three hours scooting, riding solo!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dju3tFyQZKM
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    fnegroni wrote:
    Keep the 12 inch bikes.
    Take stabilisers off, take that bar you mention off, take pedals off, *if you can* take cranks off too.
    Lower the saddle to the lowest comfortable position, so their feet are flat to the floor or just slightly higher.
    Then tell them to *scoot*: use their legs to propel forward.
    Do not at any time *help* them balance: the sweet spot when balancing is a matter of micro adjustments that they must learn instinctively: your interference will only compromise their progress.
    If they fall, it's no big deal: make sure there is plenty of room. Maybe a soft ground would be better.
    In a couple of hours they'll most likely get the hang of it and will learn to balance themselves.
    Practice makes perfect but, if they have already learnt to pedal, they'll be very keen so don't keep them at that stage for ever. As soon as they can balance lifting their legs while coasting down a gentle slope for a long stretch, put pedals back on and be prepared to be amazed. :-)

    +1 We teach about 50 kids a year using this method including (in last year, some with problems like autism, spergers and dyspraxia. Never failed yet.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/eastbradfordcyclingclub/
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/eastbradfordcyclingclub/
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,508
    Wow! x2:
    1. pedals off is the solution - which we'd wondered about (our little boy zooms around on his scooter with one leg on it and the other in the air!)

    2. My first sticky!!!!

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    edited April 2010
    About a month ago we had the kinder semester breakup. It was bike themed. There were LOTS of scooters and runbikes, but sadly, kid's bikes with training wheels outnumbered them all.

    There were also quite a few parents there, remarking on the balance of the kids with the runbikes. (Thing1 was on her runbike, but I also brought her new, stabiliser-free, pedal bike which she rode laps around the park on, once given a hand to get started. That was the only pedal bike there without stabilisers).

    Anyway, I suggested the drop the saddle, remove the pedals mod to many. This is one that I spied yesterday. (I believe they are replacing it with a larger bike soon - but it's more the point of the lack of pedals than the quality of the saddle) ;)

    4526206555_27aaed5479.jpg

    And yeah, I reckon I've seen about 4 or 5 around the kindergarten, or the surrounding park, since. And all the kids are balancing quite well now.

    I'd still advocate getting a runbike however - just because they are so much lighter, and so make the riding more accessible more often.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • I bought one of these http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Childrens-Wooden- ... dZViewItem off ebay for grandaughter who is 2 in a month.
    From what I have read the balance bikes are better than taking pedals off normal bikes as they have less steering range.
    I assume you understand that we have options on your time,
    And will ditch you in the harbour if we must.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    From what I have read the balance bikes are better than taking pedals off normal bikes as they have less steering range.

    They're also a hullava lot lighter!
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • CarleyBCarleyB Posts: 475
    Do you think it makes a difference it being lighter? Going from a light bike to pushing pedals round on a heavier bike?
    Level 3 Road & Time Trial Coach, Level 2 Track Coach.

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    http://blackpoolclarion.webs.com/

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    http://www.go-ride-byca.org
  • johnboy183johnboy183 Posts: 824
    CarleyB - no I don't think it makes any difference if my 3 yr olds experience is anything to go by. Without wishing to hijack this thread, we've been discussing this in the "how proud am I" thread. Balance bikes are the way to go. Perhaps we should all return to hobby horse (I think that's right) bikes.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    The weight of the bike is a factor in the "Daddy... can you lift my bike up this [obstacle] for me" stakes.

    Thing1 still uses her Runbike as a 'commuter' (ie: when we're walking) for exactly that reason. She can pretty much ride/carry it anywhere we can walk.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • johnboy183johnboy183 Posts: 824
    Hey baudman you make a good point which I hadn't thought of. At least in my boys case he has had no problems adapting to a pedal bike, in fact his only drawback is starting by himself. Luckily he still needs his "dear old dad" for somethings!!
  • KiwiMikeKiwiMike Posts: 5
    Download this PDF: http://bit.ly/dAzIJC

    This is a brilliant method, works really well. Used it on 2 of our kids and various others.

    Cheers

    Mike
  • selenaselena Posts: 3
    when i was i kid my brother used to teach me how to ride a bike, we always told me that when ever i bike i should always have balance and always look ahead.
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,811
    My 10 year old was unable to ride until a few weeks ago - and whenever he'd tried using stabilsers it was obvious that not only did he have no concept of balance, but that the stabilisers were a hindrance in developing balance skills.

    I tried taking the pedals off, lowering the seat so he could get his feet flat on the ground, and then letting him loose on a gentle downhill slope... so 'scooting' only to get moving, but with focus on steering and balance. Success :D He also had a couple of lessons with a cycle tutor to help progress to proper riding - sometimes it helps to learn lessons from a stranger.
  • My little girsl is two and has been using her big brother's old Likeabike for many months.
    I took her to the park yesterday and put her on a Likeabike CROC 14 gave her a little push and of she went - pretty much the same way as her brother had two years before.

    She could steer and balance cos of the LAB and she could pedal cos she's been pedalling a tricycle round the house for ages.

    This is such a simple and fun way to learn that it upsets me to see omuch older kids plodding along on stabilizers (as my kids zoom past them on their balance bikes). When will the message get out there - BALANCE FIRST! Anyway - wrote a quite blog entry about it at http://bit.ly/aNg81E
  • PeteMadocPeteMadoc Posts: 2,666
    My wife and I run a kids online store and both our kids had early rider balance bikes which we sell and our eldest has an Isla bike (which you can only buy dreict from Isla)

    We posted a 2 year review on our blog which you can read here

    http://www.ethicalshoppingforbabies.co. ... xperience/

    Our eldest Harriet took to her Isla bike no problem. It came with advice on teaching your child to ride which basically said either get them a balance bike first or take the pedals off while they learn to balance.

    A balance bike is great for your children and there is no pressure on them, they just have fun. There's a few good aluminium ones on the market but I think Early Rider and Like a bike are the best, I wouldn't but the cheapy ones, I've seen them and they're cr*p.
  • My daughter (3) is struggling to pedal. He pushes the pedals backwards & tells me she is exercising but can't/woon't push them forwards. Any tips on how to teach to pedal?
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    BBB - try (borrow) a trike. And make sure what she's rolling on has low resistance. She'll get it pretty quickly.

    Then - same with the bike - low rolling resistance surface... or even slightly downhill. (assuming her balance is OK, and she can actually ride... or do you have those horrid items from Beelzebub attached to the rear dropouts) ;)
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • BiggBadBri
    Sounds to me also that the dreaded stabilizers are involved here - otherwise I can't see how pedalling backwards could be possible. If they are, please please take them off and follow the advice on this forum. She should be able to balance by this stage, and she could gain pedalling practice from a trike

    If you sit her on a bike and push her forwards, and she continues to pedal backwards, she will keep coming to a standstill. Do this a few times and I'm sure she'll cotton on. She'll suddenly be having less fun than she was having on the balance bike AND she won't be 'doing what the other kids are doing'.
    For more reading on this exact subject I've just wriiten a blog article at http://bit.ly/dyq83V
  • Yep, stabilisers are on (didn't know there was anohter way....!!). We have a little bike that's 20p for the swearbox as well as the raleigh that we bought here but has the pedals on the front wheel so may be easuer for 'scooting'. Will give it a try at the park where there's plenty of room!
  • thats the way to go my little one is already riding his bycicle like a pro
    Customization geek loving things they do in bicycle motor proud member of Bike Radar world. Excited to find so many interesting people here.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    4958906977_ae07bb6503.jpg4959501928_8f4fa980b7.jpg
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • A tag a long works well too, the kids have a great ride whilst buillding confidence, and increasing their strength, which is also important for balance, plus mom and dad also get to go further as well, - enjoy

    BikeTag-a-LongTrailer10half20full.jpg
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    etapechamp wrote:
    A tag a long works well too, the kids have a great ride whilst buillding confidence, and increasing their strength, which is also important for balance, plus mom and dad also get to go further as well, - enjoy
    ]

    TrailGator even better still, for even more options. (Works the same as a tagalong, with the added bonus of giving you choice of bike, and having a whole bike for them to detach once they learn to ride).

    4782042824_45ff8b6295.jpg
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • For kids aged 1 to 5 try a Strider Bike...balance bikes with no pedals. www.striderbikesuk.com
    My son learnt on one of these - fantastic! Best thing I ever bought!
  • We've taught two out of three so far by taking them to our local park and getting them to freewheel down a grass hill which has a gentle slope, we also have the tailgator thing.
    Fat lads take longer to stop.
  • mgnmummgnmum Posts: 4
    my eldest really struggled with getting off stabilisers so I was determind not to go down that route with the next. He had a islabike rohan to start with for 15 months then on 4th birthday ( when he had grown enough) he had a croc14. We took it out of the box, he sat on it, my husband gave him a push and he promptly cycled for 2 miles without falling off! took a while to get him to use the brakes as we had an early rohan model that didnt have any, but he was the first in his class to ride a proper big boy bike.
    My daughter who struggled also had an islabike beinn 20 large ( as discussed with isla herself on the phone after emailing for advice) and went from a very nervous rider to using 3 gears confidently in a space of a week.
    Biggest advice on bikes for kids and learning to ride is to spend a little bit more and get decent childrens bikes not mass produced heavy scaled down adult bikes with advertising and tinsel. They last really well and can sell them on. Our rohan is now on child no 4!


    ps i have a friend who used a balance bike on her middle son from 18 months and he was riding a pedal bike without stabilisers at 2 yrs 9 months!!!
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    I learned without stabilisers so I'm going to try and do the same with my kids. I never had the chance to learn on a balance bike but instead picked up my 2-wheel balance skills by accident via learning to ride my trike (proper trike with chain etc) whilst having it up on two wheels.

    If I can go from that experience to riding a proper bike without stabilisers then I reckon my kids will be able to cope with moving from balance bike to pedal bike without too much hassle.

    A nice gentle grassy slope combined with shouts of PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL PEDAL should do the trick!
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • lisloalisloa Posts: 2
    Yeah paddles off and there they go... Lower the seat as much as possible so they feel safe and secure if things are a bit unstable at the beginning.
  • bennjbennj Posts: 76
    My eldest rode two wheels at 2 years nine months after scooting round on balance bike for about 6 weeks. and is now eight, loves his mtb and has just got a road bike for his birthday

    However his brother refused to even try to ride anything other than a balance bike until 6 months ago, it has been a slowprocess of taking him out a lot on the trailgator and coaxing him into it!

    As soon as he realised he could do it he was away, (2 months ago). now looking for a mtb for him.

    would always go for the balance bike approach, you don't neede to spend a fortune, ours is a bob the builder £25 12 inch wheel bike from asda with the cranks removed, it will keep for no3 son and has already taught 3 of thier friends to ride too!
    STOP!......... Carry on!

    Roadie FCN 2
    when commuting FCN 5
    MTB FCN 10
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