Teaching them to ride



  • rhext
    rhext Posts: 1,639
    We bought a balance bike similar to that pictured above for my eldest (now 13). He was a bit older when we got it for him, so I only perhaps really appreciated how good they are a little later.....

    My youngest started scooting around on it from age 2. By age 3 he was both balancing and steering it down slight inclines, going at speeds which made my hair stand on end. By early age 4, I took him to the local park, sat him on a suitably sized pedal bike, gave him a little bit of a push to start, and then ran alongside him for a few yards to make sure he got going properly, and he was away.

    He's now 5, and is quite happy pedalling along for a 4-5 mile bike-ride.

    I guess yours are now a bit old for the balance bike, but taking the pedals off the slightly larger bike would have a similar effect. But from my experience, at the age of four and a half, I'd be tempted to dress them in some old clothes, find a nice quiet pavement, and spend a few minutes running alongside them with your hand on their backs to keep them steady and moving, removing it when they get going. I did that with my daughters, who weren't so interested in the balance bike, and I guess it only took about 20 minutes before they were away under their own steam.
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • I have 2 specialized hot walk for the kids

  • shaftl
    shaftl Posts: 2
    This is how my 2 yr old, now 6, first learned to ride a two wheeler. I was so quick and effortless compared to what we went through trying training wheels.
    My kids love the Radio Flyer Big Flyer as a first 'big wheel' to fall in love with scooting around the driveway with a little speed.

    Good luck. If you have a kid who loves to ride, they will learn quick.
  • BikerLisa
    BikerLisa Posts: 1
    BiggBadBri wrote:
    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?

    In my opinion learning to bike starts with learning to balance the bicycle. Pedaling comes next. Thats why I bought a balance bike to my 2 years old daughter first.
    Running bike reviews, ratings & more...
  • CLTatters
    CLTatters Posts: 40
    Just some advice - my 4yr old but developmentally delayed god-daughter has outgrown her tesco balance bike but not really got the hang of balancing (doesn't hlep she wants to look at the floor all the time!). I need a bigger bike but can't see anything obvious - all seem pretty small. Any suggestions? Or do I need to get a "proper" bike & demolish it?

  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Like-a-bike DO make larger sized ones, but cha-ching!

    Yeah, "proper" bike and remove extraneous bits not required is the way to go. Careful however, as sometimes the geometry is set up for trainers/stabilizers and so you can't get the saddle to go down low enough. Also, almost all kids bikes tend to be WAY too heavy :(
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • motopatter
    motopatter Posts: 179
    Grassy slope 8)

    yesterday I helped out a kid we met at our 'practice area'. Apparantly he had a balance bike and his parents just got him a 'real bike' but put stabilizers on. And he wasn't getting on with it.
    He asked nicely for a go on my lads 14" pedal bike and I said ok to the grandma that was there with the boy (after I had been chatting about taking his stabilizers off) at her risk.
    Off he went down the little grassy slope and pedalled nearly halfway across the field completely on his own before stopping safely and walking the bike bike. 8)
    His nan 'helped' by trying to push him back and you could see how bad this was - he started leaning wildly. Back at the top he had another few successful goes and I explained to the nan about her pushing along. It's best if you have to just to give a push start then let them go! Grass is hard to pedal on, but more forgiving for get offs!! They just have to live with that when practicing.

    Anyway the two lads had great fun and we've 'arranged' to meet again tonight, both on pedal bikes.

    I did say to the nan, and it's an important lesson I have learned, is that the parent/ adult has to learn patience too. I now just encourage, but if my lad wants to run about or play football/ frizbee then that's what we do. I even carry his bike within reason. :roll:
    wave your willy here !!!! :)
  • motopatter
    motopatter Posts: 179
    I have 2 specialized hot walk for the kids


    this is what I got for my lad. Best whole load of money I've ever spent to be honest. It does seem like a lot, but it's well worth it if you can afford it IMO.

    I put some brakes on it and taller bars and longer seatpin, so he still enjoys it and he's just turned 5. It really has it's uses as it's so easy to take anywhere and very light to carry when he wants to run :shock: . He has really good confidence on it and that is what matters IMO.

    I have been putting suitable V-brake blocks on the crappy cantilever brakes that many kids bikes have - this increases the braking surface area as his little hands aren't able to squeeze tight enough. I think they are £1.50 from Tesco and for that money any improvement is good value (especially if it helps him slow down from higher speeds).
    wave your willy here !!!! :)
  • 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,

    Hmmm, I'd always assumed that tag alongs were just bought by people who want to continue to get their enjoyment from cycling, and weren't so bothered about whether the kids get anything from it.
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Tagalongs? Kids can learn balance (particularly, leaning when turning). When to get out of the saddle (bumps, rises etc). Hand signals. Head checks. They can learn a lot from being on a tagalong - provided the person in front of them leads a good example, that's cool 8)

    But, as mentioned previously, I prefer a TrailGator as you can (generally) attach that to a decent bike, which can then also be ridden detached. (Although, it appears, people have varied experiences with them).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    And the whole Runbike/balance bike concept... not just for kids.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/nyreg ... .html?_r=2
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • motopatter
    motopatter Posts: 179
    baudman wrote:
    And the whole Runbike/balance bike concept... not just for kids.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/20/nyreg ... .html?_r=2

    I guess for most of us we have great memories of riding from a young age.

    Although a bit pished right now I am genuinely lifted and happy to read these 'oldies' have learned the joy of riding a bike :D:D:D

    I wish my son would prefer riding his own bike rather than balance bike or tag-along, but I don't push him as I don't want to turn him off. (he loves the tag-along and I pick him up from child minders most days on it and his transport to school is still often balance bike over walking or scooter (btw these are very good - http://www.johnlewis.com/230407860/Prod ... urce=63258 and suitable from a very young age)
    wave your willy here !!!! :)
  • Nano
    Nano Posts: 7
    Threw stabilisers in the bin and tied a winter scarf around her waist and held onto the back of it and ran with her just taking her weight when she leaned and putting her back on balance. Took a week off daily runs to be able to ride. Next child had a balance bike delivered last week and doesn't even know the word stabiliser :lol:
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    And, another one is off! (2y5m)

    And a good article here on getting kids started young
    http://www.bakfiets-en-meer.nl/2011/04/ ... -em-young/
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • I'd totally recommend a balance bike too, both my kids were riding their isla bikes by about 3.5yrs, before that they loved their Puky bikes (they were such a good buy, my boy who is almost 4 still loves bombing around on it1). The balance bike (Puky) gave them the balance and the rest seemed to come naturally :0)

    Puky bikes

    Really recommend the Isla bikes too


    What I do in my spare time http://www.rootitooti.co.uk
    What I do in my spare time
  • Our eldest learnt the basics of pedaling on his bike with stabilisers & once removed he rode without them within a weekend.

    Our youngest rode on a trailer bike and has never had stabilizers, when he started riding his bike without stabilisers his major problem like most kids is setting off. After a weekend at the local recreation field (on a slope) he learnt how to set off and has never looked back
  • One of the things we, at BIKESKILLS, have found, is that if you can provide kids with positive images of what they're riding will be like once they learn, they often get and stay excited about the learning focusing on how much fun it will be in the future. To that end we make videos from time to time about the fun of riding, and only the fun. Here's one about a first-ever-ride: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PB-V927rLvA
  • funxta
    funxta Posts: 1
    Thanks for all of the great info. I have a son of a similar age and I feel that he is ready to progress to riding without stabilisers. I hadn't thought about removing the pedals, which is a brilliant idea. I guess I'll be busy this weekend then! Thanks again. :)
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Nice succinct video of the 'remove the pedals' method.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... k1xZbahf0#!

    And it seems, Yehuda (well, Thistle at least) is also a fan. Fizz, notsomuch ;)
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • My son has just turned 5. Do you think he should be able to ride already?

    He struggles with the balance and keeping his feet on the pedals. Plus he had a fall and that has knocked his confidence.

    Any help and advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Mike Healey
    Mike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Just use the standard advice on this thread.

    Kids usually rie when they're ready and this can be 3, 4, 5 ,,,,etc. Just make sure that he can reach the groung easily when you've taken the pedals off. This will give him the confidence that he will be able to stop himself falling. Finding a gentle slope leading onto level ground is good as he would be able to get up a little speed which will enable him to begin to balance with his feet off the ground.

    Once he can do that and change direction while balancing, he'll be ready to have his pedals back on.

    Once he does that, he will, at first, probably need a helping hand, but never, ever, push the bike, which will then go where you are pushing it, which is not necessarily exactly the same direction he is steering it. A light push on his upper back will be sufficient.

    One coaching mantra we always use is "look ahead, not down". The latter makes for more wobbles.

    Good luck
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • Paulf1566
    Paulf1566 Posts: 48
    I have boys aged 13, 8 and 5. Found it really hard to teach the first two and as such they both were late cycling. However, we came across a balance bike and we used this for our youngest. He had his balance aged 2/3 and when we tried him on a proper bike, he picked it up amazingly quickly. Within half an hour! We were stunned at the difference, he loves it and is probably the best cyclist of the three. Convinced the balance bike made the difference.
    Ride to live.......live to Ride!
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    Big + to balance bikes for me. My eldest is 4 and already riding confidently on pump tracks on his Islabikes Cnoc 16 after learning all he needed on his cheapo balance bike from about 2.5 years. My youngest is 2 and she is currently moving from the "walking" stage to the "striding" stage on her balance bike - she'll be picking her feet up in no time I'm sure.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
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  • simon_e
    simon_e Posts: 1,706
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • passout
    passout Posts: 4,425
    One more advocate of balance bikes (or regular bike without cranks / pedals) here. My 2nd child benefited from using my first as a guinea pig! Best way I found is:

    1) Start with balance bike - around 3 yrs (maybe even from 2)
    2) At 4 yr supplent this with a tag along - so they are usede to pedaaling too [means the eldest can have decent ride too]
    3) Very soon after (still at 4 in my case, maybe 5) get them on a proper bike (without stabilisers)

    My youngest did this, got on a proper bike for the first time & just rode it - no drama, no falls. Only issue was getting on & seeting off. After a week or so she was even doing this by herself. This was all done with realtively little imput from me - most her skills were learnt by herself in our garden.
    'Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible' Marcel Proust.
  • Hi guys! I’m a young parent about to embark on the dreaded/excited journey that is teaching my two little girls, and one boy, to cycle! Does anyone have any tips for me? And before you ask, yes, I am prepared for the endless hours I’m going to have to spend as they get more and more confident! Thanks! Lucy
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    Yeah, read this thread ;) LOL
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • 2 years ago my daughter turned 4 and she'd been riding a dora bike with stabilisers and one day she said she'd like to cycle with me. I replied with, not with stabilisers on you cant. So took off the stabilisers ran along behind her holding the seat reiterating she had to keep pedalling and look forward (not down) and then let her go - she got it straight away.
    I then did some research (as you/I do) and read about balance bikes.
    I bought our 2 year old son a balance bike last year and he loves it. I thought I'd be a bit cheeky and see if he could manage the now passed down Dora bike before his 3rd birthday. Sadly he was nowhere near so I removed the pedals off it and he used it like a balance bike.
    Suddenly last week he said he wanted the pedals on (yeah, right another pointless exercise) - I did as i was told and hey presto tried again and he got it - whoop whoop So at 3yrs 1mth he can ride a bike without stabilisers and with a huge amount of confidence.

    BAN stabilisers REPLACE with balance bikes

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