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Help after starting out wrong

Boy LardBoy Lard Posts: 445
edited December 2010 in Family & kids cycling forum
I bought my little girl (4 years old) a bike 2-3 weeks ago and she loves it. It has stabilisers on it. How do I now go about taking the stabilisers off? I don't want her to stop enjoying the bike as she is doing currently, but I can already see that the stabilisers are causing problems. Do you think I should just let her play as she is doing at the moment (whizzing round the local park/tarn, good speed, good pedaling action, reasonable awareness of people/obstacles) or do I take the stabilisers off now. I'm pretty sure she won't let me take the pedals off of it and turn it in to a balance bike, I was considering sticking a handle thing on the back and trying it that way.

It gives me so much enjoyment see how much she enjoys riding I'm worried about spoiling it, but I do think she'll enjoy it all the more when she can ride properly. I realise that had I read this forum first then my whole approach would have been different.

Thoughts please.
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  • Our older kid had a bike at just under 2 years and bombed round the park for hours. He leant on his stabilisers when cornering (sounds a bit dangerous I know but he never came off as a result of doing that). Tried taking them off but he didn't like it and couldn't get the hang of corners. So we didn't push the point.

    His bro (2 1/2 yrs younger) wasn't really interested in bikes until he was 3 and then took to riding straight away without ever using stablisers. Of course, this gave his older bro the incentive needed and within about 10 mins he was bombing round on 2 wheels.

    I'd say, at age 4, if she enjoys riding just let her. Sooner or later she'll switch, probably sooner.

    PS However, the next one (currently minus 2 months old) will have a balance bike first ...
  • NicGNicG Posts: 4
    You can try to force it but as you said it may impact the enjoyment. She will switch when she is ready and it will be quick, mine was the same until he saw his mate on two wheels, ten minutes later he was doing the same.

    Might be worth making sure she sees friends or kids she knows on two wheels and makes up her own mind, she will be more willing to listen as her end goal will be to get onto two wheels instead of it being your goal to get her onto two (if you see what I mean). It can be frustrating, I tried a few times with mine and it was not until he wanted to that he did it.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    I agree with the getting friends involved. Peer pressure can be a useful device at times.

    Another 'friend' that can help... You're quite right - YOU may not be able to remove the stabilisers and pedals. But a trusted friend/uncle/neighbour may. Kids will often react very differently when it isn't their parent.

    And/or, see if you can borrow a RunBike for a while. Or contrive a situation where she doesn't have her bike - but a RunBike is available.

    But certainly - you can't force it. They'll push back. But I do still think it's worth it. After all... it's the balance that takes time to learn (and you want it programming into their subconscious as early as possible IMHO).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • inceince Posts: 289
    Have you asked if she would like to try it with out the stabilizer wheels? She may be willing to have ago.

    +1 if you can get a little friend along already on two wheels to act as a motivator. Also the promise of going out for a ride some where once the stabilizers are can be a good incentive.
  • TeachTeach Posts: 386
    I agree, with the above, just give it time, peer group pressure usually works, when all their friends can and they can't. We used a bath towel. Twist it then place it under your child's arms, with you holding the ends. This way you can support your child as they move along and as they build in confidence, you can release your hold. It may sound strange but it worked for us.
  • You could try taking them off and removing the cranks so she can ride it like a balance bike...

    Or just raise them up a fair bit so she doesn't use them nearly as much. If you cannot raise them then just bend them up a little.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    ince wrote:
    Have you asked if she would like to try it with out the stabilizer wheels? She may be willing to have ago.

    +1 if you can get a little friend along already on two wheels to act as a motivator. Also the promise of going out for a ride some where once the stabilizers are can be a good incentive.

    Good point.

    Thing1 kept asking when she could ride her 'pedal bike' to childcare. (She normally rides her runbike). I told her only when she could start/stop by herself, safely. It was a great motivator.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • reddredd Posts: 19
    What I did with my kids (now 20, 17 & 13 years old) was to remove one side of the training wheels first. SInce I noticed that they tend to lean on the left when they cycled, I removed the right as they slowly learned to balance themselves. Pretty soon, both the training wheels were off.
  • zebra67zebra67 Posts: 113
    Riding without stabs is over-rated, when it happens it's a fun point of immense pride for us parents, but it's a nuisance otherwise. They are too little to go on the road and too slow to go anywhere much with us adults, too fast to ride when we are only wanting to walk. It's a complete pain when they get off of stabs.

    Anyway, if you still want to go there, we have a spare cheap and too-small bike that we can't fit stabilisers to (the too-small part is very important, probably 12" wheels, it doesn't matter if their knees are up by their ears) the sort you can get from a carboot (hugely cheaper than a balance bike, too). Put the seat right down so that they could scoot along with flat feet on ground -- being able to get their feet flat on the ground while sitting in saddle is very important for them to gain confidence. Eventually they take feet off the ground and scoot along, then they try to pedal, having learnt how to pedal from their other bike with stabs or a trike etc.

    This worked well for us and many friends. One of my kids learnt to ride without stabs before he was 4yo, what a nightmare that was!
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    zebra67 wrote:
    Riding without stabs is over-rated, when it happens it's a fun point of immense pride for us parents, but it's a nuisance otherwise. They are too little to go on the road and too slow to go anywhere much with us adults, too fast to ride when we are only wanting to walk. It's a complete pain when they get off of stabs.

    YMMV.

    When we're walking, she is on her runbike (and I agree... a converted conventional bike can do the same, although they are generally a lot heavier).

    When she's on her pedal bike, I'm on my bike. This was her commute this morning. She led, so we ended up doing two extra laps of the park (it appears, it starts early) ;)

    4952158383_b3e1675184.jpg
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Thanks for all the advice.

    Plans have been put on hold slightly as she is banned from riding her bike till she stops answering her Mum back. :roll:

    She is already too quick with the stabilisers on for me to keep up with her even at a very brisk walking pace, removing them will only make it worse.

    She was 'racing' against a little boy who was without stabilisers last time we were out. She was quite a bit faster than him, till she hit a little bit of uneven path and the stabilisers lifted the back wheel off the floor causing her to stop. She was very angry because, and I quote:

    "Now he will think he is faster than me and he is not. Go and tell him so he knows I am faster."

    I have no idea where that sense of competition comes from. :D

    I think this may have pushed the balance towards removing the stabilisers.
  • I do hate the term "kids" sorry a kid is a baby goat.

    As a single dad with three children, believe me you will know when the time is right just wait and see.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... heads.html
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    I do hate the term "kids" sorry a kid is a baby goat.

    Tell them that.

    BL... it looks like she'll have all of the motivation she needs ;)
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Yes but as we all know if a work is used enough it is placed in the dictionery, just because a word is accepted does not make it right.

    Init, aint and gonna are a few more, personally I speak "properly"

    In fact "kid" is a "derogatory" term, and my children do not like being called thieves.

    Extended meaning of "child" first recorded as slang 1599, established in informal usage by 1840s.

    Kiddo first recorded 1896. It applied to skillful young thieves and pugilists since at least 1812. Kid stuff "something easy" is from 1923.


    I also text with correct grammar and abbreviations.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... heads.html
  • Yes but as we all know if a work is used enough it is placed in the dictionery, just because a word is accepted does not make it right.

    Yes, but as we all know, if a word is used enough it is placed in the dictionary. Just because a word is accepted does not make it right.
    I also text with correct grammar and abbreviations.

    :wink:
    This is a block of text that can be added to posts you make. There is a 255 character limit.
  • You must also, surely, accept the fact that language is not a constant and that words change their meaning over time. Harking back to a meaning that a word once had hundreds of years ago is neither relevant or particularly helpful. I am also a firm believer in using correct grammar and punctuation, but I think to go so far as to complain about a word that is in general use, is widely accepted and, in this instance surely, has no intention of causing offense, is twee and conceited.

    ...but hey, that's only my opinion. I don't like the word orange, it's shape antagonises me and it doesn't rhyme with anything. :D
  • PBoPBo Posts: 2,493
    edited September 2010
    I do hate the term "kids" sorry a kid is a baby goat.

    As a single dad with three children, believe me you will know when the time is right just wait and see.

    Do us a favour and go and be whingey in the commuting section - we're used to it over there....and we can soon develop a 20 page thread on "modern language eh? pfffftttt".

    This is the family section, a happy place about introducing kids to the joys of cycling, where people are looking for advice....... not to waste time trawling through some debate on semantics/etymology to see if anyone has actually offered any helpful responses..... (apologies to OP that in fact my post just adds to this! The irony is not lost on me....)

    Oh and by the way, that link to online Oxford dictionary relates kid back to Norse kith
    which was not derogatory as far as I can tell.

    So perhaps your examples came around as a change in language? And now they've reverted? Jus' sayin'.
  • I accept that language changes, the Queen is incorrect it is not "My husband and I" it is "My husband and me", however I would much rather some one say "your son/child/teenager is a nice person" than your "kid", shall I be honest, sounds gutterish.

    Perhaps I simply do not wish my sons to sound like the "common" element", there, that is a debate.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... heads.html
  • I accept that language changes, the Queen is incorrect it is not "My husband and I" it is "My husband and me", however I would much rather some one say "your son/child/teenager is a nice person" than your "kid", shall I be honest, sounds gutterish.

    Perhaps I simply do not wish my sons to sound like the "common" element", there, that is a debate.

    The middle class, bigotted rantings of someone indoctrinated in the "correct" use of English without the foresight, imagination or intellect to think for themselves.

    Damn it. I will not be drawn in again.

    duty_calls.png
  • By the way I am a single dad on income support raising three disabled sons on disability living allowance and carers allowance in rented housing, not middle class.

    There is noting wrong with wanting to be "better".
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... heads.html
  • Striving to be better is an admirable sentiment, believing you are is not.

    Class is a state of mind, not a bank balance.

    My Mum had polio when she was 5 years old has has not been able to walk since. She has raised 5 children and has always held a full time job.

    I used to work for the Benefits Agency as a Customer Relations Manager. I dealt with the complaints from people claiming benefits who were turned down. As I am sure you can imagine, this has left me rather cinical.

    None of this is relevant.

    I like riding my bike.
    I want my little girl to enjoy riding her bike.
    I must stop fixing the internet.
  • Oh, I do not "think" I am better.

    I will leave it at that and respond no more.
    Peds with ipods, natures little speed humps

    Banish unwanted fur - immac a squirrel
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... heads.html
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    I accept that language changes, the Queen is incorrect it is not "My husband and I" it is "My husband and me"...

    :?

    If her Maj would normally say "I would..." then it should be "My husband and I...". If she was saying "Me", and in "Charles, my husband, and Me", then it should be Me.

    But then... meh. It's HER language (supposedly). She can make it up as it goes along.

    And I agree with the recent posts - language evolves. Like it, or... well... tough luck really.

    And yeah. Rode with all three of my girls today. (My partner, and the 4.5yr old, and the 1.5 yr old). And that's what really matters. Ain't it? :lol:
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • zebra67 wrote:
    Riding without stabs is over-rated, when it happens it's a fun point of immense pride for us parents, but it's a nuisance otherwise. They are too little to go on the road and too slow to go anywhere much with us adults, too fast to ride when we are only wanting to walk. It's a complete pain when they get off of stabs.
    So true, my youngest is reluctant to size up to a 20" BMX ot Junior MTB despite being too big for the 12" bike he learned on this summer. He's way too slow for me and my eldest.

    I got him round Keilder on a trailerbike/tag-along, he loved once he'd stopped screaming "no dad it's too fast" and I got a bit more of a workout than I would have otherwise it also slowed me down enough that my eldest could keep up.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    zebra67 wrote:
    Riding without stabs is over-rated, when it happens it's a fun point of immense pride for us parents, but it's a nuisance otherwise. They are too little to go on the road and too slow to go anywhere much with us adults, too fast to ride when we are only wanting to walk. It's a complete pain when they get off of stabs.
    So true, my youngest is reluctant to size up to a 20" BMX ot Junior MTB despite being too big for the 12" bike he learned on this summer. He's way too slow for me and my eldest.

    I got him round Keilder on a trailerbike/tag-along, he loved once he'd stopped screaming "no dad it's too fast" and I got a bit more of a workout than I would have otherwise it also slowed me down enough that my eldest could keep up.

    Hmm... when I ride with my daughter, I ride at her pace.

    5003308783_16b04046e2.jpg

    This was about 1/3 of a way into an epic 3 mile ride (not too bad for a 4.5 yr old), which was 5-6 miles in total if you include the time she was attached to me via TrailGator. When Thing2 is old enough to be doing the same, Thing1 will be learning key 'riding in a group' lessons, such as, always ride at the pace of your slowest rider.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • stomithstomith Posts: 332
    Stabilisers are adjustable. Slide them up an inch. Then bend them up too (reducing 90degrees to ~85degrees. Then you can try the gentle grassy slope running behind holding on maneuver, which should lead into the comedy sketch where you run next to them saying "I think something has gone wrong". Once they realise that if they keep going they'll be ok....it is funny cos they just do not stop.

    I do agree that you'll know when it is time and don't force it! Only encourage, then back off. Anyone can get put off real easy. Especially me! :)
  • HawmawHawmaw Posts: 124
    My 3 year old lad loved hooning about on his wee bike with stabs so about a month before his 4th birthday I took them off. He was away like a shot with me running beside him. He kept looking around for my approval and before I could stop him he swerved into the only lamp post in the street. He went over the bars and hit his head on the post which pushed his helmet up causing him to crack his forehead. We both got a big fright and I had to take him to the local kids hospital with a big cartoon egg on his head. He's fine but has a scar on his fore head and 2 months later still won't go near his bike.

    My fault entirely and I feel so bad about the whole episode.
  • zebra67zebra67 Posts: 113
    Ah, that triggers a memory I have of daughter cycling straight into a brick wall ...

    I am willing in principle to cycle at the pace of youngest independent cyclist, but it is hard to do that and balance the needs and desires of my other "kids".

    I have " kids". But I am American so all hope was lost for me 2 centuries ago, language wise :D.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Hawmaw wrote:
    My fault entirely and I feel so bad about the whole episode.

    Nah. It happens. Thing1 has ridden straight into a gutter.

    The only thing I would've changed in your scenario is perhaps go to a park or similar where there's plenty of runoff everywhere.

    But yeah... they'll hit stuff. They'll fall off. It's all part of the learning process. Don't beat yourself up. Next, is to get him back on the bike. Do any of his friends ride? :twisted:
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • HawmawHawmaw Posts: 124
    baudman wrote:
    Next, is to get him back on the bike. Do any of his friends ride? :twisted:

    Been trying ! All his friends have bikes and he really misses it but he got such a fright that he won't even go on with his stabs back on. He'll get there eventualy.
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