I need a gentle grassy slope

BigLights
BigLights Posts: 464
edited March 2014 in Commuting chat
Hello

I realise I should probably post this in the family and kids section, but actually the Commuters are more likely to know London well. My daughter wants me to take off her training wheels on the bike, so I need a gentle, non bumpy, grassy slope to take her to. I live next to Wandsworth Common, but that's really rather flat.

Does anyone have any ideas - a particular place in Richmond Park or something? it doesn't need to be particularly long I suspect. I was up at Pen Ponds ont eh weekend but that's too bumpy/holes.

Much obliged.

Comments

  • fat_tail
    fat_tail Posts: 786
    there is one in Wimbledon common... park at windmill and walk north away from windmill till you get to a path and then go left. the hill should be to your left,
    Ridley Fenix SL
  • alan_sherman
    alan_sherman Posts: 1,157
    Why not do it on the flat and make her pedal? That was how I learned. On tarmac too!

    Second the above though - althoug it s a bi bumpy.

    You could start smaller here:
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.44867 ... a=!3m1!1e3

    It is a bowl with some slopes going down to the flat bit in the centre. If sunny can get busy.

    The bit mentioned above is here:
    https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.44013 ... a=!3m1!1e3

    Can park in the windmill car park and get food / drink and use the loos. Gets really busy.


    Note that you are not allowed to cycle on either of these. If a child on stabilisers I doubt anyone will give you grief but the commons ranger could fine you.
  • fat_tail
    fat_tail Posts: 786
    Mr Spooner would have said "He needs a slassy grope"
    Ridley Fenix SL
  • BigLights
    BigLights Posts: 464
    Awesome suggestions, thank you very much folks.

    My little cyclist is nearly 4 yo, so i'll see how it goes, but I don't think she's ready to get straight on the pedals. Might need to get comfy balancing first, albeit she's superb on her scooter and used to be great on her balance bike. It is very gratifying to see her so enthused about cycling....her dad rides every day, and her mum used to ride her to nursery every day until LittleLights #2 started gestating.
  • bdave262000
    bdave262000 Posts: 270
    You can try around Isabella Plantation or if feeling very brave the hill down to Petersham Gate although you may want to start her off near the bottom of the hill., there's also nice playground there too. I did the same thing with all our three, sent them off rolling down a grassy slope. As my wife doesn't drive she wanted them all to be confident to cycle to school from day one. So I have become a bit of an expert in it if I do say so myself, especially the bit where they shout are you still holding on daddy and you reply yes of course I am while still standing at the top of the hill.
    Fat lads take longer to stop.
  • shmooster
    shmooster Posts: 335
    Around the path at the top of broomfield in Richmond Park is where my daughter learned, but I think down by White Lodge is probably better, if you can get in the car park there (near Robin Hood gate). It's a nice long gentle slope.

    Just don't get mixed up and send her down broomfield :-)
  • BigLights wrote:
    Hello

    I realise I should probably post this in the family and kids section, but actually the Commuters are more likely to know London well. My daughter wants me to take off her training wheels on the bike, so I need a gentle, non bumpy, grassy slope to take her to. I live next to Wandsworth Common, but that's really rather flat.

    Does anyone have any ideas - a particular place in Richmond Park or something? it doesn't need to be particularly long I suspect. I was up at Pen Ponds ont eh weekend but that's too bumpy/holes.

    Much obliged.

    I know it well.

    At 4 years old, I would be wary of sending her off down anything either too long or too steep. Or with something potentially unpleasant at the bottom.

    So, depending whereabouts you are on the Common, there are quite a few short gentle gradients to choose from:
    - the SW corner of the part to the east of the railway line has a gentle grassed gradient down to a flat section. Some trees, but big gaps between them
    - the area to the west of the ponds that are to the west of the railway line (close to where an ice cream van parks on the footpath) has a shorter but slightly steeper ramp. Make sure you're at the bottom or it's next stop: the pond.
    - the bit alongside Trinity Road north of Dorlcote Road has a very short little bit of banking.
    - the bit across the road from the windmill on Windmill Road that looks like a dried up pond has a nice little slope going into it (check how dry it is now at the bottom of the ramp though, as it looked like a bog a couple of weeks ago).
    - the edge of the Common bang opposite Bellevue Road has a consistent and long gentle gradient, and a trodden down path has been cut through the grass. Earlier this week this was pretty well drained and not at all slippery.

    I would think you want something where you can let her roll for 2-5 seconds to begin with, that is gentle. She will pick up speed probably more rapidly than she is comfortable with and the scope for panic/endo is obvious. You might want to consider having one of you launching her and one catching.

    FWIW I taught 66 major to ride on WW Common - well, I say taught, but actually I shouted, she cried, I shouted a bit more, she cried a bit more, she got off her bike, I threatened to throw it in a skip, she got on, she fell off, and so it went on.

    It certainly wasn't the pretty picture that you see on TV ads.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • arran77
    arran77 Posts: 9,260
    FWIW I taught 66 major to ride on WW Common - well, I say taught, but actually I shouted, she cried, I shouted a bit more, she cried a bit more, she got off her bike, I threatened to throw it in a skip, she got on, she fell off, and so it went on.

    That's some top parenting skills :lol:
    "Arran, you are like the Tony Benn of smut. You have never diluted your depravity and always stand by your beliefs. You have my respect sir and your wife my pity" :lol:

    seanoconn
  • msmancunia
    msmancunia Posts: 1,415
    After realising that I've realised who Greg reminds me of - Competitive Dad from the Fast Show. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2x_DI7tzNQ
    Commute: Chadderton - Sportcity
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    FWIW I taught 66 major to ride on WW Common - well, I say taught, but actually I shouted, she cried, I shouted a bit more, she cried a bit more, she got off her bike, I threatened to throw it in a skip, she got on, she fell off, and so it went on.

    It certainly wasn't the pretty picture that you see on TV ads.

    I tried that with the female SecretSam offspring, didn't go so well. So damaged was she that in the end, we paid a local bikeability training place £40 to sort her out. Job done 8)

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    PS there's actually a sticky on the family 'n' kids forum about teaching them to ride, started by some wise sage of infinite patience and benevolence, i.e. me.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • msmancunia wrote:
    After realising that I've realised who Greg reminds me of - Competitive Dad from the Fast Show. :)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2x_DI7tzNQ

    Shussh, you. That's alarmingly close to the truth!
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • BigLights
    BigLights Posts: 464
    This is all awesome info people, thank you very much. I'm 2 minutes from Spencer Park, just across Trinity Road, so the Windmill idea is magic. I've never spotted a slope there but i'll look out for it tonight. I've perused the family bit re advice on teaching, so that's all good, but the venue is also important! Then we shall graduate to Richmond Park, some good ideas there, I like the bit round White Lodge.

    I'll be very interested to see how long she perseveres on the first outing. She's been talking about taking the stabilisers off for a week now, constantly, and she's a stubborn little creature, so who knows.
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    First off, you've done it wrong.
    Stabilisers are a bad idea and you will see this when your daughter sits on the bike and repeatedly attempts to put both feet on the pedals whilst stationary because that is how you get going on a bike with stabilisers.
    Second, make sure your daughter knows how to, and actually does, use the brakes. I'm not a fan of pushing kids (or any trainees) down a slope in an attempt to teach them how to ride. They will fall, it may hurt, they may get disheartened.

    What I would do is take the stabilisers and both pedals off the bike and turn it into a balance bike. Get her scooting around. Be close enough to catch her before she falls. A tennis court is ideal for this as she woun't be restricted to sticking to a straight path and people wn't wander across her path.
    When she can balance at speed with both feet off the ground (this may take minutes, this may take hours), put the right (drive side) pedal on and teach her how to set the pedal (she should use her foot to bring the pedal to the 2 o'clock position/in line with the down tube) and push down on that pedal hard enough so that she is going fast enough to get her balance (moving with both feet off the ground). When she stops, get her to set the pedal and try again. Stand on her left and be prepared to catch her.
    This is the boring bit: set pedal, push off, stop when either foot goes down, set pedal, push off, stop, set pedal, push off etc...Time to be really patient and very encouraging.

    Once she is doing this well, replace the other pedal and tell her it is the same as before but this time try to put her left leg on the left pedal and keep pedalling. Your daughter is now a cyclist. Prepare for big smiles.




    In case you don't know, I am a Bikeability instructor and using the method above I have taught 5 kids how to ride today and I've lost count of how many trainees over the last couple of years.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    First off, you've done it wrong.
    Stabilisers are a bad idea and you will see this when your daughter sits on the bike and repeatedly attempts to put both feet on the pedals whilst stationary because that is how you get going on a bike with stabilisers.
    Second, make sure your daughter knows how to, and actually does, use the brakes. I'm not a fan of pushing kids (or any trainees) down a slope in an attempt to teach them how to ride. They will fall, it may hurt, they may get disheartened.

    What I would do is take the stabilisers and both pedals off the bike and turn it into a balance bike. Get her scooting around. Be close enough to catch her before she falls. A tennis court is ideal for this as she woun't be restricted to sticking to a straight path and people wn't wander across her path.
    When she can balance at speed with both feet off the ground (this may take minutes, this may take hours), put the right (drive side) pedal on and teach her how to set the pedal (she should use her foot to bring the pedal to the 2 o'clock position/in line with the down tube) and push down on that pedal hard enough so that she is going fast enough to get her balance (moving with both feet off the ground). When she stops, get her to set the pedal and try again. Stand on her left and be prepared to catch her.
    This is the boring bit: set pedal, push off, stop when either foot goes down, set pedal, push off, stop, set pedal, push off etc...Time to be really patient and very encouraging.

    Once she is doing this well, replace the other pedal and tell her it is the same as before but this time try to put her left leg on the left pedal and keep pedalling. Your daughter is now a cyclist. Prepare for big smiles.




    In case you don't know, I am a Bikeability instructor and using the method above I have taught 5 kids how to ride today and I've lost count of how many trainees over the last couple of years.

    Meh. Sounds a bit overcomplicated to me.

    My way is simpler and works.

    i think the big downside to your method is that I would have had a pedal spanner in my hand when I started shouting. Probably not a good idea.
    Swim. Bike. Run. Yeah. That's what I used to do.

    Bike 1
    Bike 2-A
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Meh. Sounds a bit overcomplicated to me.

    My way is simpler and works.

    i think the big downside to your method is that I would have had a pedal spanner in my hand when I started shouting. Probably not a good idea.
    I did mention needing patience and being encouraging. Shouting and threats of throwing the bike away wouldn't go down too well in schools.

    One thing I forgot to say is that learning to ride is hard, so the OP should let his daughter take a breather or stop for the day when she wants to. Its not a forced march.
    Also, try to get her in the habit of covering her brakes. Being able to stop quickly is highly underrated by kids!
    Most kid's bikes are set up with the brake levers waaaaaaaay too far from the handlebars and kids can't reach them comfortably so end up not using them and the parents end up with frequent trips to the shoe shop. Adjust the brakes so that her little hands can reach the brake levers comfortably and get her in the habit of riding with two or three fingers resting on the levers so that she is only one panicked flinch away from stopping quickly and safely rather than dragging her feet in a failed attempt to stop before rolling into a duck pond.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Hold on just one cotton pickin' minute!!!!

    I've just re-read the thread and the OP had the kid on a balance bike and then went to stabilisers?!? I bet that a lot of the balance that had already been learned would have been forgotten and will now have to be relearnt.

    I hope I'm wrong but if the OP sees his daughter sit on the saddle and then put both feet on the pedals (whilst stationary), he'll know he went on to doing the wrong thing (stabilisers)after a good start (balance bike).
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,570
    Meh. Sounds a bit overcomplicated to me.

    My way is simpler and works.

    i think the big downside to your method is that I would have had a pedal spanner in my hand when I started shouting. Probably not a good idea.
    Will you be turning driving instructor at some point? The EPO has already told me there is no way I'm going to be teaching our two how to drive. Something to do with being shouty not helping.
  • t4tomo
    t4tomo Posts: 2,643
    Ekes advice is good, although I skipped the one pedal stage with my kids. Once they got the balance bit with the pedals off I just stuck the pedals on and set them off.

    I think I was having a pint whilst the youngest was saying don't let go yet, oblivious to the fact she'd been riding on her own for ages.
    Bianchi Infinito CV
    Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Ultegra
    Brompton S Type
    Carrera Vengeance Ultimate Ltd
    Gary Fisher Aquila '98
    Front half of a Viking Saratoga Tandem
  • Daz555
    Daz555 Posts: 3,976
    Just stick her on the flat, grab a fist full of jacket behind her neck and just walk along with her as she learns her balance.

    Alternatively if she can get her feet down on her bike then take the pedals off as well and let her learn to balance on her own.
    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.
  • BigLights
    BigLights Posts: 464
    Thank you all for your venue ideas and very good advice (including you EKE) - it's really what makes this forum a wonderful resource. I realise I may have made an error in terms of the stabilisers, but hey ho. We spent a good couple of days this weekend on the new 'balance bike' version of her bike - no pedals, no stabilisers, Saturday on Putney Common, Sunday on Wandsworth Common (to the East of the railroad track). Unfortunately, because it's been so wet and is now dry it's really rather bumpy. That said, she's happy tootling along the concrete pathways pushing it as a balance bike, so I'm happy with that.

    I'm blessed with a gentle temperament and a huge amount of patience, so no shouting. I'll just let her do her thing until she's comfortable, that's her style anyway, and she's motivated to learn how to ride. Besides, I will now be out of action for at least 6 weeks as I'm having spinal surgery this Friday, so teaching a kid how to ride a bike is off the agenda for quite some time. I suppose it's over to her granny and grandpa for now.
  • EKE_38BPM
    EKE_38BPM Posts: 5,821
    Spinal surgery. Ouch.
    There again, any surgery. Ouch.

    I'm glad you had a good weekend of scooting.
    Anyway, don't let grandma and grandpa put the stabilisers back on (if you can). Six weeks of scooting is probably no bad thing. She'll be champing at the bit to start riding properly and her balance will be great.

    GWS
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • BigLights
    BigLights Posts: 464
    Agreed - the stabilisers are off for good. Her grandparents are far from being softies, so there's no chance of them caving in.

    And yeah - ouch - but to be honest I can't wait....finally get rid of the pain! hurrah!
  • secretsam
    secretsam Posts: 5,117
    Hey @BigLights - where you getting your surgery done? Good luck with it, etc.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • EKE_38BPM wrote:
    First off, you've done it wrong.
    Stabilisers are a bad idea and you will see this when your daughter sits on the bike and repeatedly attempts to put both feet on the pedals whilst stationary because that is how you get going on a bike with stabilisers.
    Second, make sure your daughter knows how to, and actually does, use the brakes. I'm not a fan of pushing kids (or any trainees) down a slope in an attempt to teach them how to ride. They will fall, it may hurt, they may get disheartened.

    What I would do is take the stabilisers and both pedals off the bike and turn it into a balance bike. Get her scooting around. Be close enough to catch her before she falls. A tennis court is ideal for this as she woun't be restricted to sticking to a straight path and people wn't wander across her path.
    When she can balance at speed with both feet off the ground (this may take minutes, this may take hours), put the right (drive side) pedal on and teach her how to set the pedal (she should use her foot to bring the pedal to the 2 o'clock position/in line with the down tube) and push down on that pedal hard enough so that she is going fast enough to get her balance (moving with both feet off the ground). When she stops, get her to set the pedal and try again. Stand on her left and be prepared to catch her.
    This is the boring bit: set pedal, push off, stop when either foot goes down, set pedal, push off, stop, set pedal, push off etc...Time to be really patient and very encouraging.

    Once she is doing this well, replace the other pedal and tell her it is the same as before but this time try to put her left leg on the left pedal and keep pedalling. Your daughter is now a cyclist. Prepare for big smiles.




    In case you don't know, I am a Bikeability instructor and using the method above I have taught 5 kids how to ride today and I've lost count of how many trainees over the last couple of years.

    This is the gospel according to St Sheldon I believe. It worked well with Mini-Cycloslalomeur. What I would add is that even if it's warm have them wear trousers. My three-year-old cycled beautifully last summer until he had a minor tumble and suffered road rash on his knee late August as he was wearing shorts. Since then he's been too scared to cycle on his own and prefers to be towed with the Follow-Me.
  • BigLights
    BigLights Posts: 464
    @SecretSam - London Bridge Hospital (private) - tomorrow. Can't see myself getting much sleep tonight, then!

    thanks again all - very good advice.