Riding a bike is one of life’s pure joy experiences. Do you remember learning to ride a bike? Was it fun and easy? Or were you scared of falling and hurting yourself? We want to make learning to ride a bike without stabilisers a happy and calm experience for every kid, no matter what age.
Bike learning experts agree on two things:
- The child will signal when ready by their level of coordination somewhere between ages 3 and 6.
- The adult who is teaching the child learning to ride a bike without stabilisers, must be relaxed and have a calm demeanour, as this attitude is paramount as to the best way to teach a kid to ride a bike.
The prep phase is just as important as the exciting moment when the child hops on and starts to imagine what fun this is while learning to ride a bike without stabilisers! Here are some tips for how to teach someone to ride a bike.
- The best way to teach a child to ride a bike starts with introducing them to a small bike that has no pedals. This way they are learning to balance and have access to the ground with their feet at all times. You can purchase what is referred to as a balance bike that has no pedals at all, or you can remove the pedals and the stabilisers from a normal bike. Lower the bike saddle so that the balls of their feet can touch the ground when they are on the bike.
- Pick a flat location with a smooth pavement, like an empty bike track, school playground or a path made of tarmac (not cement).
- Be sure you have all the safety gear for the child. A well-fitted helmet is essential and small sized bike gloves and elbow, and knee pads may add to the feeling of confidence and safety.
- Stand behind the seat, straddling the back tire. Invite the child to hop on the bike saddle while you support them from behind (not from the side). Be patient while they get the feel and balance for being on the bike with you behind them.
- Hold onto the child’s torso or under their armpits as they ride. It’s important not to hold onto the handlebars. You will see parents trying to support them to make them feel more secure, but you end up fighting with them and that makes it more difficult. By holding onto the child and not the handlebar, they will learn how the bike reacts when leaning and you can accelerate that by gently moving their torso from side to side as they ride.
- Get them riding, but don’t leave them alone yet. It’s tempting to let them go off on their own but it’s key to stay with them until they are confident enough stopping. If they crash or fall because you are not there to help in the early stages, it could scare them off a bike for good.
- How to teach riding a bike can be fun for the parent or friend too! Be patient and don’t try to force the process: Your child may not be pedalling right away but with continued practice, they'll get it. Take a break and come back to it.
- Reinforce success to help the child build confidence. Remember that children learn differently and may respond to some methods better than others. Learn what works and adapt as needed.
- Pay attention to signs you should stop and rest. Above all, keep it fun.
We hope you enjoyed our tips on a how to teach riding a bike. Don’t forget to check out our other informative articles such as how to get rid of bike grease on clothes, how to remove toothpaste stains and the best stuffed animal storage ideas.