It is common to see a mum or dad holding onto the seat and grumping while running behind a kid who’s learning to ride a bike. Eventually, they would let go and watch nervously as their kid tries to handle it on their own, which usually ends up with skinned knees. However, there is a better and safer way of teaching children to ride. Proper balance and lots of fun are the key to success.
Getting ready to ride
There’s no perfect timing for learning to ride a bike, but children between ages 4-6 usually have enough balance and coordination. It depends on your child’s physical and mental development and how comfortable they feel. If they’re not ready, don’t force it.
Choose the right bike
Don’t buy a bike that’s too large for your kid under the excuse that they’ll eventually grow into it. This can significantly slow down the learning process. Your kid needs to feel confident and in control of the bike at all times. Make sure that your kid can stand over the top tube with their feet firmly on the ground. Also, when choosing the bike, pay attention to balance and smooth ride. If you have a seven- or an eight-year-old, consider buying them a bike with multiple gears, they’ll love it. Nuvinci technology provides smooth and easy transition from one gear to another so that your kid can relax and enjoy the ride.
Choose a location
Choose a traffic-free area where a child can ride safely. It’s important that this place is large, smooth, and paved. Good locations include a driveway, park path, or an empty parking lot. Empty tennis or basketball courts are also suitable for this purpose.
Prepare a bike
Remove the training wheels to help your kid develop balance. Also, remove the pedals and lower the seat to make them feel more comfortable and steady while learning to balance. Remember to properly inflate the bike tires for a smooth ride.
Riding without pedals
Your child can begin by scooting on the bike and learning to balance. Once they adapt to this, kids can pick up their legs and try coasting. Hop on your own bike first and show them how to coast with their legs outstretched. When they master this ability, they can move on to steering and turning. Start with big, easy loops.
Riding with pedals
Once your child starts feeling comfortable while coasting with their feet up, bring back the pedals. Practice pedaling by having your kid stand over the bike with one foot on the ground and the other on a raised pedal. Teach them to press down on the pedal to get a forward momentum. Place your hand on their shoulder or the seat to keep them steady as they move forward, but let the child learn how to balance on the bike without help. After this, your kid can practice turns. Encourage them to do large circles and figure 8s.
How to stop
Practice braking by having your child gently press the coaster brake until they can use it without too much wobbling. Play a game of “Red Light/Green Light” to practice fast stops at different distances. When your child becomes confident with braking, you can raise the seat back to a standard position. Here you can find more tips on how to fit your bike.
It is crucial to teach your child the importance of helmet safety. Make sure the helmet is level and not tilted back or angled to one side when worn. The side straps should form a "V" under each ear, and the chin strap should be cinched enough to allow you to slide only two fingers underneath. Here you can find more information about how to choose and fit a bike helmet.
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage for every child, and once they acquire this skill, they can never forget it. Use these tips to teach your kid ride a bike and have fun along the way.