Learning how to ride a bike is one of the first big lessons your child will come across in their lives. All it takes is some gentle encouragement, perseverance and lots of praise, but once your little one can zoom off without the need for stabilisers, there will be no stopping them!
Are you looking for tips on how to get your little ones set off on two wheels? Here are some helpful pointers – and don’t forget those all-important helmets!
Think About Location
While it can be tempting to use an area with soft ground just in case your little one takes a fall, harder ground will help them push off and keep going. Trying to learn to ride a bike on grass is actually harder than learning on tarmac, as your child will need to pedal harder to get going.
You will also want to choose somewhere that is quiet and away from traffic or other pedestrians. There are going to be a few wobbly starts, and you’ll want to make sure that your little one has plenty of room to practice without getting in the way of anyone else.
It’s also tempting to choose somewhere which has a slight hill to help “keep them going forward”. However, it’s best to start somewhere flat so they can learn how to keep going using their pedals and, more importantly, how to stop at a reasonable speed.
Start Without Pedals
This might sound like madness, but start your child’s lessons of riding a bike without pedals on. This is something you will want to work up to, but for now, teaching them how to balance themselves on a bike with two wheels is more important.
Get your child to push themselves along on the bike while keeping upright. You will need to lower the seat so that they can just touch the floor, so that it’s enough to encourage balance but close enough that they can touch the floor to scoot themselves along or put a foot down to stop them falling.
Once they are comfortable going in a straight line, introduce how to use the breaks and turn the bike while moving to your lesson.
How You Should Help
While it’s very tempting to guide your child using their handlebars, the best way to help your child to ride their bike is by providing support around their torso or under their armpits. That way, you’re not restricting their movement.
Once they are ready, show them how to push off, gradually introducing the pedals into the mix so that they understand the positioning to be able to get going. Once they feel comfortable, gradually introduce pedalling and guide them gently with your hands still under their armpits to help balance them.
You will gradually want to reduce this contact, holding on a little less each time they feel more confident with moving on the bike. Ensure your child knows to keep their head up and look where they are going, and, when you feel as though they are ready, start lessening your grip and see them cycle on their own for the first time!
With plenty of practice and patience (on both sides!), your little one will be zooming off on two wheels in no time!
Learning in a fun way is a great opportunity for your child to develop essential skills for later in life. Whether it’s learning to ride a bike or pretending to be a parent and pushing their dolls around in a dolls pram – you’ll be equipping them with skills and knowledge that they can use as they grow!