It can be one of the hardest, but definitely most rewarding things you can teach your child. How to Ride a Bike!
Before we go any further and give you some of our top tips and suggestions for further help, take a look at little Hannah mastering the art of riding her bike for the very first time!
Thank you to Emma from Science Sparks for allowing us to share her daughter’s magic moment.
How to Teach your Child to Ride a Bike:
In bullet point from here are our tops tips for helping your child master the art of cycling.
- To start with, ensure you have all the right equipment including a decent kids’ bike helmet and that all important camera or video for capturing the magic moment.
- Remember to not overload your child with instructions but do heap on the praise to keep their confidence high.
- Find a flat, smooth secluded spot where they can practise.
- Before you do anything else teach them how to use the brakes.
- If they’ve started on a balance bike, fantastic but even if they’ve gone to a bike with stabilisers it’s no problem, there’s still a way forward.
- Ultimately they need to learn to balance so, if they’re on a small child’s bike ensure the saddle is low enough for them to put feet flat on the floor and remove the stabilisers and pedals.
- Now encourage them to move the bike forward, using one foot after the other to propell them forward. Let them get the hang of this, increasing their confidence and balancing ability. You may need to do this over a few sessions.
- Once they’re feeling good about this put the pedals back on and teach them how to push off with one foot, whilst the other is on the pedal.
- Practise this action a few times until they get the hang of it and can start to pedal. As they have already mastered balancing, it should all start to fall into place.
- Resist the urge to hold the handlebars or the back of the seat. Instead run alongside the child with a hand on their shoulder allowing them to balance themselves knowing you are there for help if they need it.
- Remember all children are different and will master these skills at different times.
- Try not to lose your patience. If it’s not going well, put the bike away and try again another time.
- Praise, praise, praise!
If you want more detailed information on how to teach your child to ride a bike, Sustrans have a fantastic ‘Ditch the Stabilisers’ guide that you can download here.
You can also find lots of handy tips and hints on the Bike Radar website too. This one is particularly good if you’re finding the whole experience a little stressful!
Image: Thierry Draus