Learning how to ride a bike properly is a great achievement in childhood. Many people often remember with great enthusiasm how they felt when they were able to ride a bike for the first time. However, the child requires some guidance to quickly master the basic skills of riding during the early stages.
As such, in this guide, we have compiled some tips that can help you teach your child how to ride a bicycle properly. Some of the basic tips covered in this post include.
- Determining your child’s readiness to begin riding a bike
- Choosing the right bike and safety gear
- Teaching your child balancing and coasting skills
- Teach the child how to ride while pedaling
Teaching the child to ride: some general tips
First and foremost, it is essential to understand some tips that can help you teach your child to ride a bicycle. You should always remember that your kid’s learning capability is different from an adult so take note of the following crucial factors.
- Be patient and avoid trying to force progress
- Reward success to motivate the child
- Take a rest when needed
- Understand the method that works best for the child
- Keep the whole process fun
It is important to understand that children learn differently so you should study your kid carefully to apply the best method. When teaching your kid to ride, you should be flexible and always remember to make the whole experience enjoyable.
When is the right time for a child to learn riding a bike?
The time for deciding whether the child is ready to ride a bike depends on their mental and physical development. There is no strict age that is recommended for the child to begin learning the bike. If you see that they do not have enough strength to pedal a bicycle, then you can begin by teaching them to ride balance bikes without pedals.
Even small children can get a feel for riding at a tender age through the use of balance bikes. The child learns to coast and balances the bike while pushing it with their legs. Balance bikes are essential since they help to improve the child’s balancing skills when they graduate to riding real bikes. However, you should check if the child is interested in learning to ride a bike. If not, you should wait until they grow older to begin riding lessons.
Choosing the right bike for the kid
It is essential to get a suitable bicycle for your child and you should make sure that they can stand on their feet when sitting on the bike’s seat. You should also avoid getting a bike that is too big for your child. For helpful tips about choosing the right bike, the guru’s at Two Wheeling Tots can offer you meaningful suggestions about different bikes that you can consider. You need to get the best bike that suits your kid’s age. Though it can be a good long-term investment, a bigger bicycle is difficult for children to handle and control. As such, you can begin with smaller bikes and upgrade the size as the child develops physically. You must also check if they can reach the handlebars easily from the seat. This helps the child to ride comfortably without overstretching their back, which can hinder progress. You must also ensure that the child is comfortable with using the handle brakes when you choose the bike.
Choose the right gear
When teaching your child to ride a bike, there is one very important lesson about safety that you should constantly reinforce. Many kids are injured in various bicycle-related accidents and these could be prevented by using the right protective gear. For instance, a crash helmet is designed to minimize the severity of head injuries that can be sustained during an accident.
It seems that some parents underestimate the effectiveness of crash helmets and other protective gear like gloves, knee pads as well as closed-toe shoes. Before the child rides a bike, always remind them to wear a crash helmet since accidents are often unprecedented. It is also important to teach your child about the importance of avoiding loose pants since it may distract them when riding which can lead to accidents.
One thing that you should know is that a child would be still developing physically, so they may lack the strength to fully balance the bike. All the same bicycle-related accidents are common even among experienced riders. Therefore, you should always teach your child about the importance of safety precautions when riding.
What is the ideal place to teach your child to ride?
When your child is still new to bicycle riding, then you should consider an appropriate place where you can teach them to ride. You can try to find a free paved area like a basketball or tennis court where you can begin riding lessons for your kid. You should avoid narrow trails that can distract the kids when they are still inexperienced. The main advantage of choosing a paved surface is that it is smooth, and it makes bicycle riding lighter which helps improve its speed. The kids can also learn to coast and glide on a paved surface unlike in grassy areas that can prevent the bike from getting enough speed. You should also make sure that the area is free of traffic and other obstacles so that they get maximum concentration when riding.
How to prepare the bike for lessons?
When teaching the child to ride a bike for the first time, it is essential to emphasize the aspect of learning to balance on two wheels. Pedaling can come at a later stage after the child has mastered the skill of balancing the bike first. Children who learn to balance the bike first often find it easier to cycle. You can modify the standard bike for training purposes so that your child can quickly grasp the basic techniques of riding a bike. You can take the following steps to ensure that the bike is fit for training purposes.
- Remove the training wheels and teach the children to try to balance on the bike while it is coasting. You must always emphasize the importance of learning to balance the bike to your child.
- Remove the pedals so that your child can reach the ground with their feet while seated on the saddle. You can also lower the seat to enable the kid to sit upright. which helps them to feel comfortable. By removing the pedal, you help your child concentrate on the balancing act which is the basis for teaching them how to cycle.
- You should also inflate the bicycle tires properly so that it can smoothly roll on the hard surface. When the bike tires have the correct pressure, it becomes easier for the child to coast easily since the bike would be lighter. To get the correct pressure required for the bike, you can read the instructions provided by the manufacturer.
It is also important to ensure that the seat of the bike is properly adjusted to give your child maximum comfort. You must also check if the brakes and wheels are properly adjusted to ensure their safety.
Teaching your child, the basics of bike riding
You should begin by teaching your child the basics of riding a bike. Many parents often overlook the step of teaching the kids to familiarize themselves with the act of getting on and off their bikes. Some kids often lose balance when getting or off the bike which results in falls. Therefore, encourage the child to constantly practice this act to falls that can lead to injuries.Allow the child to sit on the bike without pedals while holding the handlebars and their feet standing on the ground. Ask them to walk forward and backward as a way of teaching them to scoot or glide. When teaching the kids to practice coasting and scooting, it is crucial to remind them to look forward instead of their feet or handlebars.
To improve your child’s concentration, you can hold cards with different numbers so that they shout each of them as they are scooting towards you. Once you realize that they have understood the scooting exercise, you can encourage them to take off their feet from the ground and glide. It is essential to start with a shorter distance where they can glide with feet off the ground and gradually increase the distance. The other technique that can help the child learn to improve their balance is to teach them to overstretch their legs for counterbalancing their weight. The golden rule is to teach your child to remain seated when they glide since it is impossible to lift the feet when they are not seated.
Teach the child to learn to turn the bike while gliding
When you have realized that the child has mastered the skill of gliding the bike with their feet off the ground, then you can move to the basics about steering and turning the bike while it is in motion. You can start with big turns that are also easier and you can achieve this by using different strategies. For instance, you can ask the child to follow where you go, and this can help them practice with big turns. You can also use the method of obstacle avoidance where you put some visible safety orange cones in the training area and ask the child to steer the bike between them while their feet are off the ground. You must also remind you, child, to turn the bike using the corresponding force of its speed. If the bike is moving slowly, it should also follow that turning should be done slowly. Abruptly turning can lead to falls due to loss of balance, so, it is important to ensure that your kid can firmly control the bike in different circumstances.
Teach the child pedal awareness
Now that your kid can glide with their feet off the ground and they can also control the bike, you can introduce them to the basics of pedaling. You can maintain the seat in a lower position so that the child can still put their feet on the ground while seated on the bike. Teach them to lift their feet slowly from the ground to the pedals while maintaining their balance. You can do this by holding the handles first until the child gains full balance so that they can pedal the bike. You should always remind your child to look forward instead of concentrating on their feet. When starting the bike from a stopped position, you should teach your child different techniques. For instance, they can use the scooting strategy of letting the bike gain momentum first before beginning to pedal. The other method is to place one foot on a pedal that is in a higher position while the other foot is on the ground. The learner should then apply pressure on the pedal to propel the bike forward.
Learning the slowing down and stopping techniques
It is vital to teach your child about the required pressure they may apply to the brakes when slowing down or stopping. They should learn to use the hand brakes without exerting too much pressure since this can throw them off balance. Your child should learn to press the brakes gently to bring the bike to a smooth stop. When stopping the bike, it is also important to teach the child to apply appropriate pressure on the brakes so that they can maintain their balance. Abrupt braking is dangerous so you must ensure that your kid is always safe.
Bicycle riding is an exciting activity that also helps encourage the physical development of children in particular. However, learning to ride a bike might not be that easy among different children and it can also be dangerous. Therefore, as a loving parent, you should take into consideration different steps that can help you teach your child to ride a bike properly.