Many lucky children get new bikes for Christmas and are (usually!) keen to get out on there as soon the wrapping is off! But how do you get kids cycling without stabilisers? Many of us learned to ride with those two extra wheels keeping us upright, but many experts are now saying that it's best to bypass the stabilisers and get kids balancing before they start pedaling. They become more confident and get going on two weeks (not four!) much more quickly than if stabilisers are used. Here are some tips to get the little ones off and away before you can say Christmas cracker!
1. Learning to balance
If your child isn’t comfortable with pedals yet, try taking them off altogether and use the bike as a balance bike to build confidence. Or, you might wish to start off with a balance bike. Some brands start off as a balance model and convert into a pedal bike once your child is ready.
2. Legs up!
Encourage your child to do three big pushes, one foot at a time, and then lift their legs off the ground. Show them how to do it if that makes it easier for them to understand what you’re asking them to do.
3. Hold and run
Once they’re happy to try the bike with pedals, ask them to push off along the ground and then place their feet on the pedals while you hold on to the back of their clothing. This way, you’re helping them to balance the bike, rather than doing all the work for them. As they improve, you can loosen your grip and gradually let go altogether as they get better.
4. Help them start off
You may have to help your child start off each time they stop until they learn how to start off with the pedal in the right position. Or your child may like to scoot with their feet for a few metres before they lift their feet onto the pedals – this is fine too, the main thing is that they’re getting going and enjoying it.
5. Practice makes perfect
Get out there as much as you can. Just half an hour of practice can make all the difference, and the more you do it, the more confident your child will become.
6. Let the fun begin!
Keep it fun and light-hearted. Make a game of it if you can, perhaps racing them to a certain point or asking them to weave in between items on the ground to improve control and balance. Perhaps you could ask a friend to join you.
7. Lead by example
Cycling is great fun and not just something children do. If you have a bike yourself, use it! Show them how much fun it is and start making it part of family life. If you'd like to learn to ride yourself, find your local cycle centre to ask about their adult learn to ride sessions.
8. Find more info online
There are lots more resources out there to help you and your family get out on two wheels. The Sustrans website is another great website with a load of advice. They also have a great video on teaching your child to ride.
9. Family cycling
Once you're ready to venture beyond the garden or park, there are many family-friendly cycle routes to explore, right across the Tees Valley. Take a look at our easy family rides and get ready for your next adventure!
By Georgina at 26 Dec 2019, 16:23 PM