Teaching a child to ride a bike is a gift that last a lifetime. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with riding independently is matched only by the freedom and opportunities that follow. But passing on the skill of riding independently can, however, feel like something of a puzzle – at least at first. That’s why we’ve put together five simple steps for teaching a kid to ride a bike.
1. Determine whether they are ready
Before beginning the teaching process, it’s vital that you consider whether the kid is in fact ready to control a bike independently. This might sound obvious at first, but it’s easy to rush a child into learning to ride a cycle– particularly if they’ve expressed an interest in riding.
To learn how to ride a bike, a child must have sound balance, good dexterity, sufficient leg power, as well as the ability to follow clear instructions. Most children can satisfy each of these criteria by age four, but this can vary from child-to-child.
2. Practice balancing
Before getting the kid be it a boy or a girl, to press down on the pedals, it’s important to practice the fine art of balancing. Even if a child has good balance, finding harmony on a bike is an altogether different prospect for kids who aren’t used to moving on two wheels.
One of the best ways to practice balance is to remove the pedals from the bike entirely. This gives the child the chance to power the bike by pushing it, practicing balance while retaining the ability to stabilise themselves with their legs. After a few successful runs without the pedals, a kid should have developed the necessary confidence to try the real thing.
3. Practice on concrete
It might seem sensible to practice on grass, but this can actually make the process harder for the child. Riding on grass requires more effort, and can hamper kids’ ability to pick up speed and control the bike. Provided you remain close by – and are able to assist with providing stability – there shouldn’t be any chance of injury to the child if you practice on concrete.
4. Let go, but stay close by
While it might be tempting to stand to the side of child’s bike – holding onto the frame or handle bars – it’s actually advisable to stand to the back of the bike, holding the child under the arms if needed. This gives both you and the child a clear view of the path ahead, while allowing you to intervene when needed.
From the perspective of the teacher, letting go is the hardest part of the process. However, while letting go may be the most difficult step, it’s also one of the most important. This is the moment when child is really learning to ride! After you let go for the first, it’s advisable to stay very close, should you be needed to step in and help with balance.
5. Practice braking
Once the child has got the hang of moving on two wheels, it’s vital that they learn how to brake independently. This is a skill that can be initially learned off the bike by simply getting the child to practice braking while walking alongside the bike.
When it comes to braking while on the bike, kids can (at first) often forget to put their feet down as the bike comes to a halt. With that in mind, make sure you remain close by.
With above simple steps, it should be real fun to help your child have the first independent ride. Just ensure that you encourage child enough to practice it regularly and it should set them off to the great start on their biking journey.
Do have a look at our range of Denovo kids bikes which are specially made for young cyclists, to help them have a safe and enjoyable ride.