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Thread: How do you teach your kid to ride a bike?

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    I've always done the ol' "run along while holding the seat". As you noted, balance requires a certain speed, and that just takes confidence. If you can reassure them that you'll be right there to catch them, they can be more willing to try.
    Ah, yes, I remember it well. And then the parent just conveniently forgets to say something when they let go. It does, however, require the pedals to be on and the seat to be low enough for feet to touch the ground. There may be whining and protesting and needing assurance that you won't let go with this method, but kids have a way of forgetting that when they realize they're pedaling on their own :-)

  2. #12
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    Thinking some more about this, the big problem I've found with training wheels (and letting them go to long) is that they actually force the bike to fall over in several common cases (cornering at speed or on uneven ground like at ramps/driveways). A kid who's done that enough times is going to be very skeptical of the idea of leaning into a turn or moving at speed. At any rate, if they've had some falls on training wheels, you may need to explain somehow that those aren't their fault, but rather because the training wheels are causing problems because the kid is getting so big/fast/whatever and the training wheels just can't keep up. It may help to explain what's going on (that you need to lean into turns, more lean with higher speeds, etc.) and demonstrate that the bike won't fall over that way. The approach that works will depend on the kid.

  3. #13
    dasgeh's Avatar
    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    My kids are waytoo young for me to offer any experience based advice. But things that helped my nieces/nephews or I've read about (that weren't mentioned above):

    -- Riding on soft ground
    -- Practice falling first (to show that the ground is really soft)
    -- Using a trail-a-bike to get the kid used to the idea that they can be on a bike and going without falling.

    I learned to ride when we lived on a street that was on a hill. At the bottom of the hill was a driveway with a nice, soft lawn. So I rode down the hill, onto the driveway, and into the yard. I fell down a lot in that yard, especially when I started trying to do tricks while riding down the hill. Full disclosure, I broke an arm or two over the years on that hill and in that yard. But not when I was first learning to ride. That went pretty well.

  4. #14
    baiskeli's Avatar
    baiskeli is offline I really need to log off the internet and go for a ride.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstone View Post
    Thinking some more about this, the big problem I've found with training wheels (and letting them go to long) is that they actually force the bike to fall over in several common cases (cornering at speed or on uneven ground like at ramps/driveways).
    That's exactly what I finally noticed with my younger child recently - it was getting hard for her to manage the bike with them than without them. I was trying to teach her to tilt the bike to one side and plant her foot on that side to stop, or start the same way, and the training wheels were getting in the way. That's when I knew it was time to just take them off.

  5. #15
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    If I may add, holding the seat and running along side is good, but I found having your hands on either side of their shoulders works really well to get them to learn to balance. I did it with both of my girls and it worked great. The seat method can still end up with some nasty little falls, plus your doing all the balance work, but with you hands on either side of their shoulders saves them every time. You will find that it quickly will improve to little shoulder taps, that really are cues for them to center/balance themselves. Pick a giant unused parking lot. Pull an Einstein and tell them to keep moving for that balance. Don't forget to teach them how to start and stop by themselves.Wear good sneaks and bring a Gatorade, because if you are doing it right, you will be sweating like a pig.
    Good luck and take pictures. One of the best pictures I have is teaching my kid how to ride a bike.

  6. #16
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    I tried the shoulder thing, but they'd somehow fall straight down, and I'd be trying to hold them up by the neck and then they complained about that.

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