Saturday, May 27, 2006

Teaching Your Child To Ride A Bike

Last week, my 5 year-old was riding his bicycle with training wheels attached. I came upon an article in the latest issue of Parents magazine that gave great advice for teaching a child to ride. Yesterday my son rode his 2 wheeler and nailed it first time! Here are the tips offered by Rich Conroy, bicycle-education-programs manager for Bike New York.

Step 1 - Remove the Pedals
Riding a bike is all about balance - and believe it or not, the easiest way for your child to learn that basic skill is without the pedals on his bike. You may also need to lower the seat so that he can put both of his feet flat on the ground.
Tip: The old rule "righty tighty, lefty loosey" only works to loosen the bike's right pedal. You'll need to turn your adjustable wrench in a clockwise direction to remove the left one.

Step 2- Watch him Balance
Have your child push off the ground with both feet 2 or 3 times. Once he gets going, he should try to balance by lifting both legs out to the sides as he coasts. Once he can balance and roll around confidently, he's ready for pedals.
Tip: Tempted to hold on to the back of your child's bike seat? Don't do it! It'll give him a false sense of balance, and it'll give you a major backache.

Step 3 - Teach the Power Position
To get a good start, your biker should begin his ride in the power position, with his left foot on the ground and his right leg bent so the pedal is at 2 o'clock. This way he's at the top of his stroke - when he pushes down on the pedal, he'll gain momentum and can start pedaling normally.

Step 4 - Show him how to Stop
Many beginners simply drag their feet on the ground as they come to a shaky halt. Instead, teach your child to use the foot brake by moving the pedals in reverse, rolling to a stop, and finally putting his feet down.

All the best, if you're facing the "biking lessons".


ReneeM said...

THANK YOU!! We were just talking today about if we were ready to teach Keenan to ride 2 - wheels. He is a little balanced challenged, and then we tend to over compensate / and hlep him - OOPS!! So this is great advice!!

Kelly said...

Wow, that is great advise. It all makes so much sense.

With that information we could have all made it out of learning to ride our bike without as many scrapes and bruises ...ahh but they build character :)

KehlerGirl said...

That's really good advice. I'll definitally have to try that out on Brielle when it's time for her to change to two wheels. Right now we're still working on getting her to pedal a bike WITH training wheels. She's finding it a little hard to get the hang of.

Homemanager said...

Thanks Marlene, we will have to try it with Joel. He had the training wheels, but they didn't seem to help with really getting him started. He was quite frustrated and hasn't even touched his bike this season.