Teaching Children How to Ride a Bicycle

How to Ride a Bicycle

Are you a parent wondering how to teach your child to ride a bicycle? In fact, teaching your child to ride a bicycle can be quite easy. Remember, our parents ran with our bicycles, holding on to the saddle till we found our balance one fine day and rode all alone? Well, those days are over, and you may no longer run along with your child's bicycle to teach them to ride.


Teaching children how to ride a bicycle can be a little tricky. Every child is excited to get their first bicycle, but for most, the excitement lasts only till the first fall. We all agree that learning to ride your bicycle is not an easy task. Everyone takes their own time to learn to ride and undergo their own set of emotions. It takes time to master your first flight to freedom! 


The first step in order to ride a bicycle is finding balance. Before introducing a pedal bicycle to your child, you can buy a balance bike. Balance bikes, also known as infant bicycles, striders or gliders, are specifically designed for toddlers. They have two wheels and no pedals. 


The benefits of balance bikes or infant bicycles  are


  • It gives children more control - in a balance bike, they feel safer and more secure because their feet are still on the ground. 
  • It helps them master one skill at a time - learning to pedal, balance and steer at one time can be quite a task for a toddler. With balance bikes they learn one skill at a time.
  • It helps to build confidence - sometimes falling from a bicycle may lead to a child losing their confidence. Balancing bikes are low and hence less daunting for the children. It has been generally seen that children pick up fast on the balancing bikes which boosts up their self confidence.



In case you have already purchased a pedal bike or a bicycle with pedals, using it is also as simple as using a balance bike. Simply follow some rules, to make the experience less stressful for you and your child.


Steps to riding a bicycle

Step 1 - Remove the Pedals from the bicycle and convert it into a balance bike.

Step 2 - Set the seat height properly - the seat of the bicycle should be set so that a child’s feet can be flat on the ground while sitting on it.


Step 3 - Sit and Walk - have your child sit on the seat with all their weight and use their feet to walk the bike forward.


Step 4 - Sit, Run, Glide - once your child is comfortable walking with the bicycle, encourage them to run, glide and eventually balance. You can help them out by giving them a little momentum.


Step 5 - Steering - encourage your child to steer to the left and right after they master gliding. Most children would do it on their own, some will need a little encouragement. 


Learning to balance is the crux of this exercise. Some children will learn to do so within minutes. Some may take weeks. Your role as a parent will be to be patient and not push them. Let them master the bicycle without the pedals. Once they have done so, you can put back the pedals.


Step 6 - Put back the pedals on your bicycle - once your child is confident about balancing their bicycle, it's time to put back the pedals.


Step 7 - Keep the seat low but a little raised - for efficient pedalling the seat now needs to be raised, but make sure that your child can still touch the ground with flat feet but without bending the knees.


Step 8 - Sit and gain momentum - encourage your child to first glide on the bicycle, without pedalling to gain momentum on their bicycle. You should preferably do it on a gentle slope.


Step 9 - Put feet on pedal - once they have gained momentum, ask them to put their feet on the pedals.


Step 10 - Lending a helping hand - initially, while pedalling, if your child needs a little help, place a gentle hand on the shoulders or give a gentle push to maintain their speed. If pedalling and balancing are difficult together, you can remove the pedals and return to balancing the bike. 


Sometimes, for some children, either balancing or pedalling doesn't come naturally. You can then go for the training wheels bicycles. You can also go for a balance buddy trainer,  it allows you to hold a child upright when they are learning to pedal. It has a handlebar for parents that is attached to the rear axle.


For some children, you will first have to teach the motion of pedalling. The best way to do so would be first to keep your bicycle stationary and teach the pedalling motion.


Remember, eventually, every child learns to bicycle, but they need their own time. As a parent, generously give them that time and keep encouraging even for the smallest achievement they make in mastering riding their bicycles. Your role would always be to make the experience less daunting and less stressful for your child. 


For more information on children's bicycles click on Mumpa.

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