Most anyone can ride a bike, but many say they can’t. They can, it is just that they had a really bad experience trying to learn they’ve no interest in every doing it again.
The Veggie Biker has taught a number of children to ride within an hour of removing the training wheels, permit him to offer some observations about training up a child in the ways they should ride.
- The very first experience on a bike in a child carrier seat should be a fun experience. A child should have had a good nap and is in a good mood. Quit when the toddler is still having fun.
- They should have a small, wheeled vehicle among their toys. Something they can get onto the day they first realize they can. Next, help the cat escape.
- The first tricycle should be the right size and engineered well. A bad piece of gear will make the child quit in frustration.
- Striders (bikes without pedals) work for teaching a child how to balance on two wheels. A neighbor prefers this to a bike with training wheels. The child uses their legs to balance and eventually lifts them up and coasts short distances.
- Training wheels are good, if they don’t both touch the ground at the same time.
- The first 16-inch bike should be the best you can afford. Again, a hard-to-peddle bike will make a kid quit.
- When riding the bike with training wheels becomes too easy, challenge the child to ride with two wheels. But don’t push. It has to be the kid’s idea to take off the wheels.
- Launch day is the best day in a parent’s life. Get plenty of rest. Wear jogging shoes and shorts. Choose a level street. Run along side holding the bike, then lighten your grasp until the child is balancing on their own. At some point, they will realize, you are not holding on and they’re riding on their own. Four or five passes up and down the street and they probably will take off without you. Make sure they know how to stop and dismount. Really!
p.s. I give bicycle books to children as gifts.