When we took our son shopping for his first bike, his expression was priceless! He was thrilled that he could now ride bikes with the kids next door.
My son is vertically challenged, as are both of his parents, and so I thought that he would have difficulty riding. I was so wrong.
What he lacks in height he makes up for in determination and heart. He was literally on his bike for 8 days straight throughout each day trying to master it. He sure did make us proud!
I have simplified it into the four basic principals of riding a bike: Balance, steering, peddling, and putting it all together.
This way worked fabulously for us in teaching our son and I hope it can help you with your children as well.
It may sound simple to those of us who have been riding a bike for twenty years or more, but we all had to start from scratch at one point. It is best to teach them with patience, diligence, and much encouragement so that when they hit the pavement, they will be eager to get back on and try again.
Step 1: Balance
Even though all toddler bikes come with training wheels, they still need to sit in the seat and feel steady while holding the handlebars.
There are bikes called balance bikes that are used specifically for this purpose. This bike has only two wheels, handlebars and is designed to assist with balance only.
I did not feel it was necessary to buy two bikes so we just helped him out by pushing him around on his bike until he felt comfortable to ride on his own. I have read that these special bikes do aid in preparing the rider for a bike without training wheels so it is a personal choice to use them or not.
Step 2: Steering
My son was so fascinated with the ground moving beneath his feet, he took a while getting the hang of watching where he was going.
We had him master this before trying to peddle. You will want to hold on to the back of his seat and guide him because he does not yet have the skills to do it alone.
Step 3: Peddling
This was a tricky step because he had to put together steering and peddling without holding on to him. We learned really fast the importance of going someplace where there was open space because when fear is a factor, they forget to brake!
My son went down the sidewalk that leads to the street and was supposed to turn. Well, he missed the turn and headed straight for the street! Talk about scared, but thankfully we caught him before he got to the street.
Step 4: Putting it all together
You now have yourself a professional bike rider! Taking each step and practicing it before moving to the next is very helpful in getting them to ride solo sooner than if they try and fail a thousand times.
This can be frustrating and lead to them not wanting to get back on. It’s a process and once they learn, they will never forget.