How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike: Watch for Signs of Readiness
My son turned four in July, and just last week he learned how to ride a bike without training wheels! I’m not sure where that lies on the milestone timetable but it seems pretty early to me. We got him his first real bike for Christmas 2013 — a nice little Lightning McQueen bike complete with training wheels and a handlebar pouch for all of his treasures. He’s always been pretty active and loves playing outside. He’ll ride his bike all around our culdesac and over to the park most days. This summer, we got some new neighbors with boys ages four and six, and the three of them became fast friends. The new neighbors both ride without training wheels, so it was only a matter of time before my son started asking to take his off.
How to Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike: Choose the Right Bike
The first time we took the training wheels off, he was nervous and didn’t like the wobbly feeling. I didn’t want his newfound love of neighbor fun to wear off, so we put the training wheels back on and told him we could wait until he felt ready. Meanwhile, he started borrowing the neighbors’ no-pedal Strider Balance Bike, which he got the hang of easily. He’d scoot himself all around the street, even careening down our driveway without letting his feet touch the ground. I knew his balance was ready after that, so last week we took the training wheels off for the last time.
I held onto his seat for about 15 seconds as he figured out how to get his feet up to the pedals without falling over, and then he was off! He hasn’t looked back since, driving like a madman around our street. It’s adorable to see him reveling in his newfound freedom, and his pride that he is a “big kid” now. Our neighborhood bike gang is definitely here to stay. 🙂
That Strider Balance Bike is seriously worth every penny — although, in my case, I didn’t even have to pay anything since we just borrowed one. A friend told me when her girls were learning to ride a bike, they didn’t even purchase a balance bike — they just used a wrench and took the pedals off their regular bike (and lowered the seat a bit), then put it back together when they got the hang of balancing.
If you’ve got a kiddo trying to learn to ride a bike, get rid of those pedals! I can’t recommend using a balance bike enough.
What tips do you have for a new bike rider?