Teaching your child to ride a bicycle is a big milestone in their lives, so it’s not surprising that parents want to make these lessons as fun as possible, ensuring their kids have a positive relationship with riding in the future.
So, seeing as your own bike riding lessons are probably a little hazy, where do you begin? Well, we’ve got a parental survival guide to help you through.
1. Getting The Right Bike And Helmet
The first step in ensuring that your child has a positive experience learning to ride a bike is to make sure they have the right bike and helmet.
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While it is tempting to buy a larger bike that your child can grow into, a child’s first bike should be the correct fit so as not to slow down the learning process. The bike you get for your child should be small enough that your child can stand over the top of the frame with both their feet flat on the ground.
A well-fitting helmet is also necessary for the safety and comfort of your new rider. Their helmet should sit level across the middle of their forehead, not more than about 2.5cm above their eyebrows. If it’s sitting too high, or moves more than a few centimetres when you push it from the side, front, or back, you’ll need to adjust it. If you’re at the tightest point and it’s still moving, a smaller helmet is needed. Parents might also choose to have their child wear gloves, elbow and shin guards, or kneepads. That’s entirely up to you!
2. Where To Teach
Choosing a location to teach your child to ride is probably just as important as them having the right bike. It is tempting to pick a grassed location because of your child’s risk of falling and injuring themselves, but a paved spot is the better option as the surface is flat and smooth. We’d suggest a large driveway, empty parking lot, or empty basketball or tennis court.
3. Altering The Bike
So, you’ve got the bike, you’ve got the helmet and other safety gear, and you’ve got the child ready to learn. For the method that we like to use to teach a child to ride a bike, there’s one more thing left to do.
Take off the pedals.
Yep, that’s right. We want you to make your child’s bike into a balance bike, if they aren’t familiar with the process already. You can do this by just taking off the pedals at the same time as you remove the training wheels. For this method, you’ll also need to lower the seat all the way down, so they can sit on the bike with their legs flat on the ground, just for the learning process.