Believe it or not, I was 9 before I could ride a two wheeled bike. I grew up on a busy street, so it wasn’t safe learning to ride on there. Add to that the fact my Dad didn’t drive, so getting to a part was tough, with a bike in tow. When I eventually did master it, I remember feeling so relieved I could finally join my friends on bike rides. I was keen for my kids to learn to ride bikes early. As a result, I’d already googled, “how to teach a child to ride a bike” before my son could even walk. Read on to find out what worked for us, and what didn’t.
How To Teach A Child To Ride A Bike
When I finally learnt myself, my Dad took off my stabilisers and literally held my bike upright until I could balance. Then he’d let go as I rode. This is all well and good when the child is 9 and has some road safety awareness, but it’s not that simple when teaching toddlers to ride a bike.
My son had a trike as a toddler, and loved it. He never peddled though, so needed pushing around on it. My daughter didn’t take to the trike, and preferred our balance bike. This was brilliant, as she learnt to balance like you do on a bicycle. It did become annoying having to carry it when she became too tired to ride it though.
After a year on her balance bike, Syd took a step backwards and moved to a bike with stabilisers. I now realise we should have taken these off on day one, as she quickly relied on them.
When she was about 6, her Dad took them off and they headed to the local park. Within a couple of hours, she had mastered balancing and was happily riding on two wheels! Grass, knee and elbow pads and a good helmet definitely boosted her confidence. I’d say those, thick trousers and sturdy shoes are necessary when teaching a kid to ride a bike.
Electric Balance Bikes
Times have changed a lot since then, though. I was absolutely amazed when I heard IndyBikes had created electric balance bikes! They sound like an absolute game changer… Kids aged 3-6 can use it as a standard balance bike, but then when their legs get tired, you can power it up and it does all the leg – work!
The interchangeable batteries mean you don’t have to worry about carrying it home if it runs out of charge, either. (If you’ve not had to carry a flat ride on car home, you’re smarter than I am).
IndyBikes sound absolutely brilliant, and they have this advice for new electric power bike riders…
“We always advise that new riders begin on the slow speed setting. To begin, make sure they are comfortable handling the weight of the bike without any power. For this, start them on a flat or slightly sloping hill and get them to just use it like a normal balance bike.
Once they are comfortable balancing, we recommend starting on a grassy surface (like a lawn). The grass is more forgiving if they do fall and the added friction also stops the bike quicker. This will help them understand the effect of the twist-and-go throttle.
If you start them on a fast surface or downhill slope, then any throttle movement will be too impactful. Walk with them for the first few runs, teaching them to turn and stop. Once they grasp the concept, try to teach them to lift the feet up once they are going. Finally, when they have been riding a few weeks, you can assess if they are ready for the faster speed mode”.
While they are currently only available for kids aged 3-6, I’m reliably informed they are working on a range for slightly older kids. I do hope this includes grown ups – My daughter fondly refers to me as, “The biggest kid ever”.
In all seriousness though, I do genuinely believe that a balance bike is the perfect starting point, when it comes to teaching children to ride bikes. Balancing needs to come before pedalling, in my mind.
I love that IndyBikes are supporting so many amazing causes too. With every sale, they donate to the “Eden Reforestation Projects”, which plants 5 Trees for them. They also support, “Kids against plastic”. This is a charity founded by two girls, who are passionate about spreading awareness of plastic pollution. Finally, they support The British Exploring Society. This charity helps vulnerable youths develop life skills and confidence through expeditions and workshops.
I hope these hints and tips on how to teach a child to ride a bike have been useful. Finally, let me know in the comments if you’ve got any tips to share.