We can all agree that knowing how to ride a bike is a pretty basic life skill, especially if you live in a city with constant bumper-to-bumper traffic. A child, however, may not understand that it’s not realistic to think they’ll be riding a three wheeler when they’re an adult. It’s important to get your little one excited and comfortable with being on a bike early on. And, of course, don’t forget a helmet! We love the Noodle from Joovy (pictured below) because it’s made-to-last but affordable, breathable, adjustable and comes in nine colours.
Here’s how to teach your kid to ride a bike:
“The average age kids get their first pedal bike is between 3 and 7 years old, however, we recommend a child get their first pedal bike between the ages of 3 and 5, depending on their physical abilities and confidence level,” says Brian Riley, the co-founder and CEO of award-winning kids bike brand, Guardian Bikes. “Some children may be ready to start building their basic cycling skills even earlier and balance bikes – bikes without pedals – are a great way to do that for younger kids as they offer a safer, more intuitive way for kids to learn to ride. Balance bikes require kids to master the most difficult skills of balancing, steering and braking first, and keeping the easier skill of pedaling for last.”
Riley goes on to note that he encourages parents to encourage their children to start practicing on a balance bike as early as 18 months to 2 years old as long as they are walking steadily on both feet. “Even if your kiddo is older and learning to ride, we recommend the balance bike method versus training wheels.”
Once your child is ready to transition to a bike, it’s important to remember that all kids are different and they all learn skills at different speeds and ages. “However, learning to ride a bike depends a great deal on not just the child, but the bike itself. Some kids pick up the basics almost immediately, while others can take several weeks. If they’re on the wrong size bike, or a heavy and cheaply made bike, the learning process can last even longer. A child’s bike should be lightweight, have a low center of gravity, and be properly sized in order to give them the best learning experience.”
As far as tactics, it’s all about priority: balance and steering should come before pedaling. “Remove the pedals on your child’s bike and have them learn to balance first. You can learn how to teach your kid to ride a bike in three easy steps using the balance bike method.” Make sure you pick a wide and flat surface for them to start riding on. That way the focus can be on mastering balance and confidence without distractions like busy roads, obstacles, or steep hills
We don’t have to tell you that in this day and age of iPads and stay-at-home-orders it’s more important than ever to keep our children active – bike riding is a great way to do just that plus it helps children build confidence in their physical abilities and procvides a first taste of independence and freedom.