Perhaps the most significant milestone is a child’s life, learning how to ride a bike is a rite of passage owed to each and every one of the little fellas.
In addition to introducing them to a fit and active lifestyle early on, bike riding allows your kids to develop the necessary motor skills. Not to mention improved hand-eye coordination.
However, this white knuckle introduction to mobile independence often came with mixed feelings in the past. For children, learning how to ride was both exciting and terrifying at the same time.
And for good reason; it meant ghastly falls, skinned knees and questioning how much your parents really care for your well being.
For dad and mom, it meant worn patience and huffing and puffing all over the place behind your wailing child.
Well, that’s probably because most people have been doing it wrong for decades. Your first mistake was going with the training wheels. They only work as a crutch that slows down the learning process.
Since you’re going to take those puppies off, why even use them in the first place. If you want to do it right, then here’s how to teach a child to ride a bike without training wheels.
1. Make Sure Junior is Ready and Willing
As with any other lesson in this world, the student has to be more interested than the teacher for the dynamic to succeed. Consequently, your child should be the one who’s pestering you to get them a bike and teach them how to ride.
More often than not, parents tend to push their children into the activity when they are neither ready nor interested. No matter how great of a parent you are, the only outcome, in this case, is an uphill battle with no winner.
Additionally, the ready part also means factoring in a child’s age. After all, a bike is still a vehicle that should be treated with respect. You can’t expect a toddler who can barely walk to suddenly become a Lance Armstrong on the bike now, can you?
2. Use Full Safety Gear
In the old days, we used to take pride in our battle scars as we shed blood, sweat, and tears learning how to ride a bike. Fortunately, today’s parents have become more sensible and responsible than that.
When teaching your child how to cycle, always ensure they wear a helmet, elbow and knee pads and as much safety gear as you can.
Ditching the training wheels comes with a risk of toppling over, so it pays to be well protected. Just don’t overdo it so much that your child ends up looking like a hockey goalie on a bike.
3. Buy the Right Bike
Before we even get to riding, you have to make sure that your child has the most suitable bike. I’ve seen a lot of folks (mine included) buy a bike with the notion that their child will grow into it.
Sure, this may be a cost effective solution, but you make your child’s life so hard and expose them to risk of injuries. A bigger bike not only stresses your child’s body, but it also conjures ridiculous images of a little person riding one of those huge Penny Farthings.
As a guideline, measure your child’s height to establish correct wheel size. Children ranging between 25 to 40 inches will need a 12 inch when diameter. Taller and bigger kids who measure over 40 to 60 inches tall will be fine with 18 to 20 wheel diameters.
Some of our recommended bikes for kids:
4. Find the Perfect Spot
The location will play an enormous role in teaching your child how to ride a bike without training wheels. The best place to ride should be wide open, flat and on a soft surface like grass or carpet.
You don’t want your child falling down on hard concrete or rough asphalt. It’s going to be hard to give them the ‘when you fall off your horse you get back on’ speech if they get a concussion or broken bones.
Additionally, you should look for a secluded spot where your kids won’t be embarrassed by friends or prying eyes; they’re so sensitive nowadays, aren’t they?
5. Teach Braking First
Before your little ones even move an inch, they have to learn how to stop first. Give them a basic mechanical on how the bike works, where the brakes are and how to use them.
You should also teach them some defensive braking techniques such as avoiding the front brake at high speeds and placing your feet at a wide stance once you stop. Knowing that they can safely land the plane will make them more confident in their skills.
6. Work on Balance
For those of you who are ardent, you will notice that this is the first time your child will actually start moving. This means that the initial steps to teaching a child bike riding are actually the most important.
Unfortunately, most parents work the other way round and therein lies the problem. If you’re going to teach your child how to ride without training wheels, balance is essential.
By balance, I don’t mean shelling out hundreds of dollars for a balance bike. Nope, you can make your very own balance bike by going old school and taking the pedals off.
This will allow your child to run at their own pace while still touching the ground. Not only does this benefit the child by reducing risks of falls, but they’ll be coasting with their feet hanging in no time.
7. Wave Goodbye
That’s right; your child is now a fully-fledged bike rider, it’s time to let go. After they have begun coasting, and are ready to go out on their own, pop back the pedals and you won’t even have to teach them how to pedal. The need for speed will urge them on to pedal faster.
Of course, make sure they ride in a safe environment, and before you know it, they’ll be old enough to drive a car. Fortunately, the driving schools will handle that part for you.