How to teach a child to ride a bike in just six steps
20 November 2019, 00:01
Teaching a child how to ride a bike can be a daunting - and stressful - task, but with these expert tips from the team at Halfords, it won't be long until your youngsters are confident cyclists.
They say you never forget how to ride a bike, well a lot of parents never forget the ups and downs of teaching a child how to navigate the world on two wheels, either!
It can be a stressful experience for adults and children, but there are ways to make it enjoyable for all parties - with a bit of patience.
The experts at Halfords know a thing or two about cycling, from choosing the perfect ride, to the best safety kit and accessories to make riding your bike enjoyable, whether you are commuting to work, on the school run, heading out to explore local nature trails on the weekends, or in to more intense two-wheeled hobbies, like mountain biking or long-distance road racing.
They've shared this great technique for teaching your child how to ride a bike.
- A pedal spanner to remove and replace the pedals, Halfords sell one for £8.99.
- Your child will need a helmet, Halfords stock a huge range, and can fit them in store
- Knee and elbow pads, optional but can protect against bruised limbs and confidence
Pick the right spot
Before you start, spend a bit of time finding a good place for them to learn. It’s best if this is a traffic-free area such as a cycle path. A slight down slope helps too.
Make sure you take it easy when teaching – don’t push them too hard or let them get carried away.
Make some adjustments
Lower the seat and remove the pedals. Removing the pedals allows them to move forwards with both feet on the ground. If the pedals aren’t marked left and right, make a note of this.
Next, show them how to use the brakes. When your child is ready, get them to move forwards for about 30 feet, pushing themselves along and taking their feet off the ground where possible.
Let them do this a few times to get the hang of it, using the brakes to stop.Once they’re happy, put one pedal back on. It doesn’t matter which one.
One foot at a time
Make sure they’re comfortable on the bike and feel secure by getting them to hold the brakes and turn the handlebars left and right.
Then, with one foot on the pedal get them to push themselves forwards using the other foot for about 30 feet. Make sure they’re looking up all the time. Do this a few times until they’re comfortable with it.
Next, put the other pedal back on and get them to squeeze the brakes again.
Now, holding them, not the bike, get them to put their feet on the pedals. Make sure they’re ready, then get them to look up, let go of the brakes, and start pedalling. Walk forwards while holding on to them and gradually release your grip, stopping after 10 to 15 feet.
On their own
Now step it up a little bit. Holding them as before, get them to put both feet on the pedals and look up. Count to three and tell them to let go of the brakes and pedal forwards. Let go after a few steps and step back to make it look like they’ve gone further. Shout ‘stop’ after 10 to 15 feet. Pace out the distance so they can see how far they’ve travelled.
Off they go!
This time, lightly hold their clothes with one hand and hold the bike’s handlebars with the other. Repeat steps as before, releasing them after a few steps and letting them ride for as long as they want. Tell them to keep looking up. Hopefully, they’ll now be cycling a little on their own.
Riding a bike isn’t something everyone picks up straight away, but this method is a great way to ease them into cycling.
If you need a new bike for your little one, Halfords have a huge range of children’s bikes in store and online, that they build for free.