Learning to ride a bike is a huge childhood milestone. By the time we were on our third child, we’d nailed it! But teaching our first and second were quite a challenge at times. Given that this week is Bike Week, I thought I’d share my own tips and this great little video, which certainly echoes my positive experience teaching my third child to ride a bike.
My Top Tips
- Get them on a balance bike as soon as they’re ready – they’ll learn how to balance and stay upright on 2 wheels, without having to think about pedals.
- Encourage them to use the balance bike little and often, short bursts going from A to B are great. They’ll pick it up in no time.
- Don’t use stabilisers, the positioning of the bike isn’t the same as without, which is confusing with little ones when you try and get rid of them.
- Get a lightweight bike that’s proportioned to the child. I absolutely rave about Isla Bikes and have also heard good things about Frog bikes.
- Lead by example, start family bike rides early (with baby in a bike seat) and cycling will just become a normal part of their life.
- Choose flat, smooth surfaces to first try with a pedal bike. St James Park in Shirley has a great looping path, as does Southampton Common. But there are many options in the area.
From my experience, it literally took less than 10 minutes to go from a balance bike to a pedal cycle with my third when she was about 4 and she’d been on a balance bike since she was 2. It was such a simple, natural transition and a pleasure and joy to watch!
Cycling is a great family activity, and one that you can get even the youngest family members involved in from quite early on. While I’m on the subject of family cycling, I thought I’d also share my child bike seat recommendation. Again, you’ve learnt by the third time round! We found the Weeride bike seat, which sits between the handle bars and cyclist (rather than behind the cyclist), to be amazing. When they’re stuck at the back, the bike often feels heavy and unbalanced and you have no interaction with them. Using the Weeride, the bike feels so much more stable and you can involve them in your cycle and chat to them as you go. They can also see what’s going on really well. We used this right up until our 3rd child was about 4 and it was a great experience.