FOLLOW THESE 4 STEPS TO HELP YOUR CHILD LEARN TO RIDE A BIKE.
The health benefits of riding a bike
Learning to ride a bike or scooter is a rite of passage for every child (and their parents).Riding a bike with or without stabilisers provides children not only with the freedom to move but has a positive impact on their development.
Learning to ride a bike enables children to develop their leg muscles and strengthen their bones.As kids get better at riding a bike and do so regularly the continued exercise will help build their stamina and improve their cardiovascular development. It will also have a marked improvement on their coordination and balance (not to mention their confidence).
Learning to ride a bike – Step One
Before attempting to teach your child to ride a bike its important you spend some time considering what type of bike is best for them.
There are a huge variety of bikes to choose from.The 2 main types are bikes with stabilisers and balance bikes.
Understanding which is right for your child is the first step in learning to ride a bike.
But how do you choose and what are the pros and cons of each?
Bike with stabilisers or a Balance Bike?
Learning to ride a bike with stabilisers means you only need to buy only one bike.However, although stabilisers can be removed from a bike the majority of these type of bikes are quite heavy.This makes them quite difficult to learn how to ride especially for pre-schoolers as they often struggle to manage their heavy, bulky frames.
Learning to ride a toddler balance bike is a good option for younger children (aged from 18 months+) as these tend to be made from lighter materials.Making it easier for little ones to have more control and ultimately more confidence when learning to ride.
Learning to ride a balance bike at a younger age often makes the transition to a bike without stabilisers quicker and much more pain free. When a child learns to ride a bike with stabilisers they learn to steer by moving the handlebars. However, when they move to a bike without stabilisers they need to learn the process again. This is because steering a regular bike places more emphasis on leaning in the direction that you want to go, rather than moving the handlebars. This is why balance bikes are such a good first step for children learning to ride a bike.If you are looking to buy a new balance bike you can see Micro's range of 2in1 Balance Bikes here >>
Learn to ride a bike – Step 2
Whether you choose to a bike with stabilisers or balance bike for your child it is important they have all the necessary safety gear before going out on their first lesson.In our opinion every child riding a bike or scooter should have a well fitted safety helmet.You may also wish to “pad them up” with knee and elbow pads.
Once suitability geared up for safety it is important to let your child sit on their bike and get to grips with its weight, height and how to steer.It's a good idea to begin by lowering the seat to a level where the child can comfortably touch the floor. This will allow them to get a feel for the bike, its weight and how it moves.
Find the right place to learn to ride a bike - Step 3Once your child feels comfortable on their bike you should look for a suitable location to begin their adventures. Try to find somewhere quiet away from too many distractions. The park is often a good idea but make sure you get there early, if there's lots of people around and things going on we find that children can get distracted. We would always recommend tarmac over grass, despite how tempting the softer surface of grass may be. This is because children will have to push much harder on grass than on tarmac, making it more difficult to get going and for them to find their balance.
Get riding - Step 4Once you've found a suitable location and your child is ready to go it's time to begin riding. Begin by letting your child push off and start moving whilst you hold them. Try to avoid holding the bike and handlebars as this can often get in the way of the child. Try to encourage your child to lean into corners and to pick up their feet when they have enough speed and they're moving in a straight line. After a few goes most children begin to get more confident on the bike but never leave them on their on at this early stage. Try walking beside them so that you are always on hand to offer help and advice and then move behind them as their skills increase.
Teaching your child to ride a bike, summary:
- Balance bikes are great for younger riders
- Always wear a helmet
- Find a quiet location
- Look for flat tarmac and avoid grass
- Avoid holding on to the bike or handlebars
- Encourage your child to lean into corners and pick up their feet when moving straight
- Always keep within arms reach until their skills increase
- Have fun!