Tips for teaching a child to ride a bike without stabilisers

Tips for teaching a child to ride a bike without stabilisers

According to Google and my own personal experience, a child normally learns to ride a bicycle between the ages of 3 and 7 with an average 5. 

If your little one is 18 and still can't ride a bike, don't worry, its still possible at any age to learn! The main tip here is to think ahead. You might think researching bikes when your child is 1 years old is a bit early but you will be surprised. Being a role model by riding a bike yourself, and getting them excited about riding a bicycle is the hardest part. Once they really want to learn, the process will be fast and fun.

Below i will outline the steps to teach a child how to ride a bike, a process tried and tested by myself. It also bypasses the need to ever use stabilisers.

Goodordering teaching a child how to ride a bike

1) Start with a balance bike

When your child is 2 years old, get hold of a balance bike, that is basically bicycle with no pedals. It should be at a height so they can sit on the seat with their feet touching the ground. Encourage them to do the Fred Flintstone shuffle as much as they can. From walking along with the bike, before long they will want to go faster and push themselves off with their feet for little mini rides.

2) After a while, get them a pedal bike

The main tip here is to get them a bike that is as lightweight as possible. The seat height is important, its better for it to be too low than too high so the child can comfortably put their feet on the floor. The time on the balance bike can be anything from 6 months to a year. Its up to how your child is progressing. If your child is speeding around confidently, putting their feet up in the air, then its time.

3) Scout out a location

Find a familiar location nearby with no traffic, a park is perfect. Ideally there is no one else around. A flat surface rather than a hill is best and if the floor is nice and smooth that will make it even easier.

Goodordering teaching a child how to ride a bike
4) Hold the seat for stability

At first, if you can get them to just run along flintstone-style they might even be able to teach themselves, but the best way is to hold the back of the seat, so the bike feels stable. If you hold their jumper or waist, it will be more noticeable when you are not holding them and they might freak out a little bit. Make sure NOT to hold the handlebars. Some people say to hold their backs or shoulders which you can try, but when the child has the balance down pat, i feel that a simple steadying of the base of the saddle is sufficient.

5) Run alongside them at first

Once they are up and running its great, give them encouragement but keep in mind that they will then get a bit nervous about how to stop. So you can help them stop the first few times. 

Check out our other blog post on Why its so important for children to play outside.

6) Teach them to brake

Once they have built up confidence they show them the brakes and they should be able to add that to the mix.

Goodordering teaching a child how to ride a bike


* Don't forget to get a helmet and knee guards if necessary

* When first teaching them, wear long trousers and top just in case they fall off it prevents scratches and scrapes. 

* Tell them to drive onto some grass to stop, that they if they fall over its on a soft surface, the grass also helps to slow them down.

    In Summary

    1.  Start with a balance bike

    2. After a while get them a lightweight pedal bike

    3. Scout out a location

    4. Hold the seat for stability

    5. Run alongside them at first

    6. Teach them to brake

    As your child gets older and builds up confidence, you can teach them about road safety, indicating and build up longer and longer rides. If anyone has any more tips for how they taught their little ones how to ride, please let us know!

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    It’s fun to show the children how to ride a bike. Keep in mind that cycling plays a key role in the growth of children, amongst the other things. You can even use a balance bike if your kids are afraid to fall from a bike. Such pedal-less bikes help the children learn how to steer and control bikes in order to train them for pedaled bikes. In fact, it’s more thrilling than training wheeled bikes. You can learn more here about balance bikes for your kids.

    Liz Paterson

    If you’re over 5’2" this method may be a recipe for back ache. I find holding THE child just below the armpits works well (you can use a scarf as a handle). A gentle slope can help, as can starting on a grassy slope. I’ve taught a lot of people to ride and no 2 are the same so it’s ok to experiment. Or get a cycling instructor to do it!!!

    Danielle Toyer

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