Learn to Ride.
Through the years, so many kids have learned to ride a bike that you’d think
that there’s one good way to teach a kid or adult to ride. There isn’t really. But
there are some guidelines to help parents teach kids – and some for parents to remember
Stuff to help kids learn
Don't try to do it all at once.
Balancing, pedaling, braking and turning are all individual skills that take time
to learn. You can make it easier for a kid by concentrating on one skill at a time.
For instance, a two wheeled scooter can help kids learn how to balance and steer.
Or a tricycle can help kids master pedaling and turning.
Training wheels or no training wheels?
Like pretty much everything, it’s going to depend on your kid and your situation.
Some kids will benefit from riding with training wheels – especially if they have
a lot of freedom to ride by themselves at a relatively young age. But if the kid
you’re teaching learns to balance first, training wheels might not be needed.
Look for a gentle slope.
When you’re getting ready to teach a kid to ride a two-wheel bike without training
wheels, start scouting around for a good place. You want to look for a wide-open
area like an empty parking lot, sidewalk or yard. A gentle downhill slope will make
the lessons a little easier on a kid’s little legs.
Learning to ride: drop the saddle.
You’ve got the bike, the training wheels are off and you’re almost ready to go.
But first lower the saddle, or seat, of the bike so the kid can easily rest both
feet flat on the ground with their knees slightly bent. This way they can push the
bike along to master balancing and steering the new bike.
Learning to ride: add other skills
Once a kid gets comfortable balancing and turning, raise the saddle to the right
height to work on pedaling and stopping. Remember, the secret to stopping with coaster
brakes is to stop GRADUALLY!
Remember: Helmets every time.
Putting on a helmet is an important part of riding for everyone. Remind kids to
put on their helmet every time they pick up a bike.
Remember: Rules of the road are part of riding!
A kid who is old enough to ride a bike is also old enough to know the rules of the
road. Teach the importance of obeying stop signs, the right way to signal, how and
where to cross the street and the other basics at the same time you teach the basics
of pedaling, steering and stopping. A good place to start is Huffy’s top
Stuff for parents to remember for themselves.
Be educated – You know that no two kids are alike. Turns out, no two kids learn
to ride a bike the same way either. So before you start to teach your kid to ride,
take a look around the internet, talk to your neighbors, and generally teach yourself
all of the different ways you can teach a kid to ride.
Be patient – This is one of the hardest, and most repeated, lessons for parents.
It can be tough for a parent to keep his or her cool when teaching a kid to ride
a bike – if only because we know how much fun it can be. But remember: let the kid
learn at his or her own pace. Putting too much pressure on them will just take the
fun out of riding. And no one wants that.
Be prepared – Learning to ride a bike is not likely to be a crash-free experience.
Be ready and able to treat the bumps, bruises and scrapes that come with learning
Be a participant – If you haven’t ridden in a while, now is a great time to get
back at it. Riding with an adult is a good way for a kid to learn the rules of the
road and the importance of lifelong fitness. Plus it’s fun!
> Next: Safety Tips