So my daughter just turned seven and this will be the spring when I take the training wheels off her bike. I was speaking to one of my students Mom’s about this and she mentioned that her sons also took a long time to ride a bike doing it the traditional way we learned. However, for her younger daughters she found a method where the girls learned to ride without training wheels at five! She shared the secret with me and doing a quick search on the internet I found a great step by step summary of this Mom’s tactics on the REI website. In summary the process is:
- Get into a good frame of mind and set aside 2 to 3 hours. Help your child also get into this ‘life event’ in some way. You might also want to make sure you have a camera with you.
- Get your child a helmet! Elbow and knee pads can also be useful on this big day.
- Safety is the biggest lesson on this special day! Discuss bike and traffic safety with your child
- Take the pedals off your child’s bike…yep take them off!
- Adjust the seat so your child can touch the ground while sitting on the seat.
- Make sure the brakes work properly and the tires are filled
- Find an open space that is traffic free and has a mix of hard and soft surfaces and a bit of a slight slope. The slope is not necessary, nor is the soft surface but it makes the initial glides easier and falls softer
- Have your child sit on the bike and start to glide by pushing off with and then lifting their feet
- Create distance, obstacle and turning objectives for your child and repeat them as needed. Keep making the task harder yet keep it fun
- Once your child is able to glide and turn comfortably put the pedals back on and adjust the seat so they can extend their leg on the pedal on the down stroke
- Stand back and watch them go! Work with them a bit more on turning, braking and riding safely. You might even get your bike out and take a ride with them!
What I learned is that training wheels are great for a child to learn how to pedal, but they tend to be a set-back when you want your child to learn how to really ride a bike.