Learning to ride is a rite of passage, but learning to ride safely is a skill that children need to be taught.
Let’s Ride is a fun and interactive learning experience that teaches kids to ride safely by developing their knowledge, skills and confidence – supporting kids in their independence and giving parents peace of mind. We will guide through the first steps to get your child to ride a bike in five simple steps. After that, please make sure to download our 1st Gear Session Plans. That will give you further resources to teach your child how to ride.
Step 1 – Get a balance bike or remove the pedals from a regular bike.
Balance bikes are low to the ground bicycles that don’t have any pedals or training wheels. Instead of pedals, children use their feet to scoot along the ground, developing a natural ability to stay balanced. Balance bikes also help teach the fundamental skills of bike control.
Alternatively, you can convert a pedal bike into a balance bike by removing the pedals and dropping the saddle so your child can place their feet flat on the ground. This is a great way to get kids used to the feel of the bike and allows them to practice braking and steering.
Step 2 – Practice “scooting”
A balance bike can be used in any situation, indoor or out, so encourage your child to scoot along beside you when you walk the dog or head to the park.
Typically a child will move from walking with the bike underneath them, perhaps not even in the saddle, to walking while seated, to rolling forward, to a one-foot shuffle, to a two-foot run/walk/shuffle.
Once comfortable with scooting, complete a “walk and scoot” – take two steps (one step each leg) then a two-foot scoot and glide as far as possible.
Step 3 – Start “gliding” on the bike
Once your child is comfortable scooting on their bike, progress to “gliding” which practices balanced coasting with two-foot propulsion.
Undertake gliding by progressing the “walk and scoot,” to allow for one pedal stroke and coasting as far as possible with both feet off the ground while maintaining balanced.
Repeat and encourage your child to glide for longer (and straighter) than their previous attempt.
Step 4 – Progress to a gentle downhill slope
A gentle downhill slope helps to get the bike moving and builds a small amount of speed (not too much!), which helps with confidence in balancing and controlling the bike.
Step 5 – Progress to regular bike (or refit pedals that were removed) and start pedalling!
Once the child has mastered balancing and is comfortable on their bike, try adding the pedals back on and advancing them to riding a regular bike.
When your child is still getting used to their regular bike, try positioning your hand gently on the back of your child to help them feel at ease.
Try to avoid touching the handlebars, to enable your child to build balance.
Overall, be patient!
Each child is different so remember to be patient. Once your pupil gets tired, stop, as if they get really tired they are going to have more spills!
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