Teach your child how to bike to school
1.Getting on the bike
Get your child to hold the handlebars and squeeze the brakes. They lean the bike towards themselves and then step one leg over.
2. Using the brakes
Children’s bikes may have brake levers or a coaster brake (this works when they push the pedals backwards). Get your child to practice using the brakes with the training wheels on.
3. Learning to balance and move
Remove the training wheels. And if you have the right tools, remove the pedals.
Ask your child to get on the bike and then scoot along by pushing their feet off the ground one at a time. They will shuffle along at first. Their next challenge is to start scooting and then lift both feet off the ground to glide. Tell them to look ahead. See how far they can glide with both feet in the air. It can be easiest to do this on grass with a very slight downhill slope.
This exercise is the best way to learn to balance on a bike. Keep at it until they are happy gliding several metres.
Source: Pixel-Shot – stock.adobe
4: Steer the bike where you want to go
There’s a saying “look where you go and the bike will go where you look”. Teach your child to keep their eyes up and look ahead. This helps their body’s sense of balance and direction. Practice this when they are scooting and gliding.
Photo by Irina Schmidt
4: Get pedalling
After their balance improves, put the pedals back on.
It’s easiest to start with one pedal aimed forwards, roughly in line with the downtube of the bike. This is like two on a clock and is called the pedal ready position.
You can hold your child gently at the shoulders or waist, or bend down lower and grasp the seat post.
Your child places one foot on the pedal, pushes forward and goes. They get their other foot on the other pedal and keep turning. A gentle push can help them start off.
Run alongside them and keep a gentle hold while they ride. Gradually let go if they are balanced. This may take a few turns. Things to keep in mind:
- They’ll need to move at an adult jogging pace — bike riding at walking pace is harder
- Don’t worry if they don’t ride in a straight line at first
- Remind them to brake when they want to stop
- Hold them more and more gently as they progress – eventually they’ll be able to start off by themselves
Once they can start on their own, ride for about 25 metres, make simple turns and stop, they have learned the basics of bike riding.