Ultimate Guide on Teaching Kids How to Ride a Bike
Cycling is one of the best activities for kids. Not only does it has health and fitness benefits, but it can also be an enjoyable bonding experience. It could be your kids' first experience of an adrenaline rush that will allow them to explore other sporty activities.
But here's the truth–teaching kids how to run a bike can be tricky. With just one wrong strategy, your kid can learn a faulty cycling practice that can lead to accidents. This blog will teach you the best way to train your kids to ride a bike.
When to start teaching your kids to ride a bike
Most children are ready to learn cycling when they reach the ages of 4 to 5. However, remember that to each is own. Some kids can learn the basics of cycling as early as three and a half years old, while some would only master cycling techniques later than five years old.
However, remember that children cannot be expected to ride safely and execute sound judgment when riding a bicycle below the age of 10. So, even though your kid has exhibited excellent cycling skills, full supervision is still essential.
Why teach your kids to ride a bike
Regardless of their pace, parents should continue teaching kids how to cycle. Here are some of the reasons why.
1. It keeps kids physically healthy
It's verified that cycling can boost the body's immune system, making your kids less vulnerable to illnesses. Active kids are less likely to have chronic diseases later in life. Regular exercise can decrease the risk of seven of the ten most common chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Aside from these, cycling helps them develop strong muscles and cardiovascular systems, allowing them to be strong enough to explore other physical activities.
2. It boosts their brain development
Aside from their physique, cycling helps their brain, too. Kids would have to remember cycling skills and go through various riding strategies when cycling, boosting their critical and creative thinking. Aside from this, improved regulation of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline also boosts brain power.
3. It's a great way for them to explore your community
Cycling would allow your kids to connect with other people. Instead of staying at home or traveling in a car, they can easily go around your neighborhood on their bicycle. As long as there's adult supervision, it would be nice for kids to play with their friends and explore new areas in your community.
Steps on how to teach kids to ride a bike
Now that you know the importance of teaching kids how to ride a bike, it's time for their lessons! Here are some of the best steps to make your children learn cycling.
1. Introduce them to a temporary balance bike
Kids will easily learn how to ride a four-wheel bicycle. After this, they must learn balance for their 2-wheel ride. The best way to do it is by creating a temporary balance bike, which is done by removing the bike pedals.
This isn't complicated a process as how it sounds, a basic wrench on your everyday saddle cycling bag will do. And if you have advanced hardware skills, you can remove the crank, too.
2. Sit, run, and glide routine
Now that the pedals are gone start their balance practice through a sit, run, and glide routine. Make them sit on their bicycle (make sure that the seat post is properly adjusted), make them run, and once their tires gain momentum, make them raise their feet so they can glide.
The sit, run, and glide routine will give them the feel of cycling while allowing them to regain their balance if needed easily. This will help them prevent the fall-bike routine that some kids experience while learning how to cycle. It's best to do this routine for at least three days, so they can really master balancing.
3. Return the pedals
Once they can already glide smoothly, it's time to put back the pedal on the bike. It's also best to raise the saddle so the kids can appropriately apply force on the pedals. The best gauge to get the perfect height is to see if your child can touch the ground with feet flat without bending their knees.
4. Applying force on the pedals
Make the kids place their feet on the pedals while assisting them. Gently push the bike forward while their feet are on the pedals. This will give them the feel of how pedals move when cycling.
Repeat this routine while ensuring they won't remove their feet on the pedals. When you see that they're comfortable placing their feet on the pedals, let them go after giving them momentum. However, make sure to run beside them as they're most likely to lose their balance on their first try.
5. Adjust the bike if needed
Ask them how they feel when they see that they're having difficulty maintaining their balance while pedaling. It could be because the pedal is too hard for them, or they have a hard time controlling the pedal. Should this happen, apply a minimal amount of lube on the chain and slightly tighten the pedal on the crank.
6. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings
Once they're already used to pedaling and can go through a significant distance on their own, teach them to be aware of their surroundings. Teach them to focus on the road while cycling, glance to their left and right, and use basic hand signals.
At this stage, when they're already gaining independence, it is also best to place a GPS tracker on their bicycle. This way, should they veer away slightly out of your sight, you can easily find them.
7. Teaching them how to use cycling accessories
Lastly, make sure that you teach your kids the importance of cycling accessories such as helmets, knee and elbow pads, and bike lights. According to recent research, poor and reckless cycling habits are developed during childhood. They tend to feel overly confident on the road, sacrificing their safety.
When looking for cycling outfits, prioritize your kid's comfort. On the other hand, when looking for their first bike lights, it's best to look for automated smart technology so they wouldn't need to configure their setting.
Start teaching your kids the safe way to cycle.
While cycling is definitely a fun and exciting activity for kids, road safety should still be your priority when teaching your kids. Once they get used to the safe way to cycle, they will carry it on when they grow up. Whether they pursue pro racing, mountain cycling, or daily casual cycling, a well-taught child would keep in mind that they should always be careful when cycling.