The easiest way to teach a child to ride a bike is to use the ‘pedals off’ method. This method will usually get a child to ride a bike within one session. Many children learn to ride their bike within 20 minutes, and sometimes within 5 minutes! And this method doesn’t involve the parent or carer running alongside the child trying to hold onto the back of the seat……….
90% of the skill in learning to ride a bike is learning to balance – using slight movements of the handlebars to keep the bike upright. This is probably impossible to teach by explanation – we learn this almost intuitively with a small amount of the right kind of practice. The ‘pedals off’ method enables the child to learn this for themselves experientially. Here are the steps.
Remember: Keep the session happy and positive with lots of positive feedback and praise!
- Ensure that the bike being used is the correct size for the child.
- Remove any stabilisers.
- Remove both pedals, but bring the pedals and the appropriate spanner with you to the training session.
- Lower the saddle so that the child can easily touch the ground with both feet.
- Make sure that the child understands how to use the brakes effectively.
- Find somewhere with a level traffic-free paved path that also has a section that is sightly downhill. (There are suitable places at Caldy Valley park and at the Countess of Chester Country Park.)
- On a level stretch of path, have the child scoot along on the bike using their feet to push themselves.
- Continue with the scooting practice until the child is familiar with using the handlebars to steer and with using the brakes to stop the bike.
- Now go to the downhill section. Have the child scoot downhill and start to pick their feet up off the ground for short stretches. Then move to having the child just coast slowly and steadily with their feet off the ground to learn to balance.
- Once they can coast and balance well, put the pedals back on. The child can now ride a bike! Well done.
Here is a YouTube video which shows the method being used: