A New and Better Way to Teach Your Child?
The majority of us as kids learned how to ride a bike with training wheels. As times have changed there is a better and safer method that is sweeping the nation. Balance Bikes, This approach has completely changed the way kids learn to ride bikes by teaching them how to balance on their bike before pedaling.
It’s all about priority: balance and steering come before pedaling.
The problem with old-school training wheels is that they teach pedaling first. So once you finally remove the training wheels, your child is back at the starting line, attempting to balance themselves on the bike.
Balance bikes typically are made for the ages of 1.5 - 3 years old. If your child is already past the that age don’t fret as you can still teach your kid the balance-bike method with a pedal bike.
It is as simple as removing the pedals so that your child can push the bike forward with their feet. Once they get the hang of balancing, the pedals go back on. You’ll be amazed at how quickly your child will take to riding once they have mastered balance.
Our customers have raved about the success of this method and we believe you will too. It is important to keep in mind that every child’s learning curve is different, so the timeframe may vary. Of course, you'll be there to encourage them through this childhood milestone.
To show you how well this method works, we partnered with YouTube stars Family Fun Pack, and recorded their son Michael learning how to ride a bike. The video is intended to be informative and fun so that you can watch it together with your kiddos.
SPOILER: He learned to ride a bike in under 1 hour!!
Ready to teach your child how to ride a bike?
PART 1 | Before Teaching Your Kid to Ride
PART 2 | Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 3 Simple Steps
PART 3 | Teaching Your Kid How to Use Their Brakes
PART 4 | Need a Bike? 3 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Bike
Before Teaching Your Kid to Ride
i) Make sure they wear a helmet. The helmet should sit level on your child’s head, across the middle of the forehead and at least one inch from the eyebrows. If it sits too high on the forehead or moves too easily from side to side or front to back, you’ll want to adjust it for a better fit or possibly buy a different size.
You may also consider gloves, elbow-guards and shin-guards.
ii) Make sure the bike tires are properly inflated. To achieve a smoother, safer ride for your child -- and easier coasting -- make sure their bike tires are inflated the to appropriate pressure. This information is almost always found on the side of the tire (i.e. inflate to 40 - 65 PSI).
iii) Remember to have fun! Teaching your child a new skill can be stressful (for both of you). There may be times when your kid wants to throw in the towel. It’s up to you to encourage them to keep trying. Riding a bike will be a source of confidence and freedom as they grow.
Take your time. Loosen up. Laugh! And trust the process!
Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 3 Simple Steps
Step 1: Walk the bike with no pedals
Remove the pedals so that your child can easily walk the bike while seating on the seat. The right pedal loosens to the left, while the left pedal is reverse threaded so it will loosen by turning it right. All Guardian Bikes ship with the pedals off the bike and come with a 15mm pedal wrench.
Lower the seat so your child's feet are flat on the ground. More athletic kids can have their heels off the ground up to 1 inch. This will give them a sense of comfort and confidence because they can still touch the ground. The video below shows you how to quickly move the seat up or down if your bike has a quick release.
On a flat surface allow your child to walk the bike while they are seated on the saddle. This gives them a feeling of control and helps them get familiar with the sensation of balancing and steering the bike.
Keep them working on this until they get the hang of it. You will begin to notice them have more control over the bike and that will be your que to move to step 2.
Step 2: Coast on your bike with your feet up
With their feet up have your child coast down a slight slope. This gentle incline will help them get use to the momentum without making them nervous. It will also help them acclimate to balancing themselves. Remember: small slopes are ideal here.
Stay at the bottom of the slope, so that they see you as they descend toward you. This will help with your child’s peace of mind and give them a target to aim towards.
Time them as they ride down the slope. You can count off (“1-2-3-4-5!”). This turns it into a game and encourages them to keep their feet up. When they can coast consistently for 15 seconds, it’s time to install the pedals.
Step 3: Ride your bike with the pedals on!!
Install the pedals so that they can practice riding for real! Remember from our pro tip above that the right pedal tightens clockwise and the left pedal tightens counter-clockwise. If you need help installing the pedals, the video below is a great resource.
Hold onto their side and have your child start to pedal the bike. This is going to help them learn the concept of pedaling which they will pickup much quicker than the balancing they already practiced in steps 1 and 2.
Teach your kid how to start from a stopped position. They should start with one foot on the ground and have the opposite foot on the pedal at the 2 o'clock position (see the image below for reference). This position will allow your child to push down on the pedal and start to generate momentum immediately, which is the key to balancing. They may tip over a few times during this process, but you will be amazed how quickly they will be pedaling on their own!
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
- Albert Einstein
Teaching your kids how to use their brakes
You’ll never forget the sight of your child riding away after you let go, but don’t forget to teach them how to stop! As we mentioned earlier, foot brakes and even hand brakes can be a challenge to a child. That’s why we recommend our SureStop braking system. Here are tips for each braking type:
Coaster (back-pedal) Brakes
To activate the coaster brake, have your child spin the pedals backwards. If the pedals are at noon and 6 o'clock, they may need to pedal forwards a quarter turn and then spin the pedals backwards. Although, you may have learned how to ride a bike on coaster brakes, we don’t recommend them to kids. We explain more on why below.
Two Lever Brakes
To activate the brakes, your child will need to pull the brake levers on the handlebar. The right brake lever is for the rear wheel and the left lever is for the front wheel. Teach your child to only pull the right lever so they don't lock up the front wheel and go over the bars. At some point, they will need to start learning to modulate the front brake in because most of the stopping power comes from your front wheel. This can often be confusing for kids. Too much front brake may result in over the handle bar accidents and too much back brake results in slower stopping times.
SureStop Braking System
To activate the brakes, your child will simply need to grab the single brake lever and our patented brake system will distribute the braking power to both wheels while preventing and head-over-handlebar accidents.
Need a Bike? 3 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Bike
i) Size is everything. Put your child on the right-size bike and you’re already halfway there. Need help determining the best size bike for your child? Use our easy Ridesizer tool.
ii) Don’t skimp when it comes to quality. Most higher-quality bikes are light weight, which should allow your child to better control the ride. In fact, the majority of kids’ bikes in the market weigh an average of 33 pounds, with the average kid riding them at only 44 pounds. This could make riding cumbersome and even dangerous, because the weight of the bike could encompass 75 percent of the child’s weight. That’s why the light weight design of Guardian bikes is so important for kids. Find out more about what makes a quality bike here.
iii) Avoid coaster brakes. When a kid is learning to ride a bike, they may instinctually pedal backward when they feel they are losing their balance. Backward pedaling causes a loss of momentum, which can cause a fall. Instead, consider a bike with hand brakes, or our SureStop Brake System.
Now you have all the steps and knowledge to go out and teach your kid how to ride a bike without the use of training wheels and why this method is more effective!
- Walk the bikes with no pedals
- Coast with feet up
- Ride the bike with pedals
- Know what kind of brakes your kids bike has and how they operate
If you use this method please share your feedback with us below. Also, if you have any questions that weren’t answered in this article feel free to reach out to us directly at GuardianBikes.com or on Facebook.