How to Teach a Child to Balance a Bike

How to Teach a Child to Balance a Bike
Learning to ride a bike is an important rite of passage for children. The skill provides them not only a new means of transportation, but also a sense of accomplishment and freedom. Biking is also an excellent form of exercise. Once all of the children in the family can ride their own bikes, visits to bike trails at nearby parks can provide a fun family activity on weekends.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bike
  • Helmet
Step 1
Select a bike of a comfortable size for the child riding it. He should be able to sit on the seat of the bike with both feet on the ground. His knees shouldn't need to bend in this position. A bike that is too tall will be difficult for him to balance, while a bike that is too short can feel awkward and uncomfortable. Adjust the seat accordingly until you have a good fit. Remove training wheels if they are present.
Step 2
Inflate the bike tires to the correct pressure. The appropriate pressure should be printed on the sidewall of each tire. Flat tires will make it difficult to learn proper balancing techniques.
Step 3
Practice coasting before using the pedals. Have the child push off with her feet and coast for a few feet. She can replace her feet on the ground any time she feels unsteady. Once she's comfortable balancing a coasting bicycle, ask her to try steering the bike while coasting. Try gentle turns. Encourage her to hit certain markers such as a chalk marking on the sidewalk. This will keep her looking forward to the goal rather than down at the tires.
Step 4
Add pedaling to the equation. Have the child begin by coasting then lifting his feet up and slowly beginning to pedal the bike. Show him how to brake, whether by backpedaling or using a hand brake, so that he always knows how to stop. Remind him that he can put his feet down and stop the bike at any time, as he did when coasting.
Step 5
Set out cones or other markers and have the child practice maneuvering in a figure-eight pattern. Work up speed very slowly while practicing simple laps on a flat, even surface. Stay near the bike rider to offer support and encouragement, but don't hold on to the bike.

Tips & Warnings

Always instruct your child to wear a helmet while bike riding. Beginners may also benefit from knee and elbow pads to minimize injuries incurred when falling.

Article Written By Mandi Rogier

Mandi Rogier is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about a wide range of topics. As a previous employee of Walt Disney World, she enjoys writing travel articles that make use of her extensive knowledge of Orlando theme parks.

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