How to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels

How to Teach a Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels
Although training wheels may provide some psychological comfort and even help kids learn to bike, they are often not the best way. Training wheels slow down the learning process by providing a crutch to the young cyclist. Training wheels also make the bike quite unstable when it is driven quickly, turning it into a narrow tricycle with a high center of gravity. With a little help from parents, any kid who can learn with training wheels can learn without them.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Scooter
  • Training bike
  • Bike
Step 1
Have your child wear knee and elbow pads and a helmet. Sheldon Brown of the Harris Cyclery in Massachusetts recommends having your child wear full safety gear when they first ride a tricycle to get it ingrained as a lifelong habit. Whether you choose to start that early or not, at least have your kid wear the gear when he begins learning to ride.
Step 2
Buy your kid a scooter and encourage him to use it on the sidewalk or in the driveway. If he is reluctant, tell him you will teach him to ride once he gets good at balancing and steering on the scooter.
Step 3
Get an undersized training bike for your child. With the seat low, she should be able to plant her feet flat with a slight bend in her knees. If you can, use a bike from a younger sibling or borrow one from a friend. Your kid will not be using her training bike for long.
Step 4
Have the child sit on the bike with his feet on the ground in an empty parking lot or at the top of a grassy, gradual hill. Instruct him to forget the pedals and propel himself by pushing with his feet. Have him practice until he can coast with his feet off the ground for the most part. Run alongside him to give him confidence the first two or three times.
Step 5
Instruct the child in how to brake. Most children's bikes have coaster brakes, which are operated by pedaling backwards.
Step 6
Have the child practice braking and coasting. If you are on a hill, have her push off with her feet on the pedals and brake when she wants to stop. If you are in a parking lot, give your kid a big push with her feet on the pedals and have her brake when she is ready.
Step 7
Have your child pedal. Show him to start with one foot on a pedal angled up and forward and the other on the ground. Have him push off and pedal downhill or across the parking lot, then brake when he wants to.
Step 8
Have your child practice riding and turning in a wide open space, such as a field or empty parking lot. With practice, she will learn to control the bike. When she does, buy her an appropriately sized bike to ride.

Tips & Warnings

Don't pressure your child to learn to ride. Let him move up to a bike when he feels comfortable.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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