How to Teach a Child to Ride a Two Wheel Bike

How to Teach a Child to Ride a Two Wheel Bike
Learning to ride a bike without training wheels is a rite of passage for many kids. For parents, the joy of watching their kids pedal on their own is often proceeded by hours of precariously chasing behind their child's bike, unsure of when to let go of the seat. Fortunately, there's a way for kids to learn to ride that doesn't require the running and push-off by parents. Some kids will learns these techniques quickly. Others may need several sessions, but with encouragement and patience, your child can learn to ride.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Tuned and properly sized bike
  • Kid's helmet
  • Open paved area
Step 1
Choose a safe location to practice. The best place to learn to ride a bike is a level paved area that's free of both car and foot traffic. An empty outdoor basketball court or a long driveway works well. Although a lawn may be safer to fall on, stay away from grassy areas. Grass and dirt are much harder to pedal on, and the uneven surface makes it more difficult to balance.
Step 2
Set the bike up. If there are training wheels on the bike, remove them. Set the seat low enough so your child can put her feet on the ground while seated. Make sure the tries are inflated to the PSI marked on the tire's sidewall. If the tires are low, it'll be to hard to pedal and stay balanced on the bike.
Step 3
Teach your child to scoot before she tries to pedal. To scoot, she'll sit on the saddle and push off the ground with her feet, allowing the bike to coast. This drill will teach balance and build the confidence she needs to know she can move forward without needing to put her feet down. Make it a game to see how far your child can scoot without touching the ground.
Step 4
Have your child try scooting while she leaves one foot on a pedal. This will look similar to scooting on a scooter, but she'll stay seated on the saddle. This sets her up for pedaling as she gains awareness of where her pedals are without looking at them. Make the game more challenging and add obstacles to steer around while she continues to scoot.
Step 5
Add pedaling. To take off pedaling, have your child put one foot on a pedal with the crank arm positioned parallel to the ground. This will give her enough momentum when she pushes down for her first pedal stroke. Have her scoot around with one foot in this position and when she's ready, she'll push down with the foot that's already on the pedal and add her second foot that was doing the scooting. If she's nervous, remind her that she'll be balancing and steering just like she did in the previous exercises. She's already done the hard work.

Tips & Warnings

Keep things fun and positive. If your child feels nervous, encourage her, but know when to call it a day. If your child's first introduction to cycling is negative, she may be reluctant to ride in the future.

Article Written By Kathrine Cole

Kathrine Cole is a professional outdoor educator. She teaches rock climbing, backpacking, cycling, and bike maintenance classes. She is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School, a Wilderness First Responder, and a Leave No Trace Trainer.

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