It’s that time of year! Everywhere, in parks and playgrounds (and sometimes even on pavements), children are wobbling along on shiny new Christmas bicycles. Patience is key when it comes to cycling lessons, along with keeping calm and following their lead. Experts at Bobbin Bikes have put together some tips for parents to help kids learn to ride safely.
It sounds obvious, but make sure you have the right size bike for your child – it’s very hard to ride if the frame is the wrong size. Also, check out the safety equipment you need. A helmet is essential. It should be level, with a gap of around two fingers between the eyebrow and helmet. Straps and adjustments should be firm but not uncomfortable. Knee and elbow pads may be worth investing in for the early days – falling off is all part of learning to ride a bike.
Pick your location
Finding the right location for those early lessons is important for building confidence. A packed park where they may bump into friends is not a good idea. Instead try early lessons in the back garden or find a quiet spot where they can practise without distractions. Avoid learning on grass – tarmac is a much easier surface to learn to ride.
Balance is key in learning to ride a bike. Try removing the pedals to allow your little one to push themselves along with their feet. After a short distance, encourage them to lift their feet off the ground and use the brakes to stop.
Using the brakes
Show your child how to use the brakes and make sure they’re comfortable using them.
Adding the pedals
Add one pedal and then the other once your child has got the hang of balance and using the brakes. Walk with them holding on to the bike and as confidence grows, start to let go. Keep repeating this and you’ll quickly build confidence.
Every child learns differently – you may have one natural cyclist and another who will take more time. So be patient and don’t pressurise. Follow the lead of your kids. Remember, cycling is all about having fun.