“The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to how to ride a bicycle.
A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom.
The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard.”
Learning how to ride a bicycle was shunned by Guy, my 7-year-old son, the youngest of my bunch. We tried a lot of tricks to encourage or inspire him to try it out.
At one point we promised to buy him a new bicycle. We also encouraged him so that we could all go on a bicycle trip. We even went as low as trying to bribe him by buying him what he wanted the most – the biggest LEGO we could find.
When we got him to try learning how to ride a bike, we struggled with the many ways one could go about doing it. Here are a few different ways that I discovered:
Using Training Wheels[ back to main manu ]
First, we tried bicycle training wheels. These are two small wheels that are attached to either side of the rear wheel. Learning how to ride a bicycle with this method is efficient because it will, with practice, help the child maintain proper posture and give him confidence.
Because of the support the training wheels give, the child is not afraid to increase his speed when he feels like it. When confidence and posture become second nature, the bicycle training wheels can be removed.
The Traditional Approach[ back to main manu ]
Did you know...?
Did you know that learning to ride a bicycle teaches children important life lessons?
Behavioral psychologists have found that while learning to cycle, children become more aware of the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. They also begin to learn self-reliance. If you want to inculcate these values in your child from a young age, teach him to cycle.
Next step - we tried holding on-to the saddle. While he pedaled the bicycle, we would run beside him. This technique was adopted by my dad as he taught me how to ride a bike.
I can tell you that it hurt quite a few times. Since this may take a few tries, it might be good to try this on soft ground like grass.
Instructing and guiding your child is important. He should know what to expect and how to handle himself. My dad's instruction to me was to just keep pedaling and not to look at him. I eventually learned how to ride a bicycle after a few unfortunate crashes.
Here are two accessories that can help you teach your child how to ride a bike:
Walking the Bike
The next technique that we tried was to have him walk the bike. The way to go about this was to remove the pedals. This would give him the opportunity to push off the ground with his feet and to have confidence that if he did lose his balance, he could just plant his feet on the ground.
The more speed he put into pushing off his bicycle, the farther he went without needing to walk his bicycle. This forced him to maintain balance and posture.
Last Word On How To Ride a Bicycle
I have to admit: teaching my son how to ride a bicycle day in and day out didn't help a lot. With all these techniques, this task became easy only when my son was prepared.. I was surprised when, after about a year of trying, he himself came up and asked me to teach him how to ride a bike. After a few hours - two hours to be exact:
The message this sent to me was clear: You have to want to learn how to ride a bicycle. This is the only time the techniques that I have shared with you will work. Once you learn how to ride a bicycle, it will be the same as learning how to speak. Once you have learned, you will never forget how, but there will always be room for improvement.