Learning how to ride a bike is a childhood right of passage. Some kids take to it in an instant with little coaching or help and then others struggle with it. We fall in the struggling category. Peyton just learned how to ride a bike at the end of the summer. And she was doing pretty good before the snow hit. Now it’s spring time and I think she may have forgotten most of what she learned last year! So I’m going to share with you a few tips and tricks on how to get your kid riding their bikes without the training wheels.
Flat Grassy Area
Start scoping out places that have a nice paved trail that is flat and surrounded by grass. Trust me, you’ll thank me later. Drive around the neighborhoods, parks, and local walking paths. You’ll need a few blocks of a path to really get your kid moving. And the grass is there for those times they fall. It’s much softer falling in the grass than it is on a pavement.
Make sure your child feels comfortable on the bike and that the bike fits your kid. If the bike is too small they will constantly be hitting their knees on the handlebars and if the bike is too big they won’t be able to reach the ground and which will make learning nearly impossible. Your child will be so consumed with trying to reach the ground or balance that they will not be focusing on riding the bike.
Since Peyton had a huge growth spurt over the winter we ended up having to pick out a new bike for her. We ended up going with a 20 inch Schwinn Breeze Smart Start Bike.
The Schwinn Breeze Smart Start Bike has some pretty neat features. First, the seat can be adjusted without any tools. It’s a simple pressure switch that I can adjust up and down as Peyton feels is needed. Currently, Peyton likes her seat at the lowest setting so she can easily touch the ground.
One thing I really like is the steel frame. Peyton is not the most coordinated child and I think having a strong solid frame is going to help keep her safe while learning to ride her bike again this summer.
There are two options for breaks. Front and back operated on separate hand controls. These are going to be an adjustment for Peyton as her last bike didn’t have hand breaks.
The Smart Start Bike is made to fit a child’s body. With narrower pedal positions that match a child’s hips, it makes it easier for a child to pedal and keep their balance. It also helps kid give a stronger push or pedal so they can really get going! The handles are smaller because a child’s hand are smaller. This lets kids get a good grip and feel confident while riding. The whole bike is made with a child’s body size in mind to help make them feel comfortable and gain confidence.
Make Sure the Bike Tires are Properly Inflated
This one is important. Well, all these tips are important. If the bike tires are under filled your child will have a bumpy, uncomfortable ride. If the tires are filled properly they will experience a smoother ride that may feel more like gliding. It’ll make a big difference in helping build their confidence if those tires are filled correctly.
Give your child lots and lots of praise. Even if they only get the bike to stay upright for a few second that’s still a big accomplishment! With praise comes more confidence and with confidence comes a better bike rider!
This is not something you are going to be able to teach your child in a day. It may take several days, weeks or even months for your child to master riding a bike. Be prepared to run behind your child, holding on to the seat of the bike. If your child feels supported and safe they’ll learn better. They won’t be stressed. I also suggest bringing a first aid kit. More likely than not, you will experience some skinned knees, road burn on the hands and a few scraps and scratches as your child masters this new skill.
Picking out the right bike helmet is extremely important. Your child is going to fall during this experience and you want to protect their heads. I took Peyton to our local store and let her pick out a helmet she loved and that fit her head. She picked out a rainbow colored unicorn helmet, I’m not sure if I would’ve gone with that combo but it makes her happy. It fits her head and is going to protect her when she falls, the bottom line that’s what really matters to me. Plus now I can easily find her from a distance. She’s the only child with rainbow unicorn helmet with a horn!
These are just a few tips on helping your child learn how to ride a bike. Each kid learns differently and at a different pace. Just keep taking your child out and letting them try to ride and it’ll click. It’s just like learning to read. You practice and practice and then one day it all clicks and your child is reading all on their own.
Since May is national bike month, we’ll be sharing a few article on bike riding and Peyton’s experience with her new Schwinn Smart Start bike. Be sure to keep your eyes out for updates on Peyton’s progress. My goal is to have her cruising around the neighborhood by the end of the month so we can start taking mother-daughter bike rides!