Tips to teach your kids to cycle
Soaking in the sunshine and breathing fresh air while cycling in the countryside has its own mesmerizing charm.
Cycling is not only a sport or a physical activity; it offers an innate sense of freedom and self-confidence.
Teaching your kids how to cycle boosts their self-esteem, instills a sense of accomplishment and develops their personality.
With only a bike and a helmet, you are all set to teach cycling. It does not require intensive coaching and can be learned on almost any outdoor terrain.
Let’s learn some useful tips to get your kids to cycle.
11 Tips to get your kids to cycle
Find out if your kid is ready to ride cycle
The first and foremost thing is to consider your kid’s readiness for cycling. There is no defined universal age of learning to cycle.
It depends on your kid’s physical and mental growth. If your kid is comfortable with the idea of cycling and shows enough coordination ability, he seems ready.
Ensure that your child has enough physical strength to pedal a cycle or make them learn to balance and coast by pushing the cycle forward with their feet.
If your kids are ready but hesitant to learn how to ride a cycle, inspire them to face their fears upfront and develop their interest in cycling without forcing them.
Get a suitable cycle for your child
Get a suitable cycle for your child that fits him perfectly. It is an important consideration as any apparent discomfort with the bike, may turn off their interest in cycling.
Your child should be able to stand over the top tube of the cycle with both feet comfortably resting on the ground.
Your child should be able to push the cycle forward with his feet while sitting on the bike’s seat.
Ensure that your child can comfortably reach the handlebars and hand brakes without leaning too much forward while sitting on the bike seat.
Get protective gears for your child
To ensure the safety of your child while cycling, get him a proper helmet. Teach him the habit of wearing a bike helmet every time he/she rides a cycle.
Purchase a strong bike helmet that provides sufficient protection against any injury, and fits perfectly on your child’s head.
Teach your child a proper way of wearing a helmet. It should sit symmetrically on your child’s head, covering both the left and right parts of the head equally.
For keeping the helmet fixed in its position, use side straps so that they make a V shape. Moreover, tie the buckle of the chin strap.
Ensure the helmet feels comfortable but not loose enough to move back and forth on the head.
To ensure comprehensive protection, you may also purchase fitting gloves, knee pads, shin, and elbow guards.
Make adjustments to the bike for lessons
Make some adjustments to the bike to keep it ready for early learning lessons. In the beginning, you should teach balancing on two wheels followed by pedaling later on.
Remove the training wheels on the bike as they don’t assist in learning balance. Next, remove the pedals as you would teach pedaling later.
Lower the seat to adjust its height so that your kid can sit comfortably on the seat while keeping knees slightly bent, and feet on the ground.
Inflate the bike tires to the correct pressure as it will allow the bikes to roll easily and your child finds it easy to balance.
Find a proper place to teach bike riding
Once you are ready with the bike, the next step is to locate a proper open and large space that is free of traffic.
An empty football ground, cricket ground, tennis court, or basketball court is an ideal place to practice learning bike riding.
Don’t try to teach bike riding in narrow lanes, short driveways, and crowded areas as it would frighten your kids about falling or hitting someone.
Learning to ride without pedals
In the initial stages, you must teach your kids to develop balancing the bike. Encourage your kid to get on and off a bike a couple of times on his own.
Make your child sit on the pedal-less bike, ask him to firmly hold the handlebars, and push forward the bike using his feet.
Make him cover the practice area and return, while seated on the bike. Repeat it for several rounds in a day’s session.
When your child is engaged in riding on a pedal-less bike, encourage him to keep his head held high and look forward rather than down at their feet.
Keep talking to him so that he maintains a straight posture looking at the path ahead.
Practice scooting, gliding, steering and turning without pedals
Encourage your kid to practice gliding with the cycle.
Make him sit on the cycle; ask him to move forward by applying backward force on the ground using his feet. As the cycle moves forward, ask him to try and lift the feet off the ground and stretch them in the air.
Ask him to maintain the feet off the ground and cover as much as distance as possible.
Teach him to outstretch his legs while gliding to maintain balance and increase the distance covered with feet off the ground.
Once your kid finds it easy to scoot and glide, ask him to try steering and turning while gliding. Begin with long, easy and looping turns and gradually shorten them later.
Attach the pedals and practice pedal awareness
Once the child is comfortable with steering and turning the bike while looking ahead, the next steps are to learn to ride with pedals on.
Assemble the pedals back to their place on the bike. However, keep the seat in a lower position so that your child can still rest his feet on the ground when getting off-balance with his feet on pedals.
Make your child sit on the bike seat, ask him to pick up his feet, and place them on the pedals.
Hold the handlebars tightly while you stand in front of the bike and your child practices picking up his feet, putting them on pedals, and looking ahead with a straight head.
Practice applying brakes for slowing down and stopping
Before you teach your kid to ride a bike with pedals, make him practice applying brakes for slowing down and stopping the bike whenever needed.
Make him feel the amount of force required to apply brakes for the desired reduction in the bike speed.
Ask your kid to walk alongside the bike with his hands on handlebars and few fingers on handbrakes.
Ask him to practice applying handbrakes for slowing down or stopping the bike while walking along.
Riding with pedals from a stopped position
This is a crucial stage when your child uses pedals to ride the bike. Ensure that your child is relaxed and sitting in a balanced position on the bike.
Ask your child to keep one foot flat on the ground and place the other foot on a pedal raised slightly above the other.
Now encourage him to press down hard on the front pedal for moving the bike forward, lift the foot placed on the ground and try finding the second pedal with it.
Another way is to keep one foot on the pedal in the lower position and use the other foot to scoot for generating the speed and then try placing the other foot on the second pedal.
Steering and turning the bike while pedaling
Once your kid has developed proficiency in cycling with pedals, ask him to practice steering and turning.
Ask him to practice turning with large and wide circles. Then practice forming a big 8 figure while riding a bike with pedals in an open ground.
Gradually shift from wide turns to smaller turns.
Teaching your kids how to ride a bike requires you to be patient and relaxed during the riding lessons.
Give ample time to your kids to allow them to develop the required balance and coordination for achieving mastery at bike riding.
Also, don’t forget to include the various fun activities to make the entire learning exercise a joyful one for you and your kids.