How Most People Learn to Ride a Bicycle
The old way to teach your child to ride a bike by pushing them down the sidewalk is difficult and dangerous.
There are a couple of problems with this method.
Your child becomes dependent upon you holding them up.
When you let go they usually look back to see if you are holding them up and fall down.
The safety issue is if they turn sharp while you are running with them they can fall in front of you. When you fall on top of them it hurts both of you. It is really hard to run while you are leaning down. Do not run behind the bike pushing your child.
(This is a picture from above Lincoln Hills in Missoula looking at East Missoula.)
The Easy Safe Way to Teach your Child to Ride a Bike
Start by finding a very gently sloping unused road or driveway. Take the pedals and training wheels off the bike. Remember the left hand pedal will be threaded backwards.
Safety Gear Required
Have your child wear long pants, shoes (not sandals or flip flops), a helmet and gloves. If they have some soccer knee pads that are not too bulky, all the better. Put the seat height so your child can easily touch the ground on both sides of the bike. Now let your child go up and down the gentle slope by using their bike as a hobby horse. They will quickly get the feeling of gliding with their bike.
Coasting down the Slope
Get them to go down the slope holding their feet a little ways off the ground. Do the same with your bike so they can see what to do. You can leave your pedals on if you put your seat down a little. When they get to where they can hold their feet up and turn the bike they have conquered a two wheeler. Play at this for a while and get them turning both left and right. Put some little rocks or mark with chalk on the road and use it as a slalom coarse. Add pedals and have them start by going downhill and pushing with their feet. Once they are moving, have them start pedaling and they have it mastered.
Safely Teach your child to ride without training wheels.
Your back will not be sore, you will not have concrete burns on your hands and knees from falling over your child’s bike. This is easy and it works great.
The Bicycle Hangar has been serving the riders of Missoula and the surrounding area since 1980. For the latest in Mountain bikes, Road bikes and Comfort bikes.
This article written by Rick Kern of Missoula Bicycle Hangar 1801 Brooks, Missoula, Mt 59801