Teaching your child how to ride a bike is one of those moments that parents and children remember for years to come.
Although at the time it can be frustrating for both you and your child as they try to get to grips with cycling independently, riding a bike is a skill that’s with them for the rest of their lives and offers a whole new aspect to holidays and family adventures.
How to teach a child to ride a bike
If you’re at that stage where your child is ready to learn how to cycle on their own without stabilisers, follow these tips for teaching your child how to ride a bike safely.
1. Put safety first
The first step to teaching your child how to ride a bike is to teach them about the importance of road safety. Not only is it vital to teach them about following the rules of the road for cyclists, you should also make sure they are wearing the correct safety gear to protect them in case they fall or have an accident.
A helmet that is new rather than a hand-me-down, and one that fits them properly, is a must but there are also some other pieces of safety gear they could wear for added protection. Gloves, elbow and kneepads can protect them from cuts and grazes if they were to fall on their hands, elbows or knees. Wearing hi-vis or bright clothes will help them to be seen by other road users in poor visibility. While these items may not feel ‘cool’ to your child, they are important none-the-less.
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2. Prepare their bike
Once they are kitted out with the right equipment, it’s time to get the bike ready for them to ride. Check both tyres to make sure they’re fully inflated – deflated tyres can make it even more difficult for your child to move and find their balance. Make sure their saddle is adjusted to the correct height, giving them enough room to pedal, and check that the brakes are in good condition.
3. Choose an ideal area
Once you have prepared your child and their bike for the road, choose a quiet open and lengthy area to teach them how to cycle. Find a park or a quiet stretch of pavement; it almost certainly needs to be pavement of some kind rather than grass as that can be tricky to steer on. Empty car parks or school playgrounds are ideal places for practice.
4. Teach them the basics
Start by teaching your child how to ride a bike by getting them to practice pedalling and braking. Hold on to their back, their shoulders or even (lightly!) their neck to help them find their balance. Once they are steady, get them to start pedalling – only let go (for short distances) once they have mastered balancing on two wheels – having spent time on one of the two-wheel push along bikes with no pedals can help to get them started. If they fall over, make sure they aren’t hurt and encourage them to try again.
It’s important to teach them how to brake too. Get them to press gently on the brake until they can use it without wobbling. Don’t leave their side until they are confident that they can ride on their own.
What are your top tips for teaching children to ride a bicycle without stabilisers successfully and safely?
Thompsons Solicitors is a leading UK personal injury law firm with a wealth of expertise in winning cycling accident claims. Not only do our lawyers support people who have been injured on the roads, we also campaign to increase the awareness of road safety through our Stay Road Safe campaign.