An important milestone in many children’s lives is learning to ride a bike. A rite of passage for many pre-teens, this activity may be challenging but can also bring a sense of pride in your child. You will want to keep in mind a few things while you begin this journey. If you need an air conditioning contractor go here. Some advice and tips are listed below to help keep your child safe and successful on their bike riding adventure.
Slow and Steady
An important note about teaching your child to ride a bike is making sure they learn to ride a bike at their own pace. If parents or adults push a child to learn to ride a bike, they may become frustrated and not want to continue to try. They are still figuring out balance, steering, braking and it can be overwhelming for some. Have patience and remember that your child is working hard because they want to learn to ride the bike too.
Know your Bike Before You Ride
Before your child even sits on the bicycle, you will want to make sure they know their bike well so they can focus on balancing instead of figuring out how to stop mid-crash. Make sure they know how to pedal, how to stop, and how to turn. You may also want to check to make sure the bicycle is safe to ride in general. Check the tire pressure, make sure the bike is clean, and check your bike over for a few other precautions to feel comfortable letting your child ride. Here is a bicycle maintenance chart that can help you in that.
The bike should also be the right size for your child. Make sure they can comfortably sit, and their legs can reach the pedals. For their first bike, it is recommended that you go with something simple that doesn’t have gears to shift or extras that would only confuse them.
Be Safe and Prepare
Protection is important to stay safe throughout your entire bike ride. Wearing a helmet protects your head if you ride over an uneven surface and fall off your bike. The helmet should fit snugly to their head. You will also want your child to wear bright colors to make sure drivers see them if they are biking by the street. Having reflectors and lights on your bike will also make you more visible if you choose to safely bike at night. While not necessary, elbow pads and knee pads may be useful to protect from the scrapes that may occur.
When starting out, you will also want to make sure you are in an open area. This way, there are less objects for your child to avoid while they steer. Don’t start close to the street either, because if your child crashes or forgets how to stop the bike, you do not want them going into traffic.
It is completely up to you and your child to determine if training wheels are the way to start. Many choose training wheels so your child can get used to the feel of sitting, steering, and braking on a bike before they need to learn to balance on a bike. Training wheels shouldn’t be left on for too long; as soon as the child feels comfortable on the bike, try taking the training wheels off.
Encourage Your Child – Build Confidence
There may be many falls until they get a hang of everything but you need to be there to continue to encourage them. Your child wants to learn, but this is, most likely, the first time they are in a moving vehicle that they control. They may be scared they will fall and hurt themselves or that they will crash. Encouraging them will help them get up and try again each time they fall.
When they fall, don’t make a big fuss about it. Let them know it is a normal part of the learning process and it happens to everyone.
Know Road Rules
Once your child becomes more confident on riding their bike alone, you will want to make sure they know they need to obey signs and communicate with drivers to stay safe. They will need to ride with, not again, traffic and make sure to stop at stop signs. If they are crossing the street, make sure all the drivers in close proximity see them and know they are going to cross. There are also certain road signals they can make to let other cars know if they are turning or stopping, so everyone is aware of their movement.
Learning to ride a bike can be difficult for children, so remember to emphasize the fact that it’s fun. Let your child try, fall, get back up and maybe they decide they don’t want to learn that day. Make sure bicycling is seen as a fun activity. Maybe even getting your bike out to show them what to do and make it a group activity rather than them trying alone. Having fun is key to keep biking an exciting activity for your children.
About the author: John T Lyons grew up riding the canyons of San Diego on his single speed Huffy. After a stint working for Shelby American in automotive and then in the Aerospace industry, JT started Moment Bicycles. He developed a “better way to buy a bike” using his engineering problem-solving skills. Learn more at http://momentbicycles.com