Imagine waking up to a brand new bike covered in shiny paper. It’s a child’s dream to learn to ride without training wheels.
Cycling Australia says more than 1.9 million children ride a bike every week. It’s a super fun way to exercise and play outdoors. It’s even more fun when you can pedal without extra wheels. But how do you help your child to go from training wheels to no wheels?
Boost your child’s bike riding confidence and safety with two weeks of fun bike riding lessons. Our children’s bike riding instruction covers:
- The age for learning to ride a bike without training wheels
- Different methodologies for bike learning
- Two week bike riding lessons plan
- How to ride a bicycle safely
What’s a good age to ride a bike without training wheels?
Many children learn to ride without training wheels by the time they’re six. A critical decider is that your child wants to learn. Does your child ride a bike with training wheels?
Riding a bike isn’t like crawling or walking, so it’s not a natural step in your child’s development. Pre-schoolers between 3 to 5 years of age have developed enough balance and coordination to give it a try. So, if they want to learn, then they’re ready.
Wait until your child shows interest. Then, try not to overload them with too much information. Let them take the initiative to learn.
Every child’s development and bike learning is different. It’s important though to provide your child with new experiences and an atmosphere for learning. If your child wants to learn to ride without training wheels but they’re finding it hard, try a different method.
The pedals off method
Get a balance bike or take the pedals off the bike. Put the seat down low. Your child can push their bike around with their feet on the ground.
Practice on a flat surface first then on a gentle incline. When you notice your child lifting their feet off the ground to glide, they’re ready for the pedals to go back on.
The push off method
Try this bike learning method on a smooth surface. It can be tempting to try this method on the lawn, but it’s harder to pedal on grass. Position yourself behind the bike with your feet on either side of the rear wheel. Rather than hold the bike, support your child under the armpits.
When they pedal, stay behind them and gradually let go. Be ready to reach forward and give your child support if needed.
The 4 skills method
The 4 skills method breaks riding into four areas:
Some instructions teach breaking last. For safety, we recommend starting with breaking, especially if there is a handle break on the bike. While standing next to the bike, your child squeezes the handle break in and releases. Explain how the breaks work to slow the bike down.
Balancing requires a gentle grassy hill. Put the seat down low. Encourage your child to move down and up the slope with their feet. The grass acts as a natural break, so they don’t coast away.
When they’re more confident, move onto steering. Encourage your child to lift their feet up off the ground as they go down the hill. This will shift their focus to how the wheel feels and what they need to do to control that movement.
Now that your child can steer, pedaling begins with a trip down and back up the hill. You hold the bike from behind. On the first trip, the child rests their feet on the pedals. When they’re confident, your child begins pedaling.
As their confidence grows, you,can move yourself away and watch them ride without training wheels.
Two week bike riding lessons plan
There’s a lot to take in when learning to ride without training wheels. There’s balance, coordination, and limbs doing different things. You also need to be alert to assess risk. But when you’re a child, you want to jump on the bicycle and ride like the grown-ups.
Some children take to a bike straight away, while other kids feel overwhelmed. Our two-week lesson plan reduces your child’s stress and teaches them how to ride a bicycle. It’s geared toward growing their bike riding confidence, while letting your child set the pace.
Have some outdoor fun. Encourage your child to develop a healthy lifestyle. Place the bike outside with other equipment, like a ball or kite. Don’t forget to include the bike helmet. You may also want to add knee and shoulder protectors. Let your child choose the activity.
If your child picks the bike, give them a bike orientation.
- Adjust the seat, so both of their feet touch the ground
- Help them put the helmet on and other safety equipment
- Explain the importance of bike safety
- Get them to practice using the handle break
Reward their curiosity with a short bike ride where you have full control of the steering. Choose a quiet, safe place to ride. Place one hand on the bike’s steering wheel. The other one goes on the back of the seat.
Your child rests both feet on the pedals. If they want to use the pedals and steer, let them take over. Step behind and provide them with support beneath their armpits if required.
Be free with your encouragement during their bike riding lessons.
We recommend trying The Pedals Off Method next if your child hasn’t tried to ride without training wheels yet. This turns the bike into a balance bicycle. Position the seat low, allowing your child to push themselves around with their feet. They can also use their feet to slow down and stop.
This method gives your child control of the bike. Take them to a park where they can push the bike around and lift their feet off the ground to glide. When you see them gliding with confidence, they’re ready for the pedals to go back on. Give plenty of positive feedback.
For the next four days, we’re going to use The 4 Skills Method. Give your child a refresher on bike safety and breaking. Then move on to balancing, steering and pedaling. Break the different skills up and teach them to your child over four days instead of one. Take longer if needed.
If you’ve reached this step, then your child has learnt to ride without training wheels. You now support their riding from behind and can ease yourself away. But, there is one more bike riding lesson that you can teach your child, and that’s how to fall.
More than likely, your child will have an argument with the bitumen at some point. There are safety precautions which can reduce injury. One of them is learning how to fall. Teach them how to relax and use their shoulder and back to lessen the impact of falling sideways.
If the child’s bike is the correct height, they can also use their feet to avoid accidents.
How to ride a bicycle safely
- Choose a bike that’s a suitable height for your child
- Adjust the seat so they can put their feet on the ground
- Always wear the correct size bicycle helmet
- Use elbow and knee protectors
- Wear clothing that protects the body
- Protect your child’s feet in enclosed shoes like sneakers
- If riding near dusk or at night, put night reflectors and appropriate bike lights on the bike
- Bike riding lessons should include how to use hand signals for stopping and turning
- Instruct your child on how to use their bell to warn pedestrians they’re near
- Use a red bicycle high visibility safety flag if your child rides on the road
- Teach your child how to ride a bicycle safely with road rules for bikes
- Complete regular bike safety checks
With positive feedback and gradual learning, your child’s confidence and knowledge of bike riding will grow. It won’t be long before they ride without training wheels. Soon, they’ll have the courage and experience for family activities, like a 20km bike journey.
Give your child the love of learning at Petit
Book a tour today and see how our children love to learn and explore. At Petit Early Learning Journey, we tailor learning to each age group. We also let children develop at their own pace.
Ride your bike over and start a new journey with us. Book a tour!