The Art of Bicycle Riding

Kylie Reed, Reporter

Learning how to ride a bike is a right of passage and a lifelong skill. Many people still recall the feeling of freedom and accomplishment when they coasted on two wheels for the first time. There is no right or perfect age to learn how to ride a bike. The timing will depend on the child’s physical and mental development, comfort level, and coordination. If your kids don’t have the strength to pedal a bike,  you can either wait until they’re bigger, or introduce them to balance bikes. Balance bikes let them get a feel for coasting and balancing by pushing the bike along with their feet. Even very small children can get started this way. 

Before teaching kids how to ride a bike, there are a few general tips that should be considered. First of all, the children being taught need to be in an area with flat land, and it needs to be safe with little to no traffic. Also, reinforce success to help the child build confidence, be patient, and don’t try to force the process. Your child may not start pedaling right away, but with continued practice they will get it. Then, just pay attention to signs that you should stop and rest, and remember that all children learn differently and may respond to some methods better than others. Above all, keep it fun. 

There are also tips for getting kids the proper helmet fit they need. First, the helmet should sit level across the middle of the child’s forehead, no more than one inch above the eyebrows. If the helmet sits high on the forehead or moves more than one inch when you push the helmet from side to side or front to back, adjust the fit or try a different size. Then adjust the side straps so that they form a “V” as the straps rest under each ear and buckle the chin strap, making sure it’s snug. A “snug fit” only allows one or two fingers to slip between the strap and chin. The helmet should not rock back and forth on the head.

There are also other things that should be considered before turning the kids loose like removing the training wheels. Also, remove the pedals and lower the seat to the fit of the child who will be riding the bike. Then, the bike will roll more smoothly and the child will have an easier time coasting when the tires are inflated to the correct pressure. 

And remember just make the experience a fun one for the kid or kids being taught.