Balance bikes are the easiest way to teach a child to learn to ride. They are best used as a bike so the child can use them as a means of getting themselves around rather than solely a training aid. Ideally they would be used from 2/3 years old alongside other ride on toys and or scooters. Balanceability uses balance bikes with brakes.
They often have brakes which makes them a safe and convenient means of transport if you have a younger sibling in a pushchair or pram. A balance bike can make family walks more fun and trips to the park a gateway to new adventures.
If you missed this opportunity don’t worry we are here to help but if you would like to give it a go by yourself then read on. We have balance bikes to fit all ages.
Teach to push
If your child is too big for your balance bike then no problem I would take the pedals off the bike which is a simple job. Keep their saddle low at this point.
The first thing is to get your child confident on the bike with their feet flat on the floor. That way they will learn to keep their bike upright when it is moving. One of the real problems with stabilisers is they encourage a child to lean on to them so already they are missing this opportunity to control their bike.
Teach to glide
Encourage them to move their feet with progressively larger steps as they gain in confidence. This way they will eventually be confident to glide on their bike.
When they can glide confidently then practice steering. Get them gliding around and moving around objects and pathways etc. We use cones and traffic signs and the progressive course builds on the skills required to learn to ride. Encourage the use of the brake(s) to slow down as well as to stop. It will be obvious when they are ready for the next stage and they will be excited and willing to get their pedals back on. Don’t rush this stage it may not happen in a 30-minute session! Each of our sessions are around 45 minutes to build in time for warm up balance activity fun and bike fitting. It may be a good time to raise their saddle at this stage.
Now for the pedals
Keep the saddle at the same height unless it is uncomfortable to have a foot on the pedal – this is common on the BMX type bikes. Raising the saddle too much at this point will knock the child’s new found bike confidence so keep it low.
The push off
Practice pushing forwards with one foot on the pedal (with enough room to push down hard to gain momentum) and one on the floor. Leave it at this point and encourage the repetition of this pushing forwards and gliding forwards. When ready a strong push and glide forwards should be followed by braking. Once a child is confident that they can start, glide and stop the next step will be easier.
To support your child please don’t be tempted to hold the handlebars or the bike saddle. After all the previous balance and gliding practice this will make them feel vulnerable again. A hand placed on the top of the back is all that is needed. A push will help the movement and will allow the child to catch the second pedal. A harder push will keep the bike upright and moving forwards enough for the child to continue pedalling and their smile will say it all.