Learning how to ride a bike without training wheels can be a difficult and painful experience…if you are the teacher! Your kids need to learn how to ride a bicycle because it is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise. We have the easiest way to teach your kids to ride their first bike and some recommendations for that new bike, a training bike.
Kids Riding Bikes
It is so fun to see kids out on bike rides with friends and family. Zooming down hills is an absolute blast. I’ll never forget the first time my oldest child went down a huge hill that she’d previously been so scared of riding on. As she coasted down the hill, she yelled, “I’m doing it! I LOVE THIS.”
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Learning to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels
So learning to bike ride without training wheels?
It can totally be a confidence booster. But the process of learning to ride without help can be — shall we say — tricky.
The process can be stressful for both parents and kids. But all these tips can help your kiddo get on their bike, balance, and take off in no time!
Is Your Child Developmentally Ready for Riding a Bike?
The key to teaching your kids to bike ride without training wheels as fast as possible though? They absolutely 100% need to be ready. That means they also need to want to ride without training wheels.
1. Is Your Child Mentally Ready to Ride Bike?
Similar to potty training, training a kid to ride a bike is a whole lot easier when the child is ready and willing.
2. What Age is Best for a Child to Learn to Ride Bike
When they’re ready really depends on their personality, rather than on their age. After all, the average age for a child learning to ride without training wheels is anywhere between 3 and 8. That’s a huge age range! If you use the balance method like described below, I have had luck teaching kids as young as 2 years old.
3. Rules of the Road & Following Directions for Bike Riders
One thing you may have overlooked when checking to see if your child is ready to hit the local bike path is whether they are able to follow directions quickly for their own safety and learn the rules of the road. Do they recognize and abide by stop signs? Do they know the difference between a green and red light? Can they yield to other motor vehicles? Do you live in an area with bike lanes or will they be on sidewalks? Streets? Bike paths? This is not only a good time to discuss traffic laws, but it is essential they understand road hazards.
Teach the Balance Method with a Training Bike
So if you’ve tried teaching your kiddo and they’re just not getting it put the bike away, take a break, and try a balance bike instead, if you haven’t already.
After all, balancing is one of the hardest skills to master. And it is really hard for kids to learn both balance, pedaling and steering all at once. But once your kid balances like a pro, they’ll be ready to ride a bike without training wheels… and I bet you they’ll then learn how to ride in 45 minutes or less!
Top Tips for Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels
1. Use as small of a bike as possible
If the kids are lower to the ground, they’ll have more confidence in riding without training wheels. This will also allow them to have more control over the bike too. I love starting with a balance bike (see our recommendations below for the best training bikes) because it starts with no pedals and you can either add them later or in their next bike.
2. Teach them how to use the pedals
Especially if you started with a balance bike, or by removing the pedals from the bike, teach them how to move forward using the pedals. One of the fastest ways to do this is by starting the right pedal off in the “2 pm” position. This allows your child to learn how to press down on the pedal, and, in turn, rotate the pedals.
3. Start off on a gentle hill
While some suggest starting on grass, grass can actually make it harder to control the bike. Rather, start on an open, flat surface; the flatness helps especially for nervous kiddos, who — like my daughter — may be afraid of hitting a bump. Even better if it’s a slight hill so your kiddo can get a bit of natural momentum.
4. Teach them to turn
Next, teach them how to use the handlebars to navigate. Again, this is all about practice. Chances are they’ve been doing it with their bike before, but it feels different once the training wheels are off. But the more they do it, the more they’ll get the hang of it.
5. Most importantly: reassure them that you’re right there
Let your child know you’ll be with them as they get going. You can also start by guiding them by holding them under the arm pits. This still allows them to retain control both over the pedals as well as steering, but you can help stabilize them as they grow more comfortable.
6. Be Sure YOU Let Go!
Before you know it they’ll tell you to “let go.” You’ll ask them if they’re sure, and they’ll say yes. Then, off they’ll go, reaching yet another milestone.
7. Falling is Part of the Process
They may fall — actually that’s pretty much a guarantee at some point — but what’s important is getting back up and trying again.
Favorite Training Bikes for Kids
The reason why I love training bikes or balance bikes is because I have trained kids using them and NOT using them and kids who rode balance bikes learn within a minute or two to ride with pedals vs. those who are learning all that coordination at once is longer and more intense. Here are some of our favorite training bikes:
- The GOMO Balance bike is a toddler training bike for 18 months, 2, 3, 4 and 5 year olds. It is a push bike with no pedals but has a scooter bicycle with footrest.
- While not a balance bike, I had one like this for my second child and really liked it. The Schwinn Grit and Petunia Steerable Kids Bike with 12 inch training wheels and parent handle works great for pushing your toddler or helping with the training once they are pedaling.
- The Baby Toddler Balance Bike is a simple toddler training bike labeled for 18 months, 2 and 3 year olds. It is a kids no pedal beginner push bike for boys and girls that is lightweight bicycle perfect for outdoors or indoors (if you have a large indoor space).
- I love the Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike for ages 18 months to 5 years. It is simple, sleek and works well.
- Another one you may want to investigate is the Little Tikes My First Balance to Pedal Training bike for kids ages 2-5 years old. It is 12 inch wheels balance bike that helps kids learn to ride bikes faster.
Related: Check out more about balance bikes for kids from Kids Activities Blog
Now go forth and ride!
More OutDoor Play & bike Fun from Kids Activities Blog
How did your kids learn to ride a bike? Did they use a training bike or balance bike?