Steps & Tips for Teaching Bicycling to Your Kids

Steps to teaching your child to cycle

Encourage your child to ride their bike.

  • This stage is to encourage and show them the basics about bicycling. Build your child's confidence with this first step, to give them courage to start with the learning process. This can be done by taking your bike as an example and set them at easy before they climb on their own bicycle. When your child gets on the bike, tell them not to put their feet on the ground and show them how to pedal.

Equip your child with proper safety gear.

  • Equip your child with the right helmet, knee and elbow guards. Teach them to wear it whenever they go out for a ride.

Remove the pedals and have the child "scoot" around.

  • Have your child begin by scooting on the modified bike so that they can get the feel of balancing it. This is a fairly intuitive process for many kids, and it's most easily done on a flat, paved surface.

Hold the bike upright while they become comfortable with being seated on the bike.

  • The first two-wheeled bike ride will be a bit intimidating to your child, so speak words of encouragement along the process.

Have the child put their feet onto the pedals and begin pedaling slowly.

  • Continue to hold the bike upright. You may wish to do this and the next few steps for the first time on grass to ensure a soft landing for the inevitable first fall.

Push gently.

  • Help them increase speed enough that the bike could remain upright without support. Don't let go yet.

Ask the child if they are comfortable and feeling safe.

  • Reassure them that they are doing fine. Tell them you are going to let go of the bike and they'll keep going on their own.

Let go of the bike gradually, but walk or run alongside the bike so your child knows you are still there.

  • Continue to offer encouragement and support, but don't try to correct them.

Ride with them or walk alongside for the first several times they go out on their bike.

  • There are going to be many, many falls, and your child may want your help. Most importantly, children should be able to have fun and be encouraged to enjoy the process of learning their lifelong skills.

Tips to keep in mind:

  • To prevent falls, advise your child to turn in the direction of their fall (i.e. if they are falling on their left side, then turn handle bars to the left. If they are falling to the right, turn handle bars to the right. This will automatically cause them to correct themselves.
  • Don't force your child to ride a bike if they don't want to. If they aren't interested, they won't learn no matter how much you force them to try.
  • It may take several days or weeks before your child can ride their bike alone. Don't rush them, just offer support at whatever speed they are most comfortable learning at.
  • Alternatively, depending on the age of your child, buy a pre-bike. This is a light weight two wheeler but without the complication of pedals etc. The child learns to balance, scoot and then glide along, potentially from a very young age. When you child is ready you can then introduce a bike with pedals.
  • Another good method is to remove the pedals from the bike (remember the left pedal is reverse threaded), and have the child ride like that. They will use their feet to propel themselves down the road, and eventually take their feet off the road when they are ready to balance. Then replace the pedals and let them ride normally.
  • Teach your kids in a park, they will not fall as hard as they would have on a normal road.
  • Look at where they are going instead of looking at the bike.