Teaching cycling to kids

By on November 13, 2013

Be grateful for the invention of this two-wheel vehicle.  Think of its many useful qualities.  It takes you where you want to go in half less the time.   Not only is cycling a great stress buster, it’s also a great energy booster.  As you will observe, most regular bicycle riders have toned muscles and enhanced metabolism from frequent pedaling .  If taught to kids early, cycling can be a wonderful way to move out and about the city.  It’s one thing to be able to ride,  it is another to teach it right.  Here’s a basic guide on how to teach it to kids.

Starting with the balance
1.  Look for a wide training area such as Yoyogi Park or Komazawa Park in Setagaya.
2.  Choose a bike with an adjustable seat that can be lowered and have both feet flat on the ground.  Remove training wheels and pedals.  Most children can go through the training without removing the pedals.
3.  Get your kid to wear a helmet, long pants and preferably shoes without shoelace.
4.  Hold the bike while the kid gets on.  Have him put both feet on the ground.
5.  Ask him to slightly lift the feet off the ground and scoot along.   This will allow the kid to understand and feel the balance.
6.  Resist holding the bike.  If he gets scared, he can put his feet down.  He might want you to stay close to him in the beginning to catch him when he falls but don’t hold the bike.  The most important thing is to get the feel for balancing.
7.  Repeat coasting until he feels comfortable without putting the feet down to stop.

8.   When he has done well with step 7, reattach the pedals if they were removed.
Let him start pedaling as he rolls.
9.   Repeat coasting and pedaling until the kid feels okay with moving up the hill.
10.  Adjust the bike seat  or saddle gradually.   Ask him from time to time,  to apply brake when he least expects it,  as part of the exercise.
11.   Start training the kid to ride in a straight line by practicing in a flat field or a vacant parking lot.   Look straight ahead, keeping the elbows and knees loose and pedal smooth circles.  When a beginner turns his or her head, their arms and shoulders follow making the bike to swerve.
12.   Teach turning.  It is a combined leaning and little steering with the inside pedal up  while looking through the turn.

What NOT to do when teaching kids

1.   Don’t make learning day the first day on a new bike. You eliminate some of the
avalanche of new experiences and emotion, if you use a bike that they are familiar with
(one they have had with training wheels or an older siblings), or one borrow from a
friend. The new bike can be a reward for mastering two wheels. If you need to use a
new bike put training wheels on it and let them get used to it for a couple weeks before
before trying two wheels.

2.   Don’t use the one-training-wheel method. It doesn’t teach balance and is not uniformly

3.   If you use the hold-the-back-of-the-seat (better) or run-beside-the-bike method, don’t
trick your child by claiming you’re holding on when you are not. If the child crashes, you
erode trust, which erodes confidence. Before you begin a run, tell your child you plan to
let go when he or she looks stable. When they are stable, tell them again that you are
going to let go BEFORE you do. Make sure they stay stable before you release and then
stick with them until they have substantially mastered the skill.

4.  Don’t expect that the learning process will be crash-free — though the one describe above
likely will be. Be ready to comfort, coerce, cheerlead and bandage — and possibly to wait
for another day.

Sometimes called scoot bikes, run bikes or push bikes, Strider balance helps children 18 months and above in getting the feel of balancing on two wheels.

Strider brand  9,000 yen
www. rakuten.co.jp






About Tim Scott