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Deux enfants font du vélo

How to teach your child to ride a bike?

Many parents take advantage of the arrival of spring to teach their children to ride a bike, a time that can be both frustrating and exhilarating. It should be noted that cycling is a demanding sport for gross motor skills, requiring core stability and strength, motor planning, coordination, balance, body awareness and spatial orientation.

We will see:

At what age should I teach my child to ride a bike?

In general, a child can learn to ride a bicycle without a secondary wheel around the age of 5. As each child develops at their own pace, the age at which they master the bike may vary. Depending on his psychomotor abilities, this can be done between 4 and 8 years old.

At what age should small wheels be removed from a bicycle?

Once your child has figured out how to get around without feet, they're ready to try the bike. If your child starts riding a bike around 1 year old, they will usually be ready by 2.5 or 3 years old.

When to switch from balance bike to bike?

Once your child understands how to ride without their feet, they are ready to try the bike. In general, if your child started riding a bike around 1 year old, they will be ready between 2 and a half and 3 years old. 

Talk to your child and go try out some models.
Learning to ride a bike requires good balance and the ability to pedal at the same time. When all you have to do is pedal to learn, learning to ride a bike becomes easier.

However, if you want a smooth transition for your child, you can add training wheels to the bike.

We invite you to read our on how to choose the right balance bike

How to teach him to pedal?

Do a balance bike a few months before taking the plunge

Let your child practice balance on a balance bike or three-wheel tricycle.

Teach him to use the brakes

Your child must be able to brake quickly in an emergency without being abrupt and without risk of falling. To do this, you must teach your child to use the front and rear brakes simultaneously to avoid tipping over.

Balance, steering and braking control are achieved by practicing on a grassy slope. Gradually, the descent distance is increased, and braking and foot on the ground instructions are added for stopping. A few days later, the process is repeated to verify the learning.

Check that the bike is properly adjusted

The first thing is to make sure the child's bike is the right size. If necessary, consult a specialist at a bicycle dealer. As for the saddle, it must allow the child to put his foot on the ground, knee slightly bent, when the other foot is on top of the pedals.

Make sure your child is ready to take off their small wheels

Confirm that your child is ready to remove the side wheels (small wheels) from the bike. To do this, watch its speed. If you can let your child go alone fairly quickly to a safe place, that's a good sign. Watch the side wheels as your child turns a corner. Are they really supporting the child or could it be without?

Teach the theoretical part

Make sure the child's bike is the right size. If necessary, consult a specialist at a bicycle retailer. As for the saddle, it must allow the child to put his foot on the ground, the knee slightly bent, when the other foot is on the top of the pedals.

Tell him where to position his feet

Remember that the first few seconds are the most difficult on a bike. After the start, it is much easier to ride. To start the movement, advise your child to position one of the two pedals up, but not all the way up.

Learn to ride a bike

To get started without losing their balance, your child must first learn to put their feet on the pedals without looking. This way he has more strength to make the first turn of the pedal and gains enough speed to keep his balance. His balance, technique and pedaling strength will gradually improve at his own pace.

Learn to turn

Vary the distances and angles so the child can adapt to different turns. Then you can also ask him to do a course in the shape of an 8, smaller and smaller, and in both directions.

Two rules for a child to gain confidence on a bike

Rule n°1: You must respect the rhythm of the child

This could create physical insecurity, but also a fear of not succeeding.

Rule #2: Take it step by step

For young children, the balance bike can be a good way to get used to it

Make him wear a helmet and encourage him as soon as he does a good move.

Some exercises to teach your child to ride a bike

Here are some steps to teach your child to ride a bike:

  1. Do the "step" exercise: your child must learn to balance the bike without pedaling. To do this, place the bike on a flat surface and let it get on the bike, then get off without touching the ground. Repeat the exercise until your child is comfortable.

  2. Do the "sliding" exercise: once your child knows how to balance the bike, they can try to "slide" by pushing on the pedals. To do this, place the bike on a slightly inclined surface and encourage your child to push on the pedals to move forward.

  3. Do the “braking” exercise: once your child knows how to pedal and brake, they can try to come to a complete stop. To do this, place obstacles at a regular distance and have it brake before each obstacle.

  4. Do the 'turning' exercise: Once your child has mastered stopping and going, they can try making turns. To do this, place cones or studs in the shape of a "U" and make it follow the course by turning around the obstacles.

It is important to be patient and not force your child to move too fast. Let him progress at his own pace and encourage him at every step. Don't forget to put on a helmet and follow the safety rules at all times.

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