Children learning to ride

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by wheelsgoround, Jul 21, 2004.

  1. wheelsgoround

    wheelsgoround New Member

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    In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got the knack of that, pedals are added.

    When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.

    Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?


    Ian
     
    Tags:


  2. Al C-F

    Al C-F Guest

    On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:50:43 +1000, wheelsgoround
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    >learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    >can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    >the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    >When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    >without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    >Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?
    >


    Chris is right. It works.

    --

    Cheers,

    Al
     
  3. On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:50:43 +1000, wheelsgoround wrote:
    >
    > In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    > the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    > When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    > without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    > Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?


    My first kid learned in an afternoon by going to the local waste-ground
    which had a smooth shallow grassy slope and starting at the top, riding
    down until she fell off, and then getting back on and doing it again.
    No stabilisers, no bike before that, she was about 5 or so. The middle
    one magically taught herself somehwhere along the line, I can't remember when
    but she was 5 or 6 as well.

    For the last one I used the pedals off no stabilisers thing which worked too,
    but slower because it's difficult to know when to put them back on again, and
    because I didn't want to take them off once they're back on (because I'm
    lazy) I tended to leave them off for probably too long. She too was 5 or so.

    It undoubtedly depends on your kids and how much they will be self-motivated.
    I tend to want mine to just get on with it and figure stuff like that out
    themselves, so I'd prefer to leave the pedals on, no stabilisers (none of mine
    had them, because I refused to let themi :). I only took them off for the
    last one as an experiment because I too had heard of the technique, and also
    we now have a longish steep drive which I thought might be easier to roll down
    if there were no pedals. I'm not convinced it was the right thing to do,
    though.

    I can't imaging stabilisers help in any real way, because they have to
    behave so differently when turning because the bike frame can't lean as
    much. They might as well learn the correct riding technique to start with
    rather than having to relearn it later.

    Having said all that, A *3* year old might benifit from having no pedals,
    because it does mean they can scoot along more easily, and the pedals are
    relatively wide compared to their leg length at that age. Take the
    stabilisers off, though!

    --
    Trevor Barton
     
  4. Tom Orr

    Tom Orr Guest

    "Al C-F" <[email protected]> wrote in
    message news:[email protected]
    > On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:50:43 +1000, wheelsgoround
    > <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > >learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > >can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    > >the knack of that, pedals are added.
    > >
    > >When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    > >without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    > >
    > >Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?
    > >

    >
    > Chris is right. It works.
    >


    Our oldest started with a scooter and when she could balance on that it only
    took a few minutes for her to get the hang of cycling in the local park.
    Same principal I suppose as Chris is suggesting.

    Tom.
     
  5. davek

    davek Guest

    wheelsgoround:
    > Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?


    Yup - very recent experiences too, and I can really vouch for the
    pedals-off-scooting method. It took me a total of about three hours of
    teaching, spread over a few sessions, to get him from being terrified at the
    prospect of riding without stabilisers to where he is now, which is being
    desperate to go out and ride his bike at every opportunity, pedalling away
    minus stabilisers. He still needs to hone his bike handling skills a bit -
    especially braking - but he's improving all the time.

    The most important advice I could give you would be to make sure you find a
    good open space to practise in - I can't overstate the importance of this.
    It made a /huge/ difference when I took my son up to the local sports field
    rather than trying to teach him on the narrow pavement outside our house.

    Try to find a good surface to practise on too - our local sports field has
    an artificial cricket strip, which was perfect, especially as it has a
    slight end-to-end slope (so he could concentrate on getting his balance
    while freewheeling down the slope, without having to worry about propelling
    himself forwards).

    The best advice for teaching him to balance was picked up from urc - when
    you feel like you are falling over, turn the bars in the direction of the
    fall. It really works.

    You'll also need to be extremely patient and really careful to avoid forcing
    your child to do anything they don't want to do - this will be especially
    true if you are trying to teach a 3-yr-old (it's much easier to communicate
    with a 6-yr-old, though I'm all in favour of teaching these things as young
    as possible, so go for it!). I had to take my son out /with/ stabilisers and
    carefully persuade him to just give it a go /without/ (I took my tools along
    with me so I could remove stabilisers and pedals when we got there),
    promising that I would put the stabilisers back on immediately he asked me
    to. As it happened, within five minutes of scooting up and down the cricket
    strip he was no longer interested in stabilisers.

    I let him get used to riding the bike like this with odd bits of practise
    fitted in wherever time allowed over a week or so. Then I put the pedals
    back on, and took him over to the park for a practise. I told him to put his
    feet on the pedals and practise his pedalling motion while I pushed him
    along. After about, ooh, 30 seconds at most of this, I just let go and off
    he pedalled into the distance.... I'll never forget the look on his face
    when it dawned on him that I wasn't holding on any more - I had expected him
    to be anxious but it was more like "Wow! This is brilliant! I'm riding my
    bike all by myself!" A truly wonderful moment.

    So, he went from being a non-cyclist to a cyclist in the space of about two
    weeks. And he loves it.

    Good luck with your little one.

    d.
     
  6. davek

    davek Guest

    Trevor Barton:
    > It undoubtedly depends on your kids and how much they will be

    self-motivated.

    This is so very true - no two children will adopt the same mental attitude
    to something like learning to ride a bike. Some will just pick up a bike and
    get on with it. My son was the opposite, hugely lacking in confidence and
    needing a lot of gentle coaxing, despite the fact that in other areas of
    life he is brimming over with confidence. And when I say gentle coaxing, I
    mean gentle - I didn't want to force him to do anything he didn't want to
    do, but it still didn't take long to teach him to ride.

    > I can't imaging stabilisers help in any real way, because they have to
    > behave so differently when turning because the bike frame can't lean as
    > much.


    I think they are horrible things. I would much rather my son ride a proper
    trike than a bike with stabilisers.

    d.
     
  7. Velvet

    Velvet Guest

    davek wrote:


    >
    > The best advice for teaching him to balance was picked up from urc - when
    > you feel like you are falling over, turn the bars in the direction of the
    > fall. It really works.
    >


    Yes, cracking bit of advice, this. I read this, then *ding* went the
    lightbulb, and now I know how to make the bike fall to the side I want
    when I stop... I turn *away* from the side I'm putting my foot down on :)

    Gem of info that's instinctive to some but a real help if you've not
    quite got to that stage!

    --


    Velvet
     
  8. mark

    mark Guest

    "wheelsgoround" wrote in ...
    >
    > In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    > the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    > When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    > without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    > Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?
    >
    >
    > Ian



    I described on the "no stabilisers, no pedals, extra low seat" approach to
    the parents of a very active 3 year old, who tried this approach with their
    son. In spite of being very active, and possessing better balance and motor
    skills than most children his age, this child was unable to ride a bike w/o
    stabilisers. Younger children tend to be a bit more top-heavy than older
    children, which makes balancing on a bicycle quite difficult. Back to the
    stabilisers, and his parents will try again next spring.
    --
    mark
     
  9. Thanks all; food for thought there.

    Generally, I think, a thumbs up for the no-stabilisers approach but with
    limited success for very young children.

    On my 3-y-o son's bike, even with the seat right down, he can't get both
    feet on the ground so I think I will give it a year or so before trying this
    approach.

    Ian
     
  10. james

    james Guest

    wheelsgoround <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > can learn balancing, steering and braking first.


    I am seriously thinking of buying the puky mentioned in the article
    for my 2.10 y-o. I saw a like-a-bike in our local park the other
    week. The dad had got it when the child was 2.9 and he said after the
    first month he felt like he had made an expensive mistake but just
    after this it clicked and the child was now very confident. Having
    said that he did manage to develop a handlebar wobble at speed
    resulting in an involuntary dismount on one of his runs but didn't
    seem perturbed by this (on grass)

    best wishes
    james
     
  11. Daren Austin

    Daren Austin Guest

    wheelsgoround <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    > the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    > When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    > without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    > Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?
    >
    >
    > Ian


    Just taught my 3(+10mo)yo son to ride w/o stabilizers in about 2hrs
    using my previous posted method:

    <URL: http://groups.google.com/groups?q=daren+austin&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&scoring=d&selm=839d00a5.0406150835.4eb643ad%40posting.google.com&rnum=9>

    Both son's learned this way before their fourth birthday, and I have
    taught three other children this year alone (all older).

    I don't see the need to remove pedals. As long as your child can use a
    scooter (balance technique is the same), then scooting with one foot
    on a pedal and one on a kerb is all that's needed (and probably more
    akin to a scooter anyway).

    Use an old bike first if you have one, as it will get dropped! We use
    a 20+yo Raleigh Bluebell which doesn't have removable pedals (but it
    does have a full sturmey archer groupset and solid tyres).

    Teach them:
    Balance via scooting (using both feet to scoot)
    Brakes (obviously: wind in the adjuster screw for small hands)
    Turning. I do this using figure of 8's

    Then when they are confident, and more importantly, _I_ am confident
    that they can ride in a straight line, stop, start and not hit the
    kerb, it is out onto the country lanes with me behind them (at about
    age 4 1/2). They don't cycle on the pavements when I am en velo.

    Kind regards,

    Daren
    --
    remove outer garment for reply
     
  12. davek

    davek Guest

    Daren Austin:
    > I don't see the need to remove pedals.


    In my son's case, I removed them because they were getting in the way - both
    physically and psychologically.

    d.
     
  13. David Martin

    David Martin Guest

    On 22/7/04 5:15 pm, in article
    [email protected], "Daren Austin"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Then when they are confident, and more importantly, _I_ am confident
    > that they can ride in a straight line, stop, start and not hit the
    > kerb, it is out onto the country lanes with me behind them (at about
    > age 4 1/2). They don't cycle on the pavements when I am en velo.


    And if you are in the city with parked cars, many junctions and much
    traffic? It is about time to start taking my daughter on the road on her own
    bike (rather than trailabike..)

    What are peoples experiences of teaching kids to deal with traffic at age
    6+?

    ...d
     
  14. John Edgar

    John Edgar Guest

    On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:50:43 +1000, wheelsgoround
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >
    >In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    >learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    >can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    >the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    >When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    >without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    >Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?
    >
    >
    >Ian



    It might also be better if the biking industry gave childrens' bikes
    less military sounding names such as :-

    "Aggressor 3.0"
    "Rampage"
    "Shooter"

    I have suggested this before, but maybe childrens' bikes could be
    called:-

    "Peace 2.5"
    "Tranquillity"
    "Easy Life"
    John
    In limine sapientiae
     
  15. Skunk

    Skunk New Member

    Joined:
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    I taught my 3 and a 1/2 year old in an afternoon. I never thought about taking the pedals off. He wanted me to leave one stabiliser on for a while due to lack of confidence but an older kid turning up got me out of a big argument. After an hour and a half he was okay at riding but couldn't get the hang of setting off. Twenty minutes at a skateboard park where he could have a downhill start gave him the confidence to give it a go himself, and now I can't get him off the bike.
     
  16. On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 20:50:43 +1000, wheelsgoround wrote:

    >
    > In the current issue of Cycle, Chris Juden says the best way for kids to
    > learn to ride a bike is with no stabilisers and no pedals so that they
    > can learn balancing, steering and braking first. Once they have got
    > the knack of that, pedals are added.
    >
    > When I got a bike for my 3-year-old, I just put stabilisers on it
    > without thinking but I think I'll give Chris' sugesstion a go.
    >
    > Anyone got any experiences they would like to share?


    Not directly relevant, but they say that taller bikes (e.g.
    penny-farthings) are easier to balance than lower bikes (e.g. recumbent
    lowracers).

    Maybe balancing on a kiddie-bike really is harder than we imagine it to be!

    AC
     
  17. Shoyu

    Shoyu New Member

    Joined:
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    0
    My dad wouldn't let me have stabilisers when I was learning - I though him very mean at the time, but I did learn quickly! I had an old trike before that with HUGE wheels so the pedals weren't really an issue. In my dim and distant memory though I can't seem to recall this first bike of mine having any brakes! Ah the good old 70's.
     
  18. Mark Mcn

    Mark Mcn Guest

    Reply to anonymous coward
    > they say that taller bikes (e.g.
    > penny-farthings) are easier to balance than lower bikes (e.g. recumbent
    > lowracers).
    >


    A few months ago the CTC magazine did a comparative test of a penny-
    farthing, a safety bike and a bent, and made just this point. It
    might make it easier to visualise if you think of a bike as an upside-
    down pendulum: the higher the centre of gravity, the slower it swings.
    Think of one of those old-fangled musician's metronomes where you
    slide the weight up the rod to make it go slower.

    I'd love to have a go on an Ordinary; I've only ever seen one ridden
    in the States, and didn't have the bottle to ask for a ride.


    --
    Mark, UK.
    We hope to hear him swear, we love to hear him squeak,
    We like to see him biting fingers in his horny beak.
     
  19. Danny Colyer

    Danny Colyer Guest

    anonymous coward wrote:
    > Not directly relevant, but they say that taller bikes (e.g.
    > penny-farthings) are easier to balance than lower bikes (e.g. recumbent
    > lowracers).


    The higher your centre of gravity, the more time you have to correct
    your balance if you start to fall. Try balancing a broom handle on your
    finger, then try balancing a pen. The broom handle is much, much easier.

    (I can balance a broom handle on my nose indefinitely, I can balance a
    pen for a few seconds on a good day).

    For the same reason, a giraffe unicycle is physically easier to ride
    than a standard unicycle (until you get to the point where the extra
    weight of the giraffe becomes a problem). The difficulty in riding a
    giraffe is entirely psychological - I can ride a 6' easily, but the one
    time I sat on a 9' I was too scared to move away from the wall.

    --
    Danny Colyer (the UK company has been laughed out of my reply address)
    <URL:http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/>
    "He who dares not offend cannot be honest." - Thomas Paine
     
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