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How do you teach a child to ride a bike?
My daughter is five years old and she's been riding a bike with stabilisers for a while. Problem is, most of the paths and roads around our house are so uneven that she keeps grounding herself - stabilisers both on the floor, but the back wheel spinning wildly an inch off the ground!

So, I've taken her stabilisers off only to realise that she has no apparent sense of balance, and is useless at steering!

I've been holding the seat and the handlebars to try and help her, but I don't think it is helping much. Any tips on what to do to help? How do I help her understand about how to balance the bike?
asked in cycling, help, children

seacommander answers:

Try just supporting the bicycle from the saddle and with you standing just behind the sight line of your daughter. Get her to cycle and keep talking to her; slowly reduce the amount of talking you do and when you sense that she is cycling confidently let go of the saddle but still follow closely and keep talking. You'll be there to rescue her should she become unstable but the chances are she will keep cycling OK. It worked for me when I was learning to ride and also when I taught my boys to ride.

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rayzit answers:

Run bikes without pedals are the best solution, I think. They can develop sense of balance and later change to a bicycle with pedals.

Supplement from 01/19/2009 09:52am:

When I was about 4 my elder brothers thought it was about time for me to learn riding a bike. So they unscrewed the stabilisers, lifted me on the saddle and pushed me ahead. All day long. Main difficulty was that the alley they had chosen for that was a dead end and i had to learn a u-turn on the very narrow alley or go down some stairs by bike. In the afternoon I could ride down stairs to some degree and was pretty proud of that. But my mother was shocked the way I looked in the evening. I wouldn't recommend this approach all in all.

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LauLau answers:

My Dad used to just stand behind me griiping hold of the sadle and as seacommander said above, He just kept talking to me and before I knew it, I turned around and I was riding on my own, Maybe you should take a day out to a park with flat ground to help her learn for a day, practice makes perfect!

Supplement from 01/19/2009 10:15am:

A photo of me & Dad in action!

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Messerwisser answers:

Remove the stabilisers!!! The just make it more difficult to get the right reflexes.

Holding the saddle as said above is a good method. The important thing is to make her feel what happens when she turns the front wheel in the direction she is falling to recover balance. Once this reflex is working the rest is easy.

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sheps101 answers:

I would raise the stabilizers for a while so they are a bit off the ground on each side but still balance her if she leans to far that way. Once she has more balance and knows how to start and stop a bike confidently, then do what Ju suggests.

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P-Kasso answers:

Definitely just hold the saddle and be her replacement stabiliser. Keep doing it until she gets confident.

When you feel condfident enough gradually let her go.

Then tell her she has been riding under her own steam for the last five miles.

It worked for my two kids. Confidence is all that stands in the way with a child who thinks they can't ride without the safety net of stabilisers.

Once they can do it once they can do it forever.

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Theminxy1 answers:

All of the above are the prescribed way to do it.... But I managed it very differently. When I was a kid, I learnt by getting on my bike next to a very low garden wall and just pushing myself along ( a bit like scooter-riding with your bot on a seat). Gradually I needed less 'pushes' and each glide took me further as my balancing skills improved. Eventually I even managed to get my scooting foot on the other pedal and off I went.

The other advantage to this was that I didn't have one parent or another stressing me out.I didn't much like an audience when I was learning.

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