How to Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 9 Minutes
How to Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 9 Minutes
It took 2 years to teach my first kid how to ride a bike. (no exaggeration) It took 2 hours to teach my second kid how to ride a bike. It took exactly 9 minutes to teach my third kid to ride a bike.
The first two times were filled with endless running behind our kids, holding on to the bike for hours, letting go, kids crashing, crying, loosing faith, talking them into it again, falling again... on and on until we finally gave up. My first 2 children got bikes for Christmas. They were 5 & 3 years old. They were so excited and would ride them all over the house and neighborhood with training wheels. Once Spring time came, we took off the training wheels for my 5 year old and spent hours trying to teach him to ride. Day after day with no luck.
I was so desperate, I googled things like "how to teach kids to ride a bike" and "private lessons to teach kids to ride a bike". I kid you not. I was so desperate I was willing to hire out the job! I mean, it couldn't be that hard could it? Yes, yes it could. I asked friends how they taught their kids. We tried over and over to no avail. The training wheels went back on and we decided to wait a year.
The same thing happen the next year. We were pumped and hit the ground running. Then gave up and put the training wheels back on. Feeling totally defeated we just plain gave up.
Then, he was 7! He was starting 2nd grade. I knew if we didn't get it this year it would just get harder. The bigger you are, the harder it hurts when you fall, am I right?
After running up and down the sidewalk I realized the church parking lot was much easier for him to ride on. The endless asphalt was flat and wide. He didn't have to worry about balancing between two strips of grass and he could focus more on just balancing in general. After an entire day of practicing over and over he finally got it! Yes, he crashed a couple times, but he basically had the hang of it.
Now on to kid #2, I was on a roll. So the next day, my then 5 year old gave it a go. We ripped off the dreaded training wheels and chucked them. I wasn't going to give myself something to fall back on. It was now or never.
We skipped the sidewalk training and went straight for the church parking lot. After two hours, a couple of falls, and a super sore back from bending over, she had it! I couldn't help but laugh and wonder how on earth it took me 2 years to teach her brother, and then just a couple hours for her.
Now lets skip forward 3 years and talk about kid #3. He is a cautious little fellow. He won't rock climb, he won't swim, I was SURE he would have a hard time riding a bike, one fall and it would surely scar him for life.
He got a balance bike for Christmas when he was 3 and LOVED it. He picked up the balancing (without pedals) quickly. He sure loved the balance bike and he was good at it, but, it was a little to slow for him to go on family bike rides. He couldn't keep up, and he wouldn't ride in the trailer with his little sister so here we were, a family of 6 and still not able to take a family bike ride together. I decided he was good enough on his balance bike that it was time to try one with pedals.
Now, we got Walmart specials with my first two, I figured they would crash and burn enough times learning how to ride that I didn't want to invest in a nice bike. But this time, we wanted a something better. I did a little research. Instead of googling to find people to teach my kid to learn to ride a bike, I searched for amazing bikes to learn on. Woom Bikes have a flat seat angle, short cranks and the low bottom bracket to enable your child to always put their feet on the ground without the losing balance. This bike represents the ideal link between the balance bike and a pedal bike. Perfect transition for fast learning of the movement process - even without training wheels.
They have several sizes, we went with the WOOM #2. It is the first step up from a balance bike, ideal for 3-5 year olds. When the bike arrived in the mail, we had it put together in less than 10 minutes. Really, It was already assembled, we just needed to tighten a few screws.
Before we put the pedals on, I let him try it out as a balance bike for a few days and get used to the brakes. He figured them out soon enough and now we were ready to try the real thing.
We started like the other two before. We got everything ready.Mom with camera, Dad holding the back of his bike seat and heading down the side walk with a wobbly 4 year old trying to figure out how pedals work. We literally made it to the end of the street when he asked if he could try it on his own.
And off he went! On his own! My 4 year old! Riding a bike!
Needless to say, we were both in shock.
After a few spins around the parking lot and starting and stopping on his own a few times he asked if we could go on a family bike ride, right then! So we did! We went home, got our bikes and went on a bike ride! That night, as I was editing the video footage, I checked the time. The first video of us going down the sidewalk was taken at 7:07 pm, the video of him taking off on his own was 7:16 pm! 9 minutes! This is by far a record, I'm sure.
We are beyond thrilled with Woom Bikes! The quality is incredible. Even my 10 year old gave it a spin and said "this bike is amazing! It's so smooth. Can I have it"? Um, sorry Locke, I think its a little small for you buddy. Oh, and another cool thing about Woom, you can trade your bike in for the next size when your kid outgrows it!
Now its been a week, we have gone on a family ride every day. He has no problem keeping up or starting and stopping on his own because the pedals are so close to the ground. And he has yet to wreck or loose his balance. I'm really in awe of this little bike and its brave rider.
Training our kids to ride a bike has been a crazy roller coaster of experiences. And now that we have officially trained 3 kids, I have learned so much.
I have 5 Tips for teaching your kid to ride a bike in 9 minutes. Just 9 minutes! True story. Check it out!
How to Teach your Kid to Ride a Bike in 9 Minutes.
Trying is giving yourself the opportunity to fail. Just do it. Select a date. Grab the camera. Enlist the support of family and friends and go for it!
2-Adios Training Wheels
Oh the time and effort we could have saved by starting with a balance bike the first 2 times. Training wheels are a only teach kids to pedal. That's the easy part. Do yourself a solid and ditch the training wheels.
3-Wide open spaces
Don't narrow yourself down with the sidewalk. Streets are straight up dangerous. Find an empty parking lot and get to it.
4-Avoid the Walmart Special
-Save yourself the transition from crappy bike to quality bike and just go for quality. It will be easier for your child to learn and save you money in the long run.
5-Balance Bikes for the win!
Its all about the balance. It might take a day, it might take a few weeks but when they get it, they get it. Let your kids learn to balance first, on their own terms. With their feet safely hovering above the ground, not high up on a pedal. Let them build confidence in balancing, then you can add the pedals.
We've teamed up with WOOM Bikes to give 3 lucky readers some Woom schwag! We'll be giving away the following:
1) $50 store credit
2) $25 store credit
3) 2 WOOM Drink Bottles
Visit our Instagram post for extra entries! Ends September 19th at Midnight. Happy Riding!
We love the idea of riding bikes as a family. With little ones it has been a challenge for them to keep up when on training wheels or a balance bike. Now that our 4 year old has learned to ride a bike, we can't wait to try out a few of our favorite walking trails that i've been wanting to try with bikes.
Kays Creek Trail
Ogden River Parkway
Jensen Nature Park