How to Teach your Child to Ride a Bike

Learn how to ride a bike

My youngest son has just learnt how to ride a bike. It is such a special moment, they are overjoyed that they have mastered a new skill. It boosts their confidence and is a memory that you will both never forget. Riding a bike also opens up new opportunities for family adventure together!

But learning to how to ride a bike is not always easy an easy skill to master and there can be tears and frustration along the way (from both the adult and the child!). Breaking it down into simple, confidence boosting steps can help make the learning process more enjoyable for everyone. These are 5 easy steps to teach your child to ride a bike without stabilisers (and without tears!).

What you will need:

A bike that fits! Frog make excellent bikes for children, take a look at their fitting guide.
A pedal spanner. All will be explained!
A helmet. It’s a good idea to get them into the habit of wearing a helmet from an early age.

Step 1 – Remove the pedals and lower the seat

Make sure the saddle is low enough to allow the child to touch the floor with both feet. This will inspire confidence that they are not going to topple over. Using the pedal spanner, remove the pedals. Right pedals loosen by turning counter-clockwise, left pedals loosen clockwise. Taking off the pedals will allow them to scoot along like a balance bike. They might already be confident in riding a balance bike but don’t worry if not.

Step 2 – Scooting

When the child is ready and feeling balanced sitting on the bike, get them to scoot along. Making sure their bottom is on the saddle and they are looking forward get them to take giant steps, pushing themselves with their feet.

Encourage them to build up a little speed and glide on the bike, removing both feet from the floor at the same time. Keep practising and encouraging until they are confident with scooting.

Step 3 – Pedals on

Put the pedals back on, making sure that they are re-fitted correctly. Get the child to sit back on the bike and get them to try scooting along with the pedals attached, to show them that the bike still feels the same.

Step 4 – Time to try

Holding your child, not the bike, ask your child to put both their feet on the pedals. Reassure them that you are not going to let them fall off. Check they are ready and walk forwards holding onto their upper back. Encourage them to pedal and look up, not down at the front wheel or their feet. Keep repeating this step until the child feels confident pedalling.

Step 5 – The Big Moment

As their confidence grows, slowly release your grip of them until you are no longer holding on. Keep running alongside for reassurance and to give encouragement (and to save the day if it all goes wrong!). Let them ride for as long as they want and if possible use the brakes to come to a stop! Hopefully there should be big smiles all round and it is time for a treat!

Tops Tips for Success

Find a big open space. A quiet traffic-free area with smooth tarmac is ideal such as cycle path. A slight downhill gradient can help.

Go at your child’s own speed. Every child is different and you may need to repeat each step many times before they are confident with the skill. There is no rush and if the child is getting tired or frustrated remember you can always try again another day!

Make it fun! Children always learn better when they are enjoying themselves!

Other Resources

Sustrans
Liv – Cycling for anxious kids
Bikeability

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