Look Mom No Pedals! How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike in a Day.

learn to ride a bike

Look mom – no pedals! Ever wonder how Lance Armstrong's mom taught him to ride? While, we may never know the answer to that, most parents are content to realize their child is not the next Lance Armstrong headed for the Tour de France, we at least would like to see our child independently ride down a bike path alongside the family. Riding bicycles is great exercise and a wonderful form of physical education. Wait for a nice fair weather day & off you go with an energized, workout for the entire family. But, if you have a child who has not yet mastered the skill of bike riding, these days can be more effort than they seem to be worth.

It’s just like riding a bike, the saying goes. But, any parent trying to teach their child to ride may feel as though there’s a lot more to learning how to ride a bike than meets the eye. It’s very typical to end the afternoon with an exhausted parent and a frustrated child who thinks they will never learn.

But, there is a technique for teaching a child how to ride a bike that just may make these lessons easier. The idea is to take the pedals off of the child’s bike and lower the seat so the child can sit on the bike & reach the ground flat-footed. With this technique, some children have learned in as little as an hour or two. Websites like ridingmadeeasy.com give helpful tips for making bike riding easier on the parent as well as the child. There are even group classes taught in some cities where children learn to master the balance needed to ride a bike. Following is a YouTube video that demonstrates this technique from Bike New York:

Other helpful suggestions include not holding your child’s seat and running alongside, but put your hand on their shoulder. This helps them get a real sense of balance on the bike. For step-by-step instructions and more videos on this technique, International Bicycle Fund explains how to bicycle without pain, teaching bicycling without strain – And, not just for little kids either.

If you’re not wanting to dismantle and re-mantle a bike you currently own, they do sell No pedal bikes on which your children can learn to ride, and then purchase one with pedals later, after they have the balance-learning conquered.

It may be considered a new technique, but really it dates back to the invention of the bicycle. The early bicycles had no pedals whatsoever. In fact, according to Enchanted Learning.com the first bicycle was more of a scooter called a celerifere. Later, in 1816, a handlebar was added and the wheels were changed to be the same size calling it a Draisienne. But, there were no pedals. Some of them were called velocipedes or Fast Foot. In fact, chains and rubber wheels were not added to the bicycle until the 1860s. For more information, you could even plan a family trip someday if it fits into your vacation plans to the velocipedes museum in Delaware, or save the gas and time and just visit their website.

The idea of no pedals on a bike is not new, but according to some is very effective. If this technique is effective for you, then in no time at all, your family can be enjoying the togetherness and physical education that bicycling can bring. Who knows, your child may even end up in the Tour de France someday. When asked how they got there, they will reply – with no pedals!

Whether you choose to teach your child how to ride a bike with the no-pedal method or with training wheels or with a tag-along attached bicycle, please - please - put a helmet on their little heads before climbing aboard the bike. And, before they ride on a street, make sure they know proper safety techniques as well as something as simple as how to read or recognize street signs and what they mean. Knee pads, elbow pads & wrists guards never hurt either as well as simple measures like tucking your child’s pants into their socks and making sure their laces are tied and tucked into shoe to avoid getting tangled up in bike’s moving parts.


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