A couple of good things came out of the 2020 COVID lockdown, and one of them was finally teaching our kids how to ride a bike. Here are our top tips for teaching kids to ride PLUS the best local spots to do it!
1. Remove the training wheels
- The time has come – let’s do it!
- Keep the training wheels if you plan to sell or pass on the bike when your child outgrows it.
2. Get the equipment right
- Seat height – when sitting on the seat, the balls of your child’s feet should just touch the ground.
- Handlebars – they should be able to reach the handlebars with a slight bend in the arms when sitting on the seat.
- Helmet – always wear it, even at home!
- Shoes – thongs are not ideal and double-check laces are properly done up.
- Protective gear – consider knee pads if thicker pants can’t be worn.
- Tyre – check air pressure.
3. Find a great location
Find a nice open space with no steep hills and no crowds. Our suggestions:
Meadowbank Netball Courts – bottom of Adelaide St, Meadowbank. It has about 30 courts so plenty of space and parking is plentiful.
Brush Farm Netball Courts – Lawson St, Eastwood. About 5 netball courts to ride on plus good parking.
Buffalo Creek Reserve – 177 Pittwater Rd, Hunters Hill. Lots of flat paths but not as much wide open space and you need to pay for parking at this one.
ELS Hall Park – 109A Kent Rd, North Ryde. If you’re wanting a bit of extra cushioning, the synthetic grass at ELS Hall park could be a good option, and when they’ve got the hang of it they can graduate to the pathways.
Spend a few minutes practising this balancing technique:
- To begin, rotate the pedals out of the way.
- With their bottom on the seat and feet on the ground, have your child walk around with their bike a little.
- Next, encourage them to do it a little faster and push off. The aim is to push off and get both their feet off the ground for as long as they can.
5. Assisted take-off
- To mount the bike, suggest your child lean it toward themselves while applying the brakes so it doesn’t roll or wobble.
- Using your hand under their armpits and your legs straddling their back wheel, hold them up as they peddle around slowly. Don’t hold the handlebars or the seat.
- As they gain confidence riding you can gradually let go, but stay ready to grab them under the armpits again if necessary.
- Don’t leave their side prematurely or they may fall and lose confidence.
6. Unassisted take-off
- Once they’ve got the hang of balancing, you can show them how to set off on their own.
- The take-off position is where one pedal is up and a little bit forward – at about the 2 o’clock position, so that pushing down hard will get the bike moving.
- After take-off, encourage your child to look straight ahead not at their feet.
Hopefully, by now, your child is off and running. We’d love to hear if you have any additional tips for this guide!