How to teach your child to ride

If there is one moment that our customers never forget it’s that magical moment when their child learns to ride a bike. For many kids once they’ve mastered walking learning to ride is the next big milestone. However, the whole process can be a little intimidating for parents. Many of us have memories of learning to ride on a clunky pedal bike with stabilisers only to find that when the stabilisers came off we had to learn all over again! Fortunately, things have changed a lot since then thanks to balance bikes.

The intuitive way to learn

It’s no secret that at Islabikes we are not fans of stabilisers as Isla explains, “Stabilisers are not a great way to learn to ride. A bicycle steers by leaning, you lean it to the right and the handlebars fall to the right, you lean it to the left and they fall to the left. Stabilisers hold the bike in a rigid, upright position – so when a child learns to steer with stabilisers on the bike, they’re actually learning to steer a tricycle. Instead of learning to steer by leaning, they learn to steer by turning the handlebars, and pushing their body weight away from the bike, to stop it toppling over. When they come to ride without the stabilisers, they’ve then got to un-learn what they’ve been doing and learn something different.”

On our Rothan balance bike children learn intuitively. They start by scooting along, using their feet to balance and then as confidence grows they will start to glide along, unaided for longer and longer spells until balance is mastered. Once they have this skill in the bag the graduation to a pedal bike comes so much easier.

Balance bikes for all

Another common misconception is that balance bikes are just for toddlers. In fact, any bike can become a balance bike simply by removing the pedals! Many customers teaching 3 or 4 years olds to ride will head straight to our Cnoc starter bike and remove the pedals initially. We even know of adult customers leaning to ride for the first time who have used a Beinn 29 as a balance bike. It’s never to late to learn.

Learning to ride with Isla

If you are teaching your child to ride check out this classic Bike Radar video of Isla demonstrating how it’s done.

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