Getting Kids cycling

MARKE020272

Well-Known Member
I'm planning on getting my 2 kids cycling properly over the 2 weeks I have off work during the school holidays. One (8 years old) was Ok on his smaller bike (straight lines, etc) and now has a new bike. The other is 5 and Ok with stabilisers but want to get rid of them so the whole family can go cycling. I'm not suggesting 30miles sportives or anything (yet!!!). The 8 year has expressed any interest though. Does anyone have any tips on how to get them more confident and cycling better. Thanks.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
Lots of practise on the bike helps to build their confidence - I helped out at a session this week teaching secondary school aged kids to cycle - some were cycling within 5 mins, whereas others took the full session length. With the older child - you could create a few games such as wiggling around a few jumpers on the ground, or see if he can lift his hand off the handlebars. With the stabilizer child - get rid of them, lower the saddle - so their feet confidently reach the ground and just get them trying to walk and occasionally lift their feet off the ground. So they aren't trying to pedal at first - if they keep hitting their ankles on the pedals you can remove them temporarily.

And report back on how they do
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Arch

Married to Night Train
Location
Salford, UK
Lots of practise on the bike helps to build their confidence - I helped out at a session this week teaching secondary school aged kids to cycle - some were cycling within 5 mins, whereas others took the full session length. With the older child - you could create a few games such as wiggling around a few jumpers on the ground, or see if he can lift his hand off the handlebars. With the stabilizer child - get rid of them, lower the saddle - so their feet confidently reach the ground and just get them trying to walk and occasionally lift their feet off the ground. So they aren't trying to pedal at first - if they keep hitting their ankles on the pedals you can remove them temporarily.

And report back on how they do
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Pretty much what I was going to say!

With a bit of thought, you could perhaps set up games that they can both compete in (little slalom races for example, things where taking care matters more than speed and strength. If you google gymkhana games, you'll find a few pony club things that might be adaptable for bikes.)

If you have a decent safe route nearby (all cycle path, or very quiet roads), how about a little Expedition? Pack a picnic, head out for the morning. It might only be a few miles, but it'll be a lot to them, and a ride is so much more fun with a point to it.

Quiet residential roads are a good place for practising turns and indicating and so on...
 

Andrew_P

In between here and there
Bike rack and find a good all trail cycle route. Once they have confidence controlling the bike and braking then try quiet side roads. Not sure where you are based http://www.sustrans.org.uk/map?searchKey=Search+our+mapping&searchType=search&Search=Find you can find traffic free routes on there, take some food and make it fun

I have three kids 13 10 6 the two eldest got in to cycling on holiday in France last year, eldest is confident on roads with me, 10 year old thinks she is but I am not. I think you will have a gut instinct
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
For first ride without stabilisers, take the brat to the local park or footy pitch, preferably after a rainshower.

Soft grass is so much softer than tarmac.

Its cheaper and easier to pick mud out of handlebar ends than change handle grips.
 

summerdays

Cycling in the sun
Location
Bristol
For first ride without stabilisers, take the brat to the local park or footy pitch, preferably after a rainshower.

Soft grass is so much softer than tarmac.

Its cheaper and easier to pick mud out of handlebar ends than change handle grips.

But that assumes they are going to fall lots ... using the scooting method they don't ... they can put they feet down very easily and you don't encourage them to try and pedal until they have mastered the balance/freewheel bit. Its probably easier to freewheel on tarmac/or harder ground - preferably smooth.
 

Danny

Legendary Member
Location
York
I'd follow what Summerdays says to get them riding in the first place.

Once they are riding you need to find a way of encouraging them to ride more than a short distance. In my experience young children often don't see any point in riding or walking any distance just for the pleasure of doing so. However if you can introduce some kind of goal - a visit to a favourite park, pub lunch, picnic, etc. - they are more likely to be enthused by the idea of a cycle ride.

And be prepared for days when they don't want to ride at all, or suddenly get "too tired" to complete a planned ride. My personal view is that it was better not to force kids to ride when they don't want to as otherwise you risk putting them off cycling altogether. But you'll know what works with your kids.
 

lukesdad

Guest
Hi, Marke. Check out the" Its lukey" thread in the cafe. If you like what you see,Ill tell you how I did it in a week
 

Steve H

Large Member
I enjoyed running along behind my two. Started with my hand firmly on the saddle propping them up. Slowly loosening the grip as they begin to get the balance. Best moment of all is when you are running along beside them without holding them, they still think you are holding them and then they spot you running along and they realise they are riding on their own.

Kids learn at different paces, so don't worry about it if they don't get it straight away. Plenty of praise and try to end each session on a high. Last thing you want is a load of tears and then them not wanting to go again. Learning on grass is good - doesn't hurt if (when) they take a tumble.
 

Hacienda71

Mancunian in self imposed exile in leafy Cheshire
My son learned to ride on grass. Didn't fall but gave me some comfort knowing he was less likely to hurt himself if he did fall off. He was free riding at about four, he is just about big enough now at six to get a 20" bike with gears.
 
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