How to teach a 13yr old to ride?

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by NotthatJasonKenny, 10 Aug 2012.

  1. NotthatJasonKenny

    NotthatJasonKenny Faster on HFLC

    Location:
    Bolton
    I have been failing to teach my daughter to ride a bike since she was 6. She had a real phobia about falling off and would never even ride with stabilisers!

    As I'm trying to get my wife into cycling (mainly so I'll be the faster rider for a change! Well for a while maybe!) my daughter is starting to show an interest again after years of not even trying.

    I suppose I should add that the phobia relates to an overprotective grandma who she lived with for her first five years!

    Anyway, she is too old for the balance bike method so is the usual method of getting her to ride whilst I hold the seat going to be the right way now she's older? It hasn't worked in the past! Probably won't help that the only bike I have her size is a raleigh chopper!

    Advice much appreciated!
     
  2. Octet

    Octet Über Member

    When I was taught how to ride, I had someone hold the seat whilst I pedaled. You need to build the trust first, so tell her to take the feet off the pedals whilst you push to show that you are holding it and shall stop it if she is about to fall off.
    Then you went to slowly tail her in case she does fall off, making sure to stop her so that she continues to trust you. Then as she gets better, you can begin to let go and let her ride for herself, she won't realise you aren't holding the bike anymore... until she looks around like I did and hit a tree :wacko:

    Good luck!
     
  3. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    Location:
    lost somewhere
  4. deptfordmarmoset

    deptfordmarmoset Full time tea drinker

    Location:
    Armonmy Way
    Lowering the saddle and taking the pedals off is a very quick way of converting an ordinary bike into a balance bike. If you get your daughter's saddle down low enough that her heels are touching or almost touching the ground, you can get her to scoot off both feet together. This sort of horizontal hopping keeps the body's weight centred and the moments between landing the feet are moments when your daughter is actually balancing and steering. Best on a flattish surface. Make sure she's always looking where she's going - there's a tendency for the head to drop.

    You might be surprised how soon she'll be ready for one pedal, then two (with a little shoulder pushing for the start). Try not to steer her or hold her upright too much - while there's an understandable desire to be protective, it will impede her learning to balance. And it will tire you out:smile:

    The final step is to raise the saddle, best done in a few stages.
     
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  5. Cubist

    Cubist Still wavin' Moderator

    Location:
    Ovver 'thill
    The local council cycling officers teach adults, including nervous adults, to ride on a bike that they take the pedals off, and is adjusted so that the rider can put their feet flat on the ground. Your chopper should be ideal, as it has a low top tube and comfy seat. Whip off the pedals and get her into a quiet area where she can learn to let the bike run, but can control any tipping with her feet. As her confidence grows put the pedals on and she should be able to balance with her feet on the pedals.
     
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  6. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    Location:
    lost somewhere
    All excellent advice. As the father of a teenage girl, I would guess that there might be a certain embarrassment for her to been seen being taught by her Dad. If she goes to on an adult cyclist learning course, they know how to avoid that teenage toe-curling:smile:
     
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  7. okeydokey79

    okeydokey79 Senior Member

    http://www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability they do this in our area, my son has been on the level 2 two times and i found he learned more because they never want listen to what the parents say^_^ but will listen to someone else and also there are other kids so they make it fun, just have search your area and all classes are free^_^
     
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  8. Nebulous

    Nebulous Veteran

    Location:
    Aberdeen
    Our children were all younger when they learned, but one thing we found very helpful was starting off on grass. It is softer to fall on, slows you down a bit, and makes it easier for you to keep up, but it also seems easier to balance.
     
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  9. OP
    OP
    NotthatJasonKenny

    NotthatJasonKenny Faster on HFLC

    Location:
    Bolton
    Thanks all, as soon as she is ready to listen with her ears instead of her mouth I'll try taking the pedals off! The courses round here start at 15 so I've got 1 yr and 4 months to try before I give in and drop her off with the professionals!
     
    Octet likes this.
  10. sabian92

    sabian92 Über Member

    Do what my parents did when I was a kid - tell me that they were holding on, give me a shove and just walk along side me. Eventually they stopped even doing that and I didn't realise for about 3 months. :laugh:
     
  11. OP
    OP
    NotthatJasonKenny

    NotthatJasonKenny Faster on HFLC

    Location:
    Bolton
    Tried all the usual methods!
     
  12. Powered by Porridge

    Powered by Porridge Senior Member

    Location:
    Warrington, UK
    I've taught a couple of older than normal people to ride bikes. The advice about lowering the saddle and removing the pedals is excellent. I would add though that if you can find a smooth surface with a gentle slope that will help too. The downward slope keeps the learner moving along for longer and gives them more opportunity to get their feet off the ground and feel the balance.

    The bit about listening with the ears rather than the mouth; I don't think anyone can help with that!
     
  13. Chris S

    Chris S Guru

    Location:
    Birmingham
    1) Get her to freewheel down a gentle slope, let her keep her feet just off the ground so that she has some sense of security.
    2) When she can get to the end of the slope without putting her feet on the ground get her to do it with her feet resting on the pedals.
    3) When she can do this tell her to gently pedal when she reaches the end of the slope.

    That will be enough to give her a sense of balance and some familiarity with the pedalling motion. Also make sure the bike's seat and handlebars are positioned so that she is as vertical as possible.
     
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  14. Rob3rt

    Rob3rt Man or Moose!

    Location:
    Manchester
    Other than the advise above, once she gets a little confidence, don't stop her falling over every time, let he hit the deck once or twice (on grass)! Else she will always be thinking that if she falls it's going to be brutal, once she has rolled over a few times she will realise she isn't made of glass.
     
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  15. Davidc

    Davidc Guru

    Location:
    Somerset UK
    I've not taught a 13 year old, up to 9 yes, over 18 yes.

    That said, the younger ones, provided they've never used stabilisers, can usually pick up balance in half an hour, and pedalling a bit later. Steering and brakes have always come last which can be a problem.

    The adults (I'm up to 4 now) take a lot longer and never seem as good as adults who learnt as children.

    Your daughter has picked up her fear from her grandmother who is someone she trusts, and so will need to be worked on, but I'd guess that a 13 year old ought to be more like a child than an adult, and the advice above ties in well with my experience with my and friends children.

    Children who've used stabilisers seem to take months. The stabilisers do something which stops the natural learning process, and I've never understood this.
     
    NotthatJasonKenny likes this.
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