Stabilisers or not? (5 year old)

Discussion in 'Family and Recreational Cycling' started by CanucksTraveller, 18 Nov 2016.

  1. CanucksTraveller

    CanucksTraveller Macho Business Donkey Wrestler

    Hitchin, Herts
    My daughter is a tall 5 year old and hasn't ridden a bike before really. I've previously bought her a tot bike with stabilisers when she was 3, and she never really took to it. She kept her head down and kept riding head first into hedges.
    Now she's over 5, and she's been using a scooter for a good while so now knows how to look where she's steering. She now really wants a bike and I've got her this Apollo Woodland with 18 inch wheels. She tried it in the shop and it's a good size for her:


    My question is, what's the easiest and most enjoyable way to learn now? Should I put stabilisers on and let her get used to pedalling first, or should I remove the cranks for a while and get her to balancing?

    Thank you!
  2. r04DiE

    r04DiE 300km a week through London on a road bike.

    Well, the way I did it was to put my daughter on a slight, 20 yard long, slope. She rolled down it and each time tried to put her feet up. Soon enough, she got it and had her feet on the pedals. From there on, she just pedalled.

    Hope that helps you and good luck to your little one.
  3. S-Express

    S-Express Guest

    If she can stand feet-up on a moving scooter, then she doesn't need stabilisers. Find a gentle grassy slope, put her on the bike, give her a push and watch her go.
    CanucksTraveller likes this.
  4. Ask her, find out how she wants to try it :thumbsup:
    CanucksTraveller likes this.
  5. slowmotion

    slowmotion Quite dreadful

    lost somewhere
    My five year old daughter (now 22) wobbled off into the distance after discarding stabilisers. Balance bikes were pretty rare back then. Whatever you do, savour the moment when she makes it. It's one of those milestones.
  6. steve50

    steve50 Disenchanted Member

    West Yorkshire
    No stabilisers, they give kids a false sense of confidence then when you take them away lots of falls and skinned knees. i would take the advice of roadie.
    BrumJim, CanucksTraveller and Vantage like this.
  7. flake99please

    flake99please Make mine a '99'

    Remove pedals until she is confident using as a balance bike. Introduce pedals again without stabilisers.
  8. Broadside

    Broadside Veteran

    Fleet, Hants
    I think balance bikes are the way forward. I've tried removing cranks etc but they end up catching their feet on the frame as it was not designed for the purpose.

    Once they get the hang of a balance bike the transition on to a proper bike is pretty quick. I did the removing cranks thing for my eldest child and then balance bike route for my other two, it was much easier.
  9. Broadside

    Broadside Veteran

    Fleet, Hants
    Oh and to echo @slowmotion make a big song and dance when she gets it, they just need confidence they are doing the right thing and being animated when they get it right is quite powerful to make them do more.
  10. Cycleops

    Cycleops Guru

    Accra, Ghana
    Most children will askfor stabilisers but probably don't need them. My children used them and soon disgarded them. I didn't learn to ride until I was eleven. I picked up my first bike from the shop and took it the mile or so home. By the time I reached I could ride.
    Dirtyhanz and CanucksTraveller like this.
  11. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Moderator

    Definitely no stabilisers, they don't need much to learn to pedal whereas they do need to get the concepts of balancing and steering. Chances are she has had a go on a pedal along toy at some point and will know what to do.
    CanucksTraveller likes this.
  12. Vantage

    Vantage The dogs chew toy

    Stabilisers are the work of the devil. My youngest was 9 before they came off and I fully believe that they hampered her progress in cycling while they were there. The day they came off saw her take to cycling like never before and I had trouble removing her from the bike!
    Skinned knees and elbows will heal soon enough but give her a push and a shove and after a few attempts, she'll be riding away smiling proudly :smile:
    CanucksTraveller likes this.
  13. OP

    CanucksTraveller Macho Business Donkey Wrestler

    Hitchin, Herts
    Thank you everyone, that's given me some good food for thought. :okay:
    r04DiE likes this.
  14. atbman

    atbman Veteran

    [QUOTE 4562553, member: 45"]There's a place for stabilisers in learning to ride. Learning to balance is tiring stuff and it can be useful to pop them on during a longer ride if the child is getting weary to give them a rest. This isn't detrimental to their learning but in fact will make it more enjoyable.[/QUOTE]

    Learning to balance isn't really tiring, it's the pedalling that does that. None of the kids we teach to ride virtually every week ever go back on them. If they need the stabilisers during a longer ride, the ride is probably too long for them anyway.. the key to not getting so tired is to ride more often and give them plenty of rest stops and fun activities during a longer ride.
    burntoutbanger likes this.
  15. Andy_R

    Andy_R Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..

    County Durham
    The only place for stabilisers when learning to ride, is in the bin. They do nothing to encourage bilateral balancing, if anything they encourage bad posture - I'm sure've all seen kids on bikes with stabilisers slumped over to one side with no effort to move their torsos to help balance.
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