Stabilisers or not? (5 year old)

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

  1. Custom24

    Custom24 Über Member

    Check out the 'balance buddy' handle.
  2. Andy_R

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

    County Durham
    ermmm...if you're holding the handle and keeping the bike upright with it, who's doing any balancing?
  3. Custom24

    Custom24 Über Member

    The rider is to a variable extent, depending on how tightly you grip the handle, or whether you are indeed holding it at all.
  4. atbman

    atbman Veteran

    Never hold the bike, even using this. If you're not pushing the child in exactly the same direction s/he is going, you interfere with the learning process. We teach our parents to lightly place a hand on the upper back to help them get moving if they're having difficulty doing so. In most cases we only use the fingertips between the shoulderblades.
    Average age of our new riders in the last few months? From 3 to 5 Average number taught per year? 50+. Only on three occasions in the last 18 years have we taught particularly stubborn kids to ride using their pedals from the start - and they were older than the average learner.
    BrumJim likes this.
  5. the stupid one

    the stupid one Senior Member

    First post on the forum, and I'm reviving a six-month-old thread . . . Sorry!

    Our 8 y.o. daughter decided she wanted to learn to ride a bike not long ago. All previous attempts to learn with stabilisers had failed. Her best friend had taken to cycling very quickly using the pedals-off method, so that's what we did. That's what we did when I'd worked out how to get them off, anyway.

    First time after fifteen minutes on a rather uneven pavement she was scooting along reasonably happily. Second time on a smoother carpark surface she scooted around for a while then had a short attempt with pedals on - after a few minutes of gently supporting her shoulders I was only providing comforting fingertips on the collar. I let go completely and she did that thing where she cycled on for a few metres before realising she was on her own and slamming her feet down, but the shock/pride on her face was special.

    Third time she did a few minutes without pedals then we put them on and let her go, happily pedalling laps of the (empty half of the) carpark before demanding to ride the adjacent cycle/footpath. The narrowness spooked her a little bit, especially when pushing off, but she finally rode off into the distance until encountering a lamppost that she fixated on and cycled straight into. Of course she did. Oh dear.

    I encouraged her to get back on the bike and do another carpark lap, then put four plasters on her back home and she was satisfied with the whole adventure.

    So we had good results with the pedals-off method, and if her big brother hadn't broken his femur falling off his bike on her next trip she'd probably be a very keen cyclist by now.
    burntoutbanger and summerdays like this.
  6. simongt

    simongt Über Member

    Agree. Let her propel the bike 'hobbyhorse style' 'til she's used to the handling and balance, then put the pedals back on and progress from there. You may need to raise the saddle a bit when the pedals go back on though.
  7. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    It is a method that was perhaps not invented, but certainly pioneered, promoted and made popular by the Cycling Guru Richard Ballantyne in his bicycle books

    Remove pedals, lower seat so both feet are flat on the ground.
    Use as a balance bike
    When kid id scooting around and taking their feet off the ground and coasting, refit pedals
    Use the pedals as a foot rest when coasting
    Pedalling comes naturally

  8. keithmac

    keithmac Über Member

    My lad cracked it at 5 years old, took him to nice flat field and spent a good 3 hours pedalling and ballancing!.

    My daughter had just turned 5 and she's too lazy to put the effort in to pedal (or the gearing is not suiting her..).

    She's very good on her 2 wheeled scooter so I'll bide my time until she's tall enough to use my son's old 7 speed mtb (in 1st!).

    You can't rush it and if you push them they'll just resent it..
  9. hatler

    hatler Veteran

    ^ ^ This ^ ^
  10. hatler

    hatler Veteran

    I am of the view that the perfect combo is a balance bike combined with spells on either a kiddie tandem or a trailer bike. They get to learn balance and pedalling independently of each activity. Once they understand pedalling and can confidently ride a balance bike, the transition to pedalling their own bike takes only a matter of seconds.

    Grassy slight slopes are perfect for getting the hang of balancing.
    summerdays likes this.
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