Tips for kids learning to ride a road bike

24 August 2021

Tips for kids learning to ride a road bike

Investing in a road bike is investing in your child’s hobby and passion, so ensuring they have a correctly-sized road bike is the first step to help them fall in love with road cycling!

Kids’ road-specific bikes will be lightweight, with narrow, short-drop handlebars and auxiliary brake-levers to provide an additional braking control position on top of the handlebars to help your child increase their distance, speed and confidence.

Now that they’re set to venture out on the road, we take a look at the best seating position and the three main riding positions:

Road bike seating position

Your child’s saddle should be at a height where they can pedal freely, and they should have a slight bend in their knee when the pedal is at its lowest point. They should also have relaxed, slightly bent elbows too as riding with straight arms can put a lot of weight in the hands and handlebars! The best way to ensure the arm positioning is correct is to check that from the elbow through to the fingers on the brakes the arm is in a straight line.

Make sure that your child keeps their knee over the pedals to be more efficient and ride faster!

Road bike riding positions

Riding on the top of the handlebars

This position is mostly used for hilly climbs allowing your child to breathe easier, whilst having good access to the extra brake position on top of the handlebars.

Riding on the hoods

As your child becomes more confident on a road bike, they will probably ride on the hoods the most as it is the most relaxed position and it’s also the easiest to shift gears.

Riding on the drops

This position is mostly used for downhill riding, as your child will have more control over the bike as the gravity is lower and they will be more aerodynamic. This position also offers better balance than on the hoods. Braking whilst on the drops can be more powerful due to better leverage, so it’s best not to snatch the brakes whilst travelling at high speeds.

Take a look at this video to see the different riding positions in action:

Road bike tips from our ambassador Aria

"I was really nervous with my first road bike because the body position was so different to what I was used to. I started out by holding the handlebars on top and keeping my body upright because this was more comfortable. I was quite wobbly at first but once I got my confidence it just felt natural to hold the drop handlebars. I could ride faster and it was a lot easier. A road bike doesn't have suspension so it's best to avoid bumps. The main thing is to keep going, it will soon be easy!"Aria, Aged 9

Learn at the local cycling club

Joining a local junior bike club could be the ideal way to help your child learn bike skills in a safe environment before heading out on the road. There are many clubs that accommodate specific sessions for children. Take a look at the British Cycling site to find a club local to you in the UK.

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