Ready To Pedal?
27 March 2020 - Learning to Ride
Is Your Child Ready To Pedal?
How do you know when it’s time to teach your child to pedal? The most obvious indicator is when they have developed excellent control and confidence on their balance bike. There are a few signs to look out for too, so before you rush off to order a pedal bike run through this checklist first.
Signs they are ready to Graduate:
The basic signs are being able to run, glide, brake and steer but what should you be looking for to know when they have truly mastered these techniques?
We have put together a Ten-point checklist to help you decide if it’s time to move up to the next stage!
- 🎓 Are they gliding - travelling with enough speed to keep moving when their feet are lifted?
- 🎓 Can they manoeuvre the bike when both feet are off the floor?
- 🎓 Are they continually lifting up their feet and doing so for long periods of time?
- 🎓 Can they manage fast changes in direction easily? This goes hand in hand with do they have good hand/eye coordination?
- 🎓 Are they shifting their weight in and out of turns?
- 🎓 Are they able to remain on the bike (still gliding) when up against obstacles like curbs, tree branches and rocks?
- 🎓 Do they instinctively lean forwards or back when going up/downhill?
- 🎓 Can they steer into a fall to prevent a bigger wipeout?
- 🎓 Can they comfortably ride their bike for more than 1 mile?
- 🎓 Have they asked for a Pedal bike?
These simple manoeuvres listed above all suggest they are ready to pedal. For example, take point number 3. If you find your child is propelling the bike forward but keeping their feet on the ground, this suggests they may not have learnt or be comfortable with the skill of balancing just yet. When they lift their feet they learn to move with the bike and lean with their bodies rather than just pushing the bike along. This ability to lean is also seen in the checklist.
Once you can see they have ticked all the boxes on our 10 point checklist, another way to tell is just to watch them riding. Are they good at manoeuvring the bike? Perhaps they are trying to do tricks or starting to run with the bike to increase speed. These all show a higher level of skill when it comes to steering the bike as well as just balancing.
There are many individual cycling instructors and courses across the country offering sessions to learn and perfect all of the skills listed above.
Mini Bikers run Balanceability classes around Leicester for both toddler bikes and pedal bikes. They have a 3 stage training plan to get your child up and wheeling in no time!
If you do not have a local Balanceability class if your area then don’t worry. They have created a great Parents Pack to help you to teach your child. Click HERE to download.
Why Should You Be Sure Before Buying A Pedal Bike?
Learning to ride a bike is tricky so it is worth considering if your child is developmentally ready for this progression. Pedalling and steering whilst maintaining balance is massively multitasking for a young child. If your child is struggling it may not be that pedalling is too difficult. It is sometimes the case that whilst they’ve mastered their Balance Bike they don’t quite have the coordination to balance and push the pedals at the same time.
Don’t worry if your child has outgrown their Balance Bike and isn’t quite ready to pedal yet. You don’t need to purchase a bigger Balance Bike, our First Pedal bikes are a fantastic short term option as a larger Balance Bike, all you have to do is take the pedals off.
Yas, the founder of Mini Bikers, feels that when it comes to riding a pedal bike if they are progressing from a Balance Bike the transition is a lot easier.
Children have already mastered the balancing, steering and braking. Just the pedalling left to do!
Don’t Get Rid Of Their Balance Bike Straight Away!
At first, you may find they are still keen to ride their balance bike (if it’s still in the house), even after they have learnt to pedal. As their first-ever bike, we have seen many riders become attached to their Tadpoles! After all, they are super fun little bikes. They will learn to shift their weight and go fast on their pedal bike, but at first, they will be focussing on pedalling, steering and balancing all together.
We would recommend holding onto it for a few weeks before passing it onto a sibling or friend. You may find they want to pick it up just to enjoy zooming around whilst they master their new pedal bike. Having it around will help keep them motivated and prevent any loss of enjoyment for cycling if they struggle with their pedal bike at first.
If you think your child is ready to pedal then head over to our First Pedal range of child’s bikes to find the next bike in their cycling journey and watch out for our upcoming blog post on learning to pedal.⚙