Teaching an older child to cycle
5 November 2021
With the release of our new Frog 47 bikes, we thought it would be good to share with you the ways in which to help a slightly older child how to ride a bike.
Teaching children how to ride tends to start anywhere between the ages of 2 years all the way up to around 8 years old. This is mostly due to the fact that children become interested at different ages and learn at different rates.
There are pros and cons for any age! Whilst it’s somewhat easier to teach a more fearless toddler how to cycle, with that comes its trials! And teaching older children means they are more aware of their surroundings and potential hazards so may be less confident.
But any age is a good age to start cycling because it brings a multitude of benefits and can offer children the feeling of freedom and help build confidence!
So, if your child is a little older and still isn’t riding a bike, today is the day to start teaching them.
FIND SOME OPEN SPACE
Choose a location that offers lots of open space and preferably with flat paths, such as parks. Learning to ride on grass or places with slopes can be tiresome for kids, so paved flat areas work best.
LEARNING THE ART OF BALANCE
One of the most important things for a child to learn on a bike is how to balance. Learning this skill first and foremost will set them up for the pedalling part. Ensure that the child can touch the floor with their feet and then simply allow them to push themselves around on the bike, like a balance bike (without using the pedals). This will help them feel and understand when the bike is leaning and how to counteract it.
USING THE BRAKES
Explain the brakes to your child and which ones they should use to slow which wheel. Whilst they are balancing on the bike get them to try out the brakes gently. Check out our Teaching a child to use brakes blog for more information.
LET THEM PEDAL
When assisting the child to pedal, hold on to them around their torso or the back of the bike saddle. Do not hold the handlebars as you will be inclined to take control and steering is something the child needs to learn. By holding on to them or the saddle it will provide the child with reassurance that they are not alone and that you will be there if they feel out of control. As they get more comfortable you can try letting go for brief moments. And then extending the time more and more until they begin pedalling alone.
TIPS FROM BIKEABILITY
We’ve spoken to the experts at Bikeability who have shared their tips: “When teaching a child of any age to cycle it’s important to start off with the basics – balance! Even if your child is too big for a balance bike, taking the pedals off any Frog bike can help turn it into a balance bike. “Get some practice with how to hold handlebars too. Many children will grip their handlebars – but white knuckle riding isn’t helpful for anyone! Before you get on the bike, roll up a newspaper or magazine and ask them to hold it without squeezing it. This will help children learn to gently hold their handlebars.
“Once you’re ready to get on the bike, ask your child to imagine they are superglued to the saddle, this will help them get used to scooting and gliding, and improve their balance.
“Once they’ve got the hang of balancing you can put your pedals back on to get cycling. Try not to hold onto your child, keeping your hands off will help them learn to steady any wobbles by themselves. Instead, stand in front of them to encourage them to look up. And keep smiling! Children learn best when they’re relaxed and having fun. Take your time, keep your chin up and laugh your way through learning.
“If you’re having trouble or your child is getting frustrated, try a different environment. They might find it easier to cycle on tarmac compared to grass for example. And remember, every child learns at their own pace and learning to cycle should be fun, not frustrating! As well as teaching your children to cycle, help them learn essential preparation and maintenance skills, you can start by watching this video from Bikeability.”
Patrick Jarman, Bikeability Instructor
THE NEW FROG 47 BIKE
The First Pedal 47 is the third bike in our new and improved frame range, that has been carefully designed to help maximise the lifetime of the bike for a growing child. It is the ideal pedal bike for 4 to 6-year-olds with an average inside leg of 47cm.
The Frog 47 offers a super lightweight frame, for ease of handling, weighing just 6.75kg. It is one of the lightest 18” kids’ bikes on the market. Learn more about the Frog 47 >>
ORDER FROM YOUR BIKE SHOP
Frog 47s are now available to order from your local bike shop. Find your nearest stockist here >>