Bike riding is fun, excellent exercise, and provides a family recreational activity. Most children are ready
to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle between the ages of three and six. Teaching your child to ride a
bike is easier if you take your time and go through the process step by step.
Step 1 – Find a Good Place
The best area for bike riding is flat, paved, and empty. Parking lots, basketball or tennis courts, a long
driveway, or a quiet residential street are all good choices.
Step 2 – Prepare Your Child
Make sure your child is wearing long pants to protect lower legs and knees, sturdy shoes (no slip-on
sandals), and a helmet that fits properly. Choose a time when your child is well rested and in a good
mood. Talk about bike safety and have an encouraging conversation, making sure you answer any
questions, before your begin your practice.
Step 3 – Start Slow
Set aside a sufficient amount of time so that you do not need to rush through the process of teaching
your child how to ride a bike. Take your time. If you child wants to stop, take a break and relax and then
start again. Explain that it takes some time to master bike riding, but that you both need to keep going
in order to be successful, and then begin again.
Step 4 – Teach balancing
The first thing your child needs to learn is how to balance on the bike. Make sure the seat is low enough
that your child can place feet on the ground when necessary. Have your child sit on the bike, putting his
feet on the ground on both sides. Explain that you do not want him to worry about pedaling the bike
yet. If the pedals seem to get in your child’s way, remove them until balancing, scooting, and steering
have all been mastered.
Step 5 – Scooting
Next have you child use their feet to scoot forward. When this becomes comfortable, have your child
scoot along and lift the feet up for a few seconds at a time. Guide them as they continue to scoot and
balance for longer periods.
Step 6 – Learning to Steer
Create a pattern for your child to scoot and coast through to practice steering. You can use objects for
your child to steer around or make a trail with sidewalk chalk. Your child will be ready for the next step
when they can coast and steer with relative ease.
Step 7 – Pedaling
Once your child feels comfortable with balancing, it is time to teach pedaling. If you removed the pedals previously, now is the time to reattach them. Make sure the bike seat is low enough that your child can keep one foot on the ground while placing the other foot on top of the pedal. Have your child press down on the pedal to move the bike forward. You may wish to hold on to your child the first few times, if they have trouble pedaling and balancing at the same time. Have them repeat the pedaling with alternating feet.
Step 8 – Encourage Independence
Now your child is ready to ride the bike. Hold on to the back of the seat to help with balance as your
child pedals the bike and moves forward. At some point, you and your child will both feel comfortable
enough that you can let go. Repeat this process until your child is riding the bike without you holding on.
Step 9 – Braking
Now is the time to explain braking. Make sure your child understands that a slow, steady, pressure
should be used. Again, you probably want to hold onto the bike for your child’s first few stops. Most
bikes designed for children brake by using a backward motion of the pedal. Make sure your child also
uses one foot on the ground to slow the bike.
Step 10 – Prepare Your Child for Independent Riding
Review bike-riding rules. Your child should practice every day with supervision for at least a week before
riding alone. You and your child will both know when bike-riding skills are mastered. Remember to
remain positive and build your child’s confidence in their ability to ride a bike.
Teaching your child how to ride a bike takes time and patience. Both of you will real a sense of
accomplishment and pride once bike riding is mastered. The time you spend together as your child
learns this skill will be a memory that will last a lifetime for both of you.