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Riding a bike is a lot of fun for kids as they get older. Not to mention, it gets them outside and engaged with one another. Always a win! Learning to ride a 2-wheeled bicycle is an important milestone for any child and here are the steps to get started.

When to Learn to Ride a Bike

Kids usually learn to ride a bike sometime between the ages of 3 and 8, with 5-years-old being the most common for a child to start riding. Development skills are one of the factors that can influence when a child will start riding a bike on his/her own. Availability is another factor. A child can’t learn how to ride a 2-wheeled bicycle unless you take off the training wheels and get a bigger bike! More factors include:

  • Siblings, friends, and neighbors who ride two-wheeled bikes make a younger child eager to learn
  • Availability for a safe place to practice
  • Having a general interest in the activity compared to skateboards or scooters

How to Learn to Ride a Bike

As with most things in parenting, there’s no one style of teaching that works for every child. Although we often hear stories of the kids who get on a bike for the first time and just go, that is definitely not the norm. 

We suggest starting to teach your child to ride a bike the old-fashioned way: run alongside your child and hold onto the back of the bike, eventually letting go when you feel secure in your his/her stability. 

Other teaching methods include:

  • Using a balance bike or taking the pedals off and lifting the seat to act as one
  • Telling your child to turn in the opposite direction from where they are falling (counter-steering) will straighten them out 
  • Raising the training wheels a little at a time

All of these methods have proven to work fairly quickly to teach kids how to ride a bike. With that said, don’t worry too much on choosing which method is “right” or “wrong,” but rather focus on what you believe will work best for your child in his/her learning process. Most importantly, let this be a fun thing to do with your child! If at any time, you or your little one becomes frustrated, either try a different method or let it go and pick it up another day. 

Teaching Safety 

Aside from having a fun time, safety is the biggest concern once your child is off riding a bike on his/her own. Teach your child how to wear a helmet properly and be sure to wear one yourself to set an example. Spot out the best paths and bike lanes that separate your child from traffic and teach traffic awareness. Lastly, be sure your kids wear bright colors and have bells on all of their bikes. Let them practice using their bells a couple times before seeing them off!

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