Teaching kids to ride a bike: Part I

We believe in the amazing freedom and confidence a Balance Bike gives kids. We've seen it with our own children and have seen it in our friend's kids, all of whom own balance bikes. The thing we were looking forward to next was seeing our 4 year old transition from a balance bike to a full kids pedal bike. We hope that in sharing our experience you learn from it. Buying our first kids pedal bike So, we purchased a Louis Garneau F-16 pedal bike (16" wheels). It seems, in Vancouver at least, that the Louis Garneau range seems to be the most popular around where we live. We almost went for the 14" wheels but figured our older kid would out grow it too fast. The thing we first noticed is that the F-16 is a heavy pedal bike, big change and surprising they can't make them lighter in this day and age. It also came pre-assembled with training wheels. We took these off immediately confident in our belief the Balance Bike would have removed the need for training wheels and would only reverse the positives being on a balance bike had had. First bike ride with pedals So with great enthusiasm we headed to the park. Putting our rather tall 4-year-old in the seat we started our first run with Dad holding on to the back of the seat encouraging the need to pedal and balance. We managed to try this 'launching' event 4 times before our 4-year-old decided it was time to give up. Our first reaction was to push on but to be honest, we'd all lost the taste for it. It was hot and sunny, the bike was heavy and he'd already fallen over once with the bike, while standing still. Paying someone to help you teach your kids to ride The second ride was a paid trip to peddalheads in Vancouver. Which is quite expensive but we figured we hadn't had any time to get out again so they could try it with them for an afternoon. Pedalheads seemed to not do much more than we had the first time but the results we're much better. With a push from the instructor he launched off steering and pedaling with relative ease. Ultimately he ran out of steam but the basics were clearly mastered and exhibited from his time with his balance bike; He could balance, steer and now pedal with no training wheels.  Accepting that teaching your kids to ride might take time This is our most recent attempt, which was a balance between the first attempt and the second attempt. So far it's looking good. Remember we have only had 3 attempts at riding and the times we are getting out on the bike are only in 10-15 minute sessions so we can't expect much. 4-year-old isn't even that keen to try riding so that is about all we get out of him. But we know his way of doing things is deciding when he is ready, not when we are so when he is ready it'll be a different story. So Part II of this post will be an update on how things are progressing. Hopefully summer holds on. Another part of this story is our 19 month old trying out his brothers old balance bike - the Strider Bike, but that is a story for another post.  Had a similar experience? Have any tips and tricks for other parents to learn from? Share them in the comments below This series is complete see the second and third posts.

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