Spike is quite late to the learning to ride a bike thing. She’s coming up to 5 and is still on stabilisers, with only a few outings on the bike she has because the weather over winter was awful. But I thought I’d share a little bit about her learning so far.
A little late in starting
Before we moved last August she had a balance bike but that was barely used. We lived on a main road and there weren’t many safe spaces to learn. She also HATED her helmet and I refused to let her ride without one. When we moved we got rid of the balance bike and T’s mum bought her a new bike from Halfords in early September. Naturally though, she’d only been on it a few times before the rain and winter started so she hadn’t gained any confidence on it. So by the time she’d spent any decent time on it she was 4 and a half.
More time to focus
At the start of March I noted in my bullet journal that I wanted to focus on getting her confidence on the bike up. The weather was getting better and where we live now there are plenty of places to learn as its a quite estate. We started going out each weekend. Just for half an hour or so, we’d go up and down the street outside the house. Then lockdown happened giving us even more time to focus.
Car park riding
The street is busier during the week as we live on a new build estate thats so new our neighbours houses aren’t finished yet. There is however a car park round the side of our little block that is complete and quiet. It’s flat at the top and has a hill up it. With only around 10 parking spaces it was the perfect place to teach Spike with space to turn around and go round corners etc. This really helped build her confidence as we were never far away.
Stabilisers on a bike
If you look up learning to ride a bike online, you will see so many places recommending that you dont give your child stabilisers. We did. Spike is not a confident child when it comes to her own body’s ability. It’s something we are working on. I knew that we wouldn’t be able to get her to even entertain the idea of riding a bike without being able to see that it stands up on its own.
Learning with stabilisers
I’m quite glad we got Spike to learn with stabilisers as it has greatly increased her confidence. When we started, she just kept looking at her feet. She couldn’t get the idea of the pedals and couldn’t push off with the pedals at all. After many minutes spent shouting “watch where you’re going!” she got it though. She started looking up instead of at her feet. All we need is to get her to understand that you have to keep pedalling when going up hill and we’ll be there!
Getting your child off stabilisers
When we bought the bike the person at the shop suggested we slowly move the stabilisers up as Spike becomes more confident. Moving one up then the other was his suggestion as it means the child has to balance the bike more. I will be giving this a go soon. However there is also a theory that if you take off the stabilisers and the pedals, then get them to ‘balance bike’ for a little bit, then place one pedal on and get them to scoot, and the next one once they are confident with that, it helps too.
Bike riding in the sun
Last weekend we managed a 3 mile walk with Spike on her bike, something which I wouldn’t have thought possibly just a few weeks ago. I’m grateful for the extra time we’ve had at home during the last six weeks. It has meant that I can spend the time teaching her and building her confidence with her bike and I know I’m lucky as not all parents will get that. However I think doing what we did over the course of the weekends, consistently would have also helped.