Once your kid has mastered the balance bike they'll be ready to progress to a normal bike without training wheels, and the next challenge will be teaching them how to pedal. Michael is here to show his tried and true method to get your child confidently riding a bike in no time.
What you'll need
- A child that has mastered riding a balance bike. They should be quite confident rolling around and able to coast along with their feet up for short periods.
- A small pedal bike without training wheels. This will need to be big enough so that they can easily pedal without banging their knees on the handlebars, but not so big that they're too stretched out or can't touch the ground at all.
- An Ocky strap or bungee cord with a clip. A strap with a bit of stretch will make being pulled along feel much smoother for the rider. You'll want something that has a clip or loop on the end so that it creates a secure connection. A hooked end won't be suitable as it can easily detach and could be dangerous to the rider and yourself. If you don't have anything handy around the home to use as a strap, check out the Towwhee.
- A flat grassy area. Grass provides a relatively forgiving surface to fall on which will help with the riders' confidence. I would recommend that you steer clear of hard surfaces and gravel until they start to get the hang of things.
Attaching the strap
On most bikes, the sweet spot will be right at the top of the forks and around the bottom cup of the headset. Run the strap around the back of the fork and then clip it back onto itself and pull it tight. You'll want to keep the strap taut as you're towing them around so they're not getting jerked by the strap going tight.
Towing the rider
Slowly pull the rider around and encourage them to start pedalling. If they've just come off a balance bike the pedalling motion probably won't come to them straight away. By pulling them forward with the strap they'll be able to keep their balance and will have the time to start feeling out the pedalling motion. Some kids might really struggle with this at first so just try to keep things positive and fun and it'll come to them eventually.
Once they start pedalling you can start varying the tension of the strap to challenge them a bit. As you reduce the tension on the strap they'll need to pedal harder and you can easily increase it to get them going again if it looks like they're about to stall out.
If you follow these steps you'll have them zooming around on the bike in no time. Be sure to check out our other videos and tips on how to get your kid riding off-road.