Do Bicycle Training Wheels Help Kids Learn to Ride

Do bicycle training wheels help or hinder a child who is learning to ride?

Parents differ in their opinion of the effectiveness of training wheels. Some believe that the wheels are a nuisance and prevent the child from learning to balance. Still other parents believe that training wheels are invaluable in teaching the child to handle his bicycle well.

Support While Training
The little bit of support afforded by the training wheels may be a simple comforting boost to a child's self confidence. Often, a child only really uses the training wheels while he is starting or stopping the bike. Once his feet have started pedaling he can ride unaided, since the bike's momentum holds the bike upright. The wheels may not have much effect at all, but the child feels safer.

Position the training wheels to make them a help rather than a hindrance. Both wheels should be positioned so that they do not touch the ground when the bike is upright. They should be ½  to 1 inch off the ground. The wheels should help a wobbly rider to get traction to take off, not to turn a two-wheel bike into a four-wheeled bike.

If all three wheels in back (the back wheel and the two training wheels) are down at once, the bike can easily flip.

Learning to Ride Solo
As the child rides, the training wheels should correct him any time he begins to falter. After he learns to ride faster he will not need the trainers to correct balance. The movement of the bike itself will help hold it upright.

Most children are able to ride without training wheels when they are four to five years old, depending on the individual's development of the gross motor skills.

The training wheels also hold the bike upright when the child is getting on and off. This gives a child the encouragement and stable feeling he needs to learn to ride on his own.

Training wheels or not? It's up to the parent, of course. Many a child has learned without them. However, training wheels can be a definite benefit, especially for the child who is eager to start riding early.

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