Tips to Help Your Child Learn How to Ride a Street Bike

Many children are fearful and frustrated with riding and give up too soon because of falls. A skinned elbow or knee shouldn't keep a child from the fun of bike riding. How can a parent help his child learn how to ride a street bike?

The Bike
The bicycle itself should be in good condition, with seat and handlebars clean and adjusted to the child's size. A child under five will probably need training wheels and a well oiled chain with a metal chain guard. Check for tightness of the bike's parts and adjust seat to child's height.

The bike should have a single gear and coaster (foot) brakes. Speed bikes, racing bikes and mountain bikes with complicated gears and cables are not suitable for children just learning the ropes.

The bike should be tall enough for the child to straddle the crossbar and still touch the ground with an inch or so to spare. Training wheels build confidence in steering and pedaling before adding the balance issue.

The Child
A child is ready to learn to ride when he has developed coordination and balance. His gross motor skills should be developed to the point where he can run, play and kick without any trouble balancing.

Have him practice bicycling with his back on the grass or floor and hands on hips, feet pedaling the air. Doing some jumping jacks and practicing hopping on one foot will help your child build stronger leg muscles and develop balance.

Encouragement and physical aid from you as a parent can make the difference for a child trying to learn the skill of bike riding. Stay close by and offer plenty of advice and applause, plus a guiding hand beside the child and soon he will be riding on his own.

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