Life

Ask the Expert: Tips on teaching a child to ride a bike

Balance bikes give kids experience of balancing on two wheels and should make stabilisers unnecessary

Q: "How should I teach my five-year-old to ride a bike?"

A: Isla Rowntree, founder of Isla Bikes, says: "Before your child cycles, we recommend using a balance bike to learn the fundamentals of balancing on two wheels.

"After developing proficiency with a balance bike, stabilisers will be unnecessary when beginning to pedal. Find a large, safe, flat, open space in which to practice. Adjust the saddle height so your child can place the balls of their feet on the floor.

"Standing behind them, hold just under their armpits but don't support the bike itself. Push your child as they pedal and let the bike wander. Leaning your child to the left or right steers the bike and teaches them that leaning is essential to steer.

"Gradually your child will learn to balance, pedal and steer simultaneously. Gently loosen your grip, possibly without them realising, and enjoy watching your child cycle unaided.

"The last skill to master is setting off from stationary. Have your child put either pedal just past the top most part of the pedal circle. A solid push on the pedal will gather enough momentum to enable them to raise both feet and begin pedalling."

:: For more advice on how to teach children to cycle, visit www.islabikes.co.uk.

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