Our son is two and a half, has been riding a strider since his first birthday, and is now learning to ride a pedal bike without training wheels. I’ve learned a ton throughout this process and figured I’d share what I’ve learned and hopefully pick up some insight from all of you.
First things first, Uncle Rico. This is NOT some sort of “How do I get my kid on a bike to fulfill all of my unfulfilled dreams” discussion . This is about helping your kids that already want to ride and express interest and desire. In other words, helping, not pushing.
Simon wanted to ride like his dad and all of his dad’s friends (Pete, Nate and Chad are his heroes) from before he was a year old, so we got him a cheap strider from Costco. It was only $50 at the time, very adjustable for tiny kids, and the steering was stiff. This final part was an unexpected perk that helped him be more stable.
Shortly after, our son began the N+1 experience when his “Uncle” Steven (our great friend and Cannondale Ambassador) got him the Trail Balance. It has fantastic bearings, it was made of Cannondale’s CAAD aluminum and is super light. It also has a lefty, which is just adorable. It took Simon a while to ride this because the steering was so light with the good bearings, but once he figured it out, he never wanted to ride the Chillafish BMXie. The bike’s great build quality enabled him to learn coasting, turning and balancing very easily.
Equipment aside, he was really scared to ride at first (but frustrated because he wanted to ride), so we took the following approach:
We started with letting him examine the bike in detail and just play with it. That allowed him to get more comfortable with it.
We then stepped up to picking up the bike and putting it down. We wanted him to know it was okay for it to fall over, and teach him how to solve that problem.
Then we taught him to walk his bike. He liked seeing me ride little homemade skinnies and bridges in the backyard, so we taught him to hold the handlebars and walk alongside the bike, making it do the same things I was doing.
We then taught him to sit on the bike and just hang out. More comfort building, and before long, he started to push along.
He was pushing around in no time and started to build up speed. Once he was building speed, I taught him to lift his feet by example (I’d do the same thing on my bike).
At that point he had all he needed, and next thing we knew he was constantly coasting, going down hills, pushing up hills, turning, weaving and having a blast.
Knowing he had striding down, we wanted to help him figure out pedaling. We got him a little firetruck that had pedals, and that helped him get used to the pedaling motion.
Now we just 3D printed a trainer for his small Specialized pedal bike and he is moving the pedaling motion to that bike.
Our hope is that he will be able to blend the two easily and safely whenever he wants to ride a pedal bike “like the fast kids”, as he says.
That’s been our process so far. Anything you’ve done differently (or in a addition) to help your little ones enjoy riding safely? Any bike or equipment recommendations?