To perservere with dd's cycling lessons?

(56 Posts)
Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 21:10:41

Dd is 10 and can't ride a bike. She's slightly dyspraxic and struggles with many physical activities. I obviously want to help and support her as much as possible.

Dh and I both think bike riding is a skill she should have, in later life she can then decide whether to use that skill or not. Plus they do cycling proficiency later on in Year 6 and I want her to have the choice whether to do it or not, rather than not be able to take part because she can't ride a bike.

She has started having private lessons with an excellent instructor. He's taught many kids to ride including special needs etc and has a lot of experience. Dd's had a few lessons and he says she's doing well. He's concentrating on getting her to balance which is the biggest aspect. But dd's finding it hard going and complains every time. But I know dd - she wants to be able to ride, she just doesn't want to go through the process of learning which for her could take some time.

A few years ago she struggled with swimming. It took a year of private lessons (and lots of moaning) until she could swim, but she eventually got to a point when she thanked me for persevering and now gets a lot of pleasure from swimming.

I've talked to a few adults who don't ride a bike and they say they wish they had learnt as children. Dh thinks we should insist she carries on. But I've got a few doubts in my mind and I know that riding a bike is not in the same league as swimming.


Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 21:12:27

Also, her complaint is that she doesn't like the instructor because he wasn't sympathetic when she (barely) hurt herself. She is a bit of a drama queen though!

OHforDUCKScake Sun 06-Oct-13 21:16:48

Ah! As soon as I saw the title I thought, I wonder if the child is dyspraxic.

We are having the same issue at the moment with out son. Tbh Im worried about the falls once he does learn hmm the tumbles off his scooter are pretty nasty. And I broke my arm falling off a bike when I was about his age, my balance is horrendous.

geekgal Sun 06-Oct-13 21:18:22

I learned how to ride a bike when I was quite young and I haven't even sat on one since I was about 10, so it's not something I've ever considered to be an important skill. I can't swim and I wish I had learned that instead, as my cycling proficiency won't help me if I fall off a boat!

There's no harm in encouraging if you think she wants to do it, but if she really doesn't want to do it then it's not the end of the world.

frogspoon Sun 06-Oct-13 21:19:56

Is she able to ride a bike with stabilisers?

If not I would encourage her to become confident at other aspects of riding a bike e.g. braking, changing direction, before taking them off, as she is finding balancing the tricky part, and learning to do it all simultaneously may be too much for her.

LessMissAbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:20:10

I think you're right. If she can master swimming, it should eventually click with cycling.

And its so important to learn motor skills when you're young as it much harder as an adult. My athletics coach used to say that the decline in British standards in middle distance running in men from the Steve Cram/Ovett/Coe era was due to children not being so active as children from African nations, so that when they came to him aged 14 or 15, it was already too late to train them to the standards achieved in the past, because they had too much catch up to do.

CrohnicallyLurking Sun 06-Oct-13 21:22:29

Just thinking, if balancing is the hard part for her, could she practice riding on a too-small bike that she can scoot with her feet, balance bike style? Then she doesn't have to coordinate balancing with pedalling, steering etc.

Ifcatshadthumbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:22:41

I think you are right to persevere.

Chippednailvarnish Sun 06-Oct-13 21:22:44

It's only going to get harder for her as she gets older if you allow her to stop now...

bigTillyMint Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:52

I work with someone who is probably a bit dyspraxic and cannot ride a bike. I don't think it has held her back at all. And DD was just saying that one of her friends (don't think she's dyspraxic) can't ride a bike.

As geekgal says, if she is keen then encourage her, but if not, it's not the end of the world.

If you can ride a bike, could she ride a trailer bike behind you to get more confident?

Ifcatshadthumbs Sun 06-Oct-13 21:23:56

Ds learnt by taking the peddles off his normal bike so he could master balance. It was mastering breaking that was the biggest issue!

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 06-Oct-13 21:25:11

Can I give a tip? My DD struggled...DH had a lightbulb moment and took the pedals off the bike. She learned then in the same way as you do on a balance bike (which your DD is too big for anyway)...what no pedals does for you is teach you that as long as the bike is in motion, you can stay up....let her scoot it along and feel it...forget about pedaling for now....she'll soon learn to lift her feet up and just ride along like a toddler does on a ride on toy....then when she's got that down, add pedals and tell her to carry on as before...not pedaling...she'll eventually just put her feet on the pedals to ride along and then pedal.

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 06-Oct-13 21:25:48

X posts with Cats ! grin it's obviously a good way to learn!

7to25 Sun 06-Oct-13 21:28:31

I have just taught my son, aged nine, to ride a bike using a you tube video.
There are seven steps and I showed him the video and told him what steps we were on.
They learn without pedals (as above) and on grass initially.
I honestly thought my son would never learn, he has!

WhizzforAtomms Sun 06-Oct-13 21:33:00

If she's saying her issue is the teacher (however unreasonable), just switch teacher! It doesn't really matter if that isn't the actual problem, it will give her a chance to start fresh and positive with someone new, rather than stick with someone she has a less good relationship with.

Stabilisers and balance bikes are going to be embarassing for a 10 year old - I don't think these are good ideas. Maybe a bmx, as it is small and she can stick her feet down if she wants to...

thehorridestmumintheworld Sun 06-Oct-13 21:33:44

I think persevere because it only takes a few tries and she will get it, if you let her give up because its too hard she will feel like she's failed at it. She doesn't have to carry on with it once she has learned, but she might want to.

bunnybing Sun 06-Oct-13 21:39:28

Sounds a bit like my dd2.

I taught my dd by lowering the saddle and getting her to practise balancing that way. It took a lot of patience she eventually learned last year and for a year she only rode on the (dead) flat. This summer she progressed to hills!
I did ask myself if she needed to learn, but decided it was worth persevering because I think she wanted to (deep down) for her own self-esteem and I think as an adult, although unlikely to ever be a cycling fanatic, she'll hopefully be able to use the skill at a fun, social level.

mrslaughan Sun 06-Oct-13 21:39:44

Yes - I think she should persevere .
Ds is dyspraxic, he learnt to ride at 6 1/2, though we taught him (it was a long processgrin)....... He is more fine motor dyspraxia.
My dnephew also dyspraxic, has also learnt to ride a bike, he has quite severe gross motor dyspraxia.
With both of them there was an incentive, and actually it was the same - a mountian bike.... But that was something they really wanted.
I suggest you "incentivize" her with something she really wants.
Your acknowledging it is something really hard, and you are rewarding her for pushing through it.

Bike riding is also something that will really help her dyspraxia, her core stability and the using both sides of her body in diff ways. Also helps with visual processing.... And that's just the start.

We now have a big dog, who has to be walked. Ds find it far easier to come with me in his bike, than in foot , which for some reason he finds far more tiring ( he is really fit - so it has to be about his dyspraxia)

DeWe Sun 06-Oct-13 21:40:12

There's a group called "Cycling for all":

They were at a parasport event I went to with dd2 age 9yo (upper arm amputee) and gave us lots of ideas as to how to adapt a bike for her. She learnt to ride it last Easter, and they were really thrilled to see her bike and how well she rode a couple of weeks ago.

They have lots of adapted bikes and I found them very helpful.

GoingGoingGoth Sun 06-Oct-13 21:40:37

My Dd has also just learnt without pedals, she got to the stage where she was whizzing around around after about 4 weeks. She then asked for them to be put back on and she just did it.

BettyFlour Sun 06-Oct-13 21:43:38

Take the pedals off the bike. She will learn to balance all by herself. Then once she can balance, put the pedals back on

BettyFlour Sun 06-Oct-13 21:45:12

Also, I would change her instructor. If he hasn't thought of removing the pedals then I don't rate him as an instructor

Notcontent Sun 06-Oct-13 21:47:02

Yes, do persevere - it is an important life skill. (Just enjoyed a lovely bike ride with my dd today...)

chickydoo Sun 06-Oct-13 21:48:32

My DD has dyspraxia, she failed her cycling proficiency twice.
She is now 18, and rides a bike with ease.

Custardo Sun 06-Oct-13 21:50:10

i couldnt ride a bike until i was 13 - no condition or anything - just shit scared of falling off and hurting myself

i now ride a bike to work daily. I don't swim that often though smile

Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 22:09:00

I think he has already taken he pedals off. She doesn't have her own bike so he's lending her one which is suitable for her. TBH I've handed over to him now and am leaving him to it. The issue is not which method to use, it's whether to carry on.

I suppose I could find a different instructor. But she could say she doesn't like the new one too!

ICameOnTheJitney Sun 06-Oct-13 22:13:15

She needs her own bike to begin with's hard to practice otherwise and one lesson a week won't do it.

cumfy Sun 06-Oct-13 23:21:18

She doesn't have her own bike

You need to get her one.

It's going to be much cheaper to buy a 2nd hand bike than pay for lessons.

I'm sure she'd get the hang within a week.

Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 23:24:59

The instructor has lent her the bike between lessons so she can practice.

cestlavielife Sun 06-Oct-13 23:25:04

get her a big trike, like a pashley

It took dh under a week to teach our friends son to ride his bike. HIS bike, that he could try out any time he wanted to. This boy also has dyspraxia. You need to get her a bike. And yourself too, if you dont have one, so you can cycle together.

Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 23:30:08

We have tried and failed to teach her for many, many years. That's why we've handed over to the professionals as a last resort!

We were planning in getting her an isla when she'd mastered it. You think I should get it now?

why an Isla?

Nothing wrong with Isla, they are just quite expensive and she will outgrow it quickly. (Like any bike, I suppose)

Dancergirl Sun 06-Oct-13 23:36:36

I know they're expensive but they're supposed to be amazing and much easier and lighter for a child to use. They resell on Ebay for nearly the full price.

Or shall I just get a cheapie Halfords bike?

Do you have an Evans cycles nearby? Check them out before you settle on the Isla, and see what you think? I would not go to Halfords.

cumfy Mon 07-Oct-13 22:19:39

Gumtree would be a good bet.

UniS Mon 07-Oct-13 22:25:40

If swimming took time and effort, then yes cycling will too. I'd encourage he to stick with it. it may not be her favourite sport but it will open up future possibilities to her both for transport and for fun.

Drama queen kids don't like it when coaches call their bluff on a "nothing injury" do they ( I have one of those).

One of the big confidence booster s I've seen with novice riders is getting them to go on a ride with a friend. Its stops being all about riding a bike and becomes looking for ponies/ blackberries/ the next bench etc.

Pontouf Mon 07-Oct-13 22:32:49

Persevere. I cannot ride a bike (really struggled to learn and just gave up trying) but I found it excruciatingly embarrassing as a teenager to admit that I can't do it. My DH is a keen cyclist and would love to go on family bike rides with our kids when they're a bit older - they're only 2.11 and 5mo at the moment. I am seriously thinking of getting an old bike and having a go but it is so much more embarrassing to try to learn as a grown up!

UniS Mon 07-Oct-13 23:07:57

Isla bikes are very nice, they vary in their handling. AT 10 I guess your DD is big enough to look at either the Beinn 26 or the Luath 26 or maybe the Creig 26. 3 very different Islabikes. I'd personally not put a unconfident rider on a luath, the frame is quite compact and the drop bars handling seems a bit twitchy compared to the wide flat bars on theBeinn. The Beinn is very stable, you can fit mud guards kick stand etc which makes it a bit heavier but more practical for winter riding. I've not seen a Creaig in action, they look like a good Mountain bike, but if all your doing is pottling on a traffic free trail or on quiet roads, then it's over kill. its best suited to a child who wants to thrash it fast on technical off road

BUT when your looking at 26 inch wheel bikes there are LOTS of manufacturers out there doing half way decent 26 inch wheel bikes. Look for a light bike , know what your DD weighs so you can compare to her body weight, 50% or less is good. Get slick/ semi slick or road tyres. knobbly tyres are hard work on hard ground and will just make it seem heavy , nosey and hard.

Bike hire outfits MIGHT be selling off this summers bikes at this time of year, can be a good way to get a decent price name brand bike and give then a good try before you buy.

My DS is on his 4th Isla bike, he uses it a lot and its been worth the investment for us. each one we have sold for about half its new price. Luath 26s seem to go for a bit more than half new price, thats what I'm looking out for to buy next as he is racing and would benefit from moving to a Luath from a beinn.

Tiggygirl Tue 08-Oct-13 15:01:12

Please help your daughter to carry on with her cycling .My ds has dyspraxia and learnt to ride his bike quite young ,but it did take him a lot longer than his brothers .We were told by his OT that riding a bike is one of the best exercises someone with dyspraxia should do .Apparently it can really help with their coordination and more .Despite the fact that my ds is much older it is always apparent when he has been on his bike and we always see significant improvement in him after .

mylittlesunshine Tue 08-Oct-13 15:21:08

I totally sympathise with you but I would definitely persevere with it. My son is 9 and can't cycle and every time we try it always ends in a big meltdown from him, swimming is the same he just cannot fathom any physical activity at all. He has been in swimming lessons for ages now and is getting there slowly I still hope he will be able to cycle one day too.

MillicentTendancies Tue 08-Oct-13 16:04:09

I couldnt ride without stabilisers till 11. Then I failed cycling proficiency twice too! Very glad I learnt to ride (badly) eventually though as I think it would be nigh on impossible to learn now.

lljkk Tue 08-Oct-13 17:04:04

I would reward her, OP. Give her extra computer time or sweets or whatever for each session she does without complaining.

Dancergirl Tue 08-Oct-13 23:25:51

Thanks all, I think my instincts were telling me to carry on even though it's really hard!

The question now though is, do I find a different instructor? And do I get her a bike now?

Dancergirl Tue 08-Oct-13 23:27:48

We had planned on buying her a bike when she'd mastered it, and as the current instructor is lending her a bike there didn't seem much point in buying one at the moment..... Not sure though...

UniS Wed 09-Oct-13 10:47:23

Does she get to use the loan bike for practise between classes? When I've coached novice cyclists its been clear which ones have gone out to ride their bike between sessions, as they tend to progress much faster than those who are not allowed / willing/ able to.

Where abouts in the country are you?

WilsonFrickett Wed 09-Oct-13 10:53:40

Are you taking her out a lot in-between lessons?

The other thing I would recommend is getting her a two-wheel scooter - you can pick one up very cheaply. This worked wonders for DS8.

- he mastered it really quickly
- the 'cool kids' at school also ride scooters, so he didn't feel out of place on it, which meant his overall confidence at 'riding stuff' increased
- it's still a balance thing, so overall his core strength increased which then helped him with his bike.

If you can get her going on a scooter, keep taking her out in-between lessons and keep going, I think it will eventually all click in to place.

BlackbeltinBS Wed 09-Oct-13 11:01:48

I'd get her a bike now - better to have regular five minute practices than long gaps in between. Don't get a Halfords one - we did and took it back because the brakes wouldn't work, but more to the point they weigh an absolute ton, I could barely lift the damn thing and when they lose their balance they are trapped under half a ton of steel. DD has a Ridgeback now which is lighter but not that expensive, Frog ones are supposed to be good (and lighter again) as well. Look on Ebay or something for a second hand one or just accept you'll be selling it on and recouping some cost that way.

MillicentTendancies Wed 09-Oct-13 11:23:48

I'd get her her own bike now - if she has a kind friend they could provide some help and encouragement - I had a friend almost 2 years younger who said "come on you can do it" and wanting to be brave and not lose face encouraged me to progress. Totally different I know as I was really lacking confidence rather than having dyspraxia.. so please ignore if not apt

NameyMcChanger Wed 09-Oct-13 11:52:55

I'm not sure whereabouts in the country you are op but I've found a place in Carlisle, Cumbria which gives cycling lessons to disabled children. You can also hire trikes there for £2 or so, it's here

quoteunquote Wed 09-Oct-13 12:04:55

OP, I recommend finding your local indoor climbing wall, that runs the
NICAS scheme,

We have a lot of success with dyspraxia people, three of our coaches have dyspraxia issues, my son has made huge progress with his coordination. He taken his personal successes into other areas of his life, and has made great progress in other areas (dyslexia challenges), as his confidence has grown, he is prepared to keep trying, knowing he will eventually succeed.

It really good for the brain training, as you can see where a hand or foot should go, you have to force yourself to make the move as your arms start to pump, and the brain registers the process,

It's really important to go at your own pace, but each time you go, you will see a slight progress, each and every time.

It's incredible self rewarding for an individual, as it they find themselves overcoming lots of personal hurdles.

we have just had a dyspraxia woman in her 40s, who has been trying to pass her driving test for many years in an automatic, she was advised to start climbing as last ditch chance, she started on the boulder wall, only able to make one move before falling off onto the crash mat, it took her a year, climbs like a pro now, and past her test, having been told she never would by several expert instructors, we now have been sent two more adults in the same predicament, she is coaching them.

It really brain trains the body coordination, do a big R and L on the hands, it helps to start, and always hire the climbing shoes(buy when she gets into it)

I suggest both you and your husband do enough lessons (two or three)to be qualified to belay, then you can pop along and do cheap odd hours practice, two or three short sessions a week and you will see rapid improvements.

One of the comments we hear a lot is that dyspraxia children's bike riding improves, reading and they suffer fewer injuries, we certainly find DS has improved, his spacial awareness is just fab now, and he gets up and down stairs without stumbling.

and if you do the NICAS you end up with a great qualification, that universities recognise as great personal development, plus you will be really fit (20 mins on the wall is equal to an hour in the gym), and the great outdoors is an endlessly brilliant hobby.

Dancergirl Wed 09-Oct-13 14:56:39

Wow, thanks quote funnily enough, I'd always fancied giving climbing a go myself!

Lots of really great advice on here, thank you so much.

We do have the bike to practice on between lessons but in reality it doesn't seem to happen. I feel sorry for dd, she seems to have so much stuff to DO at the moment. We had a physio appointment for her rolling ankles (pronation), he's giving her exercises to be done 3 times a day! She's doing really well with doing them but it's a pain. And she's in the middle of 11+ exams and is working really hard. It's hard as a parent to get this all in! And I want to make sure she also has time to relax and see friends/do fun stuff.

They don't do cycling proficiency until next Spring so we've got a bit of time. I wonder whether to take a break until all the 11+ exams are over in January..?

moldingsunbeams Wed 09-Oct-13 15:08:00

Oh thanks for that Quote, Dyspraxic dd (among other things ) had a go at climbing at a fun day and loved it so we have been looking for somewhere to have a proper go.

quoteunquote Thu 10-Oct-13 00:57:01

Do please have a go we have people climbing from 4 to 90. there are three ladies who are in their 70s and 80s, who are just amazing.

we have mums on the bolder walls with babies on the crash mats(opposite ends)

It's additive, will make you fit, clear your mind (you can't think about anything else when you climb)

and you get to stand in the most impressive places in the world.

My daughter wears a t-shirt that has on it, Climb like a Girl, you will get really good, within a few months, and feel on top of the world.

Plus if they get into it, all they ever want for Christmas is kit, it makes it really easy.

and if you climb you can eat as much as you like as you burn it off instantly.

fussy eaters will inhale anything you put in front of them after a two hour session, my friend's daughter went from turning her nose up at almost everything you would want a child eat, to demanding more vegetables, within weeks.

MrsMook Thu 10-Oct-13 06:20:55

I was 19 when I learnt to ride a bike. I bought it with my first wage from my new job- I had to walk it home as I had no other way to do it!

The next day I went out to some private roads that were quiet and sussed it.

(Funnily I mastered swimming at 16. I'm also awful at throwing and catching but seemed to have improved with age)

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