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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

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