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How do we help DD to learn to ride a bike?

(19 Posts)
Middleageddebauchery Tue 24-Apr-18 17:49:11

DD is 10. We've been trying to get her to ride a bike for years, but totally failed. She says she's scared and can't do it. It's driving us nuts as there are so many family things we'd like to do that involve cycling, and we can't do them ( other DC can ride a bike).

Bit of history- had a balance bike at 3, she didn't like it / couldn't work it out. No probs we just left it. Inherited older DCs bike with stabilizers at 5, couldn't work out which way to do the pedals. We tried on and off for a couple of years, but recently have just given up so she doesn't get stressed.

There's now a school trip coming up which will involve cycling, but she's still reluctant.

Any ideas?

Grasslands Tue 24-Apr-18 18:18:11

Could you not pop her on an exercise bike a half a dozen times to get the pedaling down pat then transition to a bicycle that’s on a stationary pedestal, then onto a vacant paved spot? I’d leave stabilizers on as long as necessary.

incywincybitofa Tue 24-Apr-18 18:23:49

The exercise bike sounds like a good idea for the pedaling, the key thing is to make sure the bike is the right size and the saddle is the right height. Frog and Isla do some good guides on this.
With our DD (younger) we took the pedals off her bike, (no stabilizers) then added one pedal back on, then both. But the difference is our DD wanted to learn, if yours doesn't then does she need to?
We used this for the gist of it and went with the flow and

se22mother Tue 24-Apr-18 18:26:03

My dd didn't get it. I booked her a couple of individual cycling lessons via the local council. She is now fine.

Nottheduchessofcambridge Tue 24-Apr-18 18:28:09

Sundays, empty car park, lots of running while holding on to the seat. Make sure the bike isn’t too big or she won’t feel safe.

TeenTimesTwo Tue 24-Apr-18 18:29:52

Exercise bike sounds good for pedalling

Otherwise find a grassy slope away from peers and get her free-wheeling down it to learn the balance (without stabilisers).

Are the rest of her motor skills OK? Dyspraxic children often have trouble learning to cycle. We had to push through tears with dyspraxic DD1 and do bribery with DD2 (poor motor skills).

At least as she is 10 you will get less back ache holding onto the saddle!

TeenTimesTwo Tue 24-Apr-18 18:30:58

Agree re smaller bike. To learn she needs to easily be able to put both feet firmly down on the ground so she knows she has the safety net.

HeyMicky Tue 24-Apr-18 18:31:53

A long stretchy scarf across her chest and under her arms. You can kind of suspend her at first then gradually let the scarf out as she gets more confident. You can steer her a bit too this way. Eventually you can pull the scarf away completely

GreenTulips Tue 24-Apr-18 18:32:18

Two things

Y shaped legs is she wobbled so doesn't fall to the ground

Check her arms are loose - it's usually these that cause the issue as opposed to peddles and balance

Get someone else to teach her is the best option (I've taught 15 local kids so far)

xyzandabc Tue 24-Apr-18 18:41:39

At 10, I think you might struggle if she really doesn't want to do it.
As others have said, make sure she can put both feet on the floor when sitting on the saddle. So bike won't be too big.

If you have one or can borrow one, I would highly recommend a Frog or Isla bike, they are much much lighter than a standard Halfords or Raleigh type one so will be easier for her to control.

I wouldn't bother with stabilisers, they just teach kids that they can lean far one way and the other and don't help with balance at all. I don't think you'd get stabilisers for that size bike anyway.

Once you have the right size bike sorted, take the pedals off. Let her get used to just scooting it along a flat paved surface. This gets her used to the feel and balance. Cam practise with the brakes too. Once she can do that confidently, then put the pedals back on and teach the pedalling action. As others have suggested, it may help the confidence to practise on an exercise bike first.

With the above method she's only have to concentrate on one skill at a time, either balancing or pedalling, not both at once.

What happens with the school trip if she can't master it by then? School must have taken others before, or the place they are going will have had kids who couldn't ride a bike. If you know in advance what will happen and can talk to dd about it, it may help with any anxiety about the trip and less pressure might even help with the learning.

Good luck

TittyGolightly Tue 24-Apr-18 18:42:56

Sundays, empty car park, lots of running while holding on to the seat. Make sure the bike isn’t too big or she won’t feel safe.


Middleageddebauchery Wed 25-Apr-18 07:09:19

Thanks for the replies. We've tried the empty car park / no pedals thing but no success. Think we'll try again. I hadn't thought about her arms being loose, thanks for that tip Tulips, I'll definitely check.

I do think the best option is to find someone else to teach her. I'm just not sure where to ask! DH and I are v keen cyclists ( both commute to work by bike), but we just can't seem to help her.

hollybarfoot Wed 25-Apr-18 11:53:32

Could you put stabilizers back on for a while or suggest she goes out with some friends on a bike ride. try to be patient (i know it can be hard) and just keep reassuring her that she will be able to do it. Maybe ask her what she is scared of and take her somewhere it won't hurt, like a large field.

Cloud9Until6am Wed 25-Apr-18 11:54:25

There are two parts to learning to ride a bike - balance and pedalling. A bike with no pedals (any bike with the pedals removed) will allow her to get her balance, then pedals can be reintroduced.

If she has some anxiety over riding already it may be too much to get her on the bike straight away. Try just talking through the different parts of a bike- showing and touching them - what they are and how they work. If you're into bikes yourself could she help you repair a puncture/ clean and oil the bike? Next try just walking with the bike - straight, then turning left to right. Then how to get on and off (swing leg over back of bike) and put the bike down safely (lean against a wall). Most of all - don't rush it as this will increase her anxiety.

If you're really struggling at home but she's keen to learn - Bikeability instructors are qualified to teach this kind of thing.

Fatted Thu 26-Apr-18 00:40:07

I'm probably in the minority here, but maybe she just doesn't want to ride a bike and it's not fair to push her into doing it?

negomi90 Thu 26-Apr-18 00:48:24

I don't like bikes and can't ride them. Its irrational but I feel they're unsafe and I feel fast and vulnerable.
If she doesn't want to, don't force it. If you do and somehow manage to teach her against her will, she'll still hate it and your won't have those family bike rides you want as she'll be miserable (and likely inflicting it on everyone else)

allchangenochange Thu 26-Apr-18 00:50:32

Our council had cycling lessons advertised. Their cycling aunt and uncle kindly taught our pair, I am a terrible teacher of stuff and DH can't cycle.

PenelopeFlintstone Thu 26-Apr-18 00:52:12

Mine was scared too until I stuck some skateboarding knee and elbow pads on her and off she went!!

InterstellarSleepingElla Thu 26-Apr-18 00:54:03

No advice sorry (I was around that age, as was my eldest child when we learnt to ride bikes - i am still wobbly now!) but just wanted to echo a pp regarding motor skills etc and dyspraxia - both me and Dd1 have dyspraxia hence why it took so long - the struggling with working out how to actually peddle sounds like a coordination issue.

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