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Help! Ds cant ride bike

53 replies

malloryknox47 · 14/09/2020 23:07

I feel really ashamed writing this but my ds who has just turned 9 still can't ride a bike. He had one at about 4/5 and showed no interest whatsoever. Looking back I should have insisted. But he was interested in other things and it didn't seem that important at the time.
Then he grew out of that bike and I couldn't afford another until quite recently. He is really struggling. He's embarrassed to practice anywhere local in case people we know see him and as we don't have a garden I've taken to driving us out to random car parks and such to practice but he's really struggling. And because he's older and heavier I find it hard to support him.
I feel so guilty for letting him get to this age without teaching him such a basic skill. Especially now all his friends can ride. Has anyone got any tips or advice on how to teach an older child?

OP posts:
user1471519931 · 14/09/2020 23:12

Where are you based? Where we are there is a local charity that helps adults learn to ride a bike.

emptyshelvesagain · 14/09/2020 23:15

Does he want to learn?

Get a second hand bike, take the pedals off so he can learn the balance aspect - take him somewhere quiet.

GymSloth · 14/09/2020 23:16

I second getting someone else to teach him. Near me there are cycling clubs that teach children to ride - often in just one session! Maybe worth a look to see what there is in your area?

Tomatoesneedtoripen · 14/09/2020 23:17

take him on grass?

malloryknox47 · 14/09/2020 23:19

Tried grass and it seemed harder work for him. I didn't know such organisations existed to be honest! I'll look into it. I really thought he'd pick it up quickly but apparently not Sad

OP posts:
Thinkpinkstink · 14/09/2020 23:23

If it makes you feel any better my DH (40 years old, good driver, serious director level job, first class degree form top university (20 years ago)) can't ride a bike either.

And I (similar to above) can't swim.

Sometimes you just miss the natural learning point for a skill. All is not lost, there's plenty of time for your DS to learn to ride a bike. It's not difficult, it's just about confidence.

ChickensMightFly · 14/09/2020 23:23

Grass is softer to land on if you fall but much harder to peddle across and balance. Old railway line paths are great as smooth and straight.
Peddlers off and scoot with feet is great for getting the balance, and harder to wrinkle cos you just put a toe down, then peddling can be added in later.
I think there is a charity called bikes for all or something like thatv which are great for introducing at an older age cos you can borrow a bike with tow bike to get him going now he's bigger

ChickensMightFly · 14/09/2020 23:24

Wobble not wrinkle. Grrr

EnglishGirlApproximately · 14/09/2020 23:26

Hi Op, I'm in a very similar situation with my 8 year old. He's really struggling he just has no balance at all. At the moment he isn't embarrassed to be out practising but its only a matter of time i think. I feel like lessons from a teacher might be the way to go as I just don't know the best way to do it.

wegetthejobdone · 14/09/2020 23:30

Find an area of short grass thats got a decent slope, get him to push off the top, the slope will give him time to sort out the peddling and help him build up some speed and if he does fall off the grass is much more comfortable than concrete.

bellsbuss · 14/09/2020 23:31

I had to pay for lessons with one of mine as they just couldn't do it. If you can afford to I would suggest lessons.

Enough4me · 14/09/2020 23:31

I took my DS to lessons over a week, he started to ride, but lost confidence. It took regular attempts over 2 years before he could ride. My DD was much easier, I guess everyone's different and some find it harder to learn.

MoonriseKingdom · 14/09/2020 23:32

I didn’t learn until my early 30s! As described above with pedals off initially to learn balance. I practised every evening for a week in an empty car park with a bit of an incline. There is a cycling club near us that does lessons to learn to cycle aimed at children 7+ so they are not in with the younger ones. Maybe there is something local to you.

Longdistance · 14/09/2020 23:34

My dd learnt to ride over lockdown. She’s 10. She had bikes like your ds when she was younger and again wasn’t interested. During lockdown we took her to the park to try out her sisters bike. She took to it well.
My dh would jog next to her at first holding her seat, then gradually as she got her confidence he was just next to her, then he let her ride off. She has her own bike now.

BookSkark · 14/09/2020 23:34

DD was the same. Entirely our fault as she didn't want to learn so we didn't push it. At age 9 we decided we had to do something and just spent s whole afternoon doing it (in a remote area of a park where she was unlikely to see anyone she knew). That cracked the balance part - helped by buying a very light bike (I think Isla and Frog are the recommended ones). .

We still haven't mastered the control piece so no way she could cycle on as pavement or road - overcorrects the whole time. But again, that's our fault - she hasn't really ridden her bike in a year. So I think we need to dedicate an afternoon to cycling round a local industrial estate to practice that bit. I know from before that it's possible - but we need to make her practise and that bit's on us.

PastMyBestBeforeDate · 14/09/2020 23:38

I'm in the same position. One of the local children took the piss out of ds for needing stabilisers when he first got a bike at 4 or 5 so he refused to try. And now he's 9. He won't try where the same kids might see him. :(

giggly · 14/09/2020 23:39

My did learned when she was 8 then didn’t use her bike until she was10 butby then had to learn all over again. Halfords sell a long length handle that fits into their bike that you push/steady behind them. I used this the first time and eventually just jogged alongside her with the handle left upright.
The second time we went out after dinner in the dark as she was embarrassed as well. That time I just held her saddle and jogged along with her. Lots of tears and snorters and me sore lungsShock but only took a few nights.
The first night was awe with her hardly moving without failing. We found it harder on grass and just went for a long straight path.
It was just lovely the moment she took off albeit all over the place as she steered into a bushGrin

AlwaysLatte · 14/09/2020 23:41

Take him camping with a bike with one of those handles that you can attach to the back. Both mine learned on camping trips!

giggly · 14/09/2020 23:42

Also please don’t feel ashamed but mastering large motor skills is difficult for many children and 9/10/11 is really not uncommon for learning to ride a bike

Elisheva · 14/09/2020 23:44

I paid a man £30 for two hours and he taught both my sons (age 6 and 8) to ride. He was brilliant. They were much more willing to try for him. Once they’d got the hang of it we just made sure we took them out regularly to practice.

Soonsoonsoon · 14/09/2020 23:45

My local council does free lessons so check with yours first

Sarahplane · 14/09/2020 23:46

I could have written this OP. We're currently trying to teach my DS who's just turned 9. No advice to offer just some solidarity.

Elisheva · 14/09/2020 23:46

This is where we found the coach:

Mapless · 15/09/2020 00:09

My son didn't learn to ride a bike unt he was 10yrs. It was a confidence thing mainly. He was out this evening tearing around on his bike very capably at 14yrs. Dont worry, it'll happen. It may help to find a spot where there's nobody to see him...

BogRollBOGOF · 15/09/2020 00:18

Not grass, it's awfully hard work.
Flattish, smooth surface, slight slope downhill to help with momentum.

I learned at 19, and took it off to some quiet private roads to practice.

DS1 learned at 6 (DS2 the same day at 4). He has dyspraxis so he ends up having to relearn after each winter break and he has no enthusiasm.

I hold on to the back of the saddle until they get moving and pedalling then they're OK.

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