We’ve recently been teaching our 6-year-old to ride a bike.
What with all my operations, babies and so on we never got round to it before. We did get him a balance bike and it came out once or twice. We took him to a local car park (on a Sunday when it was shut – we’re not mad!) but we didn’t persevere. This is a shame as I think he would have benefited from learning earlier and how cute does he look?
He currently has one with stabilisers. The other Sunday we decided to give it a go on the road outside our house (don’t worry, it’s a cul-de-sac not the M25).
One thing you forget about learning to ride a bike is how bloody hard it is! I don’t mean going up hill, I mean the actual motion of doing it. Big L would hop on, pop his feet on the peddles push forwards, then bring his feet back again. Backwards, forwards, backwards, forwards. He wouldn’t make his feet go round and round.
I cannot tell you how frustrating that is!
I resorted to chasing him down the road making his feet do the motion, but as soon as I stopped he started again. It got to the point where we drew a bit of a crowd. I’m not sure if they were watching a 6-year-old who couldn’t get the right motion to ride a bike or a 40-year-old woman who hasn’t moved faster than a sloth since 2010.
Eventually he got it!
Not enough to take the stabilisers off of course but enough for me to let him go up and down and for the neighbours to be worried that he might veer into their newly washed car. Anyway, the next step when he is more confident is to take the stabilisers off, then possibly a decent bike (this was given to us by a friend).
We have always insisted that he wear a helmet. We’ll make sure he is always clearly visible. One of my pet peeves when I’m driving is cyclists that are not easily seen. The number that are lit up like Christmas trees from behind but not from the front is disturbing. You could easily pull out of a side road and hit them.
Other than personal safety there is the safety of your bike, a decent bike lock and making sure you chain it up when you aren’t with it. I really think that learning to ride a bike gives children a sense of independence, and it’s good exercise. But they need to take it seriously.
*This is a collaborative post