Learning to ride a bike is a huge milestone for kids and their parents alike. When do kids typically learn to ride a bike? Is it ever too early (or too late) for your kid to get started?
The short answer? It depends.
The average age for kids to learn to ride a bike is between 3 and 7 years old - but this is just an average. Some children may be ready to start building their basic cycling skills earlier. Others might want to wait until later when a two-wheeler isn’t so big and intimidating.
Tips for a successful first ride
However old your child is, there are some straightforward guidelines you should follow to make their life easier (and safer). Here are three of our recommendations:
Start in a park, backyard, or open space without obstacles. This helps reduce stress and increase confidence.
Always require a helmet to prevent injuries.
Make sure your child has a correctly sized bike. Although selecting by wheel size is a common practice, it’s not the best way to choose a bike for your child. Read more about kids’ bike sizing and try our bike size tool here.
1. Prepare the Bike
Start by removing the bike pedals (you may need a pedal wrench) and training wheels (if there are any). You can also simply use a balance bike for this step.
Lower the seat so that your child's feet are planted flat on the ground when sitting.
2. Learning to Coast without Pedals
Have your child scoot around on the bike until they are comfortable with basic balance while moving with their feet on the ground.
Next, have them take a few steps to get moving then lift their feet off of the ground to coast. You can show them on your own bike by getting the bike moving and stretching your own legs out straight to the sides for balance.
Remember to keep this fun and make a game of seeing how long they can coast without putting their feet down.
3. Learn to Turn while Coasting
Now it's time to add in turning while coasting. You will start them out with big wide turns.
Place four flat objects or cones out in a big square about twenty feet from each other.
Have your child coast towards the circle and make a big wide circle around the four cones. Then have them try to go around the other direction
Make a game of it and challenge them to get further and further around without having to touch their feet to the ground.
Next, set up the cones about 10 feet apart in a straight line. Have your child try to make it from one side to the next while weaving in and out a few times.
4. Learning How to Pedal
Reinstall the bike pedals, but keep the seat in a lowered position.
Hold your child under their armpits to keep their balance and have them practice bringing their feet back and forth from the ground to the pedals.
Setup a pedal in the 1 to 3 o'clock position.
Hold the bike seat or your child's armpits as you have them place one foot on the ground and the other on the pedal. They push down and begin pedaling.
Make games of steering between cones and doing figure 8's
5. Learning How to Brake
Have your child coast slowly and brake until they can do so without losing any control.
Place the cone 20 feet ahead of your child. Have them coast towards it and brake before hitting it. Repeat until they can stop inches away from the cone comfortably.
Finally, remember that learning to ride a bike can be an awkward experience. A little bit of patience can go a long way.