I want to ride my bicycle


We got both girls for Christmas bikes. Proper bikes. Bikes without training wheels, that we didn’t have to put together from a proper bike shop. And it was all very exciting on Christmas morning, but we left a few hours after they got them and went away for 3 weeks, until we arrived home on the weekend and there they were, in all their beautiful glory!

The lady in the bike shop told us to not worry with training wheels (and these bikes can’t have them anyway) but I know the way this is going to go (particularly with our determined, stubborn first born who tends to have dramatic refusals when she can’t do something RIGHT NOW…I wonder where she gets that from?!) and I REALLY want to make it go well.

So I’d love to know how YOU have helped your kids learn to ride bikes? Grass first? Tennis courts? Nice flat, quiet streets? It’s tricky around here the roads can be quite dangerous with cars travelling faster than they should (albeit they are few and far between). We have gravel roads etc…

I remember the summer that I learnt to ride a bike. I can’t remember how old I was 5 or 6? Maybe older. We were on holidays were we always went each summer as kids, a quiet little coastal town filled with people walking and kids riding bikes. The roads and quiet and flat. My Dad would hold onto the back, running along side me, me paranoid screaming at him to NOT LET GO, until he let go, and I got it…for a little while…before I got the death wobbles and crashed. But I got up and tried again, and again and again and then? Well, I got it.

I want to push the girls to make sure THEY get it, to stick with it even though it’s hard and something you might not ‘get’ right away. I want them to love those beautiful bikes. All these things I want, well I want them to want them to. Ah parenting!

If things are anything like the learning to tie shoe laces I fear it’s best for me to joust remove myself from the equation. Put in patient Dad instead? Let go and just let it be?

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike?
Do your kids (girls) ride bikes?
Got any tips on getting it done?

Image from here.


  1. we taught our 7 year old in our garage and drive way. We persisted until he could do it, took a few hours. He’s similar not interested if he can’t do it. That was a few months ago and he’s absolutely awesome now! Goodluck. Just have a dose of patience before you start

  2. Probably not helpful to you now, but we started both of our children on a balance bike when they were about two – the whole point is to teach them to keep the bike balanced whilst riding it so you can bypass training wheels all together. Our son was riding a proper bike before he was 3 and our daughter is just mastering the balance bike now at 2. Super great for parents because we don’t have to do anything, they virtually teach themselves!

  3. lovely for the girls beth!
    I remember reading Rachel from Redcliffe style …
    she had a few pointers about when she taught her girls to ride their bikes without tears!
    I think in your present condition rob will have to be the one! … just saying! love m:)X
    btw look at your superb roses and your porch looks gorgeous! x

  4. After a few tries on a flat surface my sister gave up and say me on the bike at the top of a small hill. One push and I could do it!
    Having said that, we took our daughter on the local footy oval. Nice short grass.

  5. Do your girls have scooters?
    2 of my 3 kids had training wheels on their bikes, but the youngest didn’t.
    She would scoot around the bike park on her scooter, and when it came to getting on a bike, her balance was a lot better.
    I think sibling rivalry played a big part in her get the hang of it more quickly.
    She wanted to do what her big sister was doing.

    I don’t let my kids on the roads where I live, which is a shame as I used to ride around the streets for hours when I was young, but there are just too many idiots on the road and we don’t have footpaths on our street.

    I’d get the husband to do it..
    But then I’m a lazy bitch, and I don’t do running at any time..

  6. We have just been through this prior to christmas with our girls (aged 3 and 4), new big girl bikes from the professional bike shop. (I must admit though leading up to this purchase, we actually started them on cheapy balance bikes from Kmart which made the whole process super easy as they had the balance without training wheels pretty much sorted). Essentially we got out into our little cul de sac and ran like crazy people up and down the street while holding onto their little shoulders and slowly but surely let go for a few seconds, then a few more until they were doing the straights all on their own. We didn’t push turning or stopping during those first few sessions as we just wanted them to gain their confidence. And now its a little over six weeks later and they chase hubby up and down the street doing turns and stops like little pros. Our eldest has even decided doing ‘skids’ are cool.

  7. Sadly we’re on hills and so have to take the kids to a nearby park so they can get their peddle to the metal fix.

  8. Hi Beth, we started on some short grass on a sports oval to get the initial feel, but then had most luck teaching them on the empty netball courts (Eridge Park Rd). Good luck!

  9. I seriously threw the youngest into a school holiday programme that taught him…. πŸ™‚

    Other two – empty carpark and large school field. Too flipping dangerous around here learning on footpath with cars backing in and out of driveways.
    it is perseverance and tears and a not give up attitude – eventually!

  10. Beth the bike track between Mossy and Burradoo. Start Mossy end. It is quite flat, no cars and quiet. I take the boys there for scooter rides.
    Just don’t forget the first aid pack. There is also a local guy that runs bike riding classes.

  11. grass too hard to peddle on. Nice flat dirt road preferably… And long sleeves and pants just in case πŸ˜‰ run alongside, push them off and…. AwY they go!!!

  12. My Pa taught me in the back garden. He was running behind, holding the back of the seat to keep me balanced, then suddenly he was running beside me. When I realised he had let go & I was doing it myself I panicked slightly & rode straight into the pole of the old Hills Hoist πŸ™‚ No damage was done to me or bike or washing line & I was soon riding all by myself πŸ™‚

  13. This is what school grounds are for. Flat open spaces. They struggle to ride straight at first so lots of space and something softish to fall on. We found an AstroTurf hockey field. Round and round and round in circles and then they just get it!

  14. PETA venus says

    Guess what. I think I am the only person I know who can’t ride a bike. I never learnt as a kid as we lived on a major highway. By the time I got into my twenties I felt ridiculous trying to learn. So there you go. 53 and never ridden a bike.

  15. Seats down as low as they go. Then they feel safe that they can put their feet on the ground. We then held the back of the seat until they got going. Jogged next to them. It only took about three attempts and they were off. Grass is harder I reckon. Concrete pavement or carpark good.

    May the force be with you!

  16. We used the footpath (beware mailboxes) and school basketball court. A few spills but persist, we just ran beside with one hand on the handlebar just in case. So much opens up when kids can ride a bike! Good luck x

  17. Definitely grass first Beth That’s how I learned back in the day and how I taught my two. Then on to tennis courts then they are ready to conquer the world (well maybe not Macquarie Pass just yet but….) Grass slows them down and builds their confidence. I also taught my Mum how to ride a bike when she was 50 – never too late
    Good luck x

  18. i remember she was a purple Malvern Star dragster. I got her for Christmas, perhaps I was 7 or 8.
    I think the seat was white with glitter in it. We’re there plasticky streamers too? So long ago!
    I don’t remember much about the learning, but the freedom bikes bring kids is awesome.

    And I can dispel a persistent cliche – if you haven’t ridden a bike for decades, it isn’t “just like riding a bike” at all!!

    Wind in their hair, they’ll love it!

    How about the supermarket car park at odd hours??

  19. I read a blog post a while ago that suggested to first teach your kid how to fall. So, get a helmet and some knee pads, find a grassy spot, and tell them that you are going to let them going, and they will fall over.

    True enough, they ride and then plop. Hopefully, don’t get hurt (see: knee pads) and then are happy to jump up, ride and fall again.

    Not that I’ve tried it myself (seriously procrastinating teaching my son to ride!), but the logic is sound.

  20. My son is 4 years old and has been riding a pedal bike (sans training wheels) for a number of months now. He literally rode his wooden balance bike until it fell to bits! We started with training wheels, but I really don’t recommend them. They make the bike really heavy and cumbersome. I took him down to the local netball courts and just held the bike steady for him while he got used to pedalling and steering.
    The key to helping your kids learn to ride is to make sure you don’t push them to do anything they aren’t comfortable with. My son insisted on getting off and pushing his bike down even the tiniest hills in the beginning. This was a real test of my patience and i wanted to tell him he should just give it a go. But this just makes him dig his heels in and not want to do it even more! And left alone, it wasn’t long before he gained the confidence he needed. Good luck!

  21. We got our lad a real bike last Christmas – and the lass had started to ride hers just a few weeks before. He took off in approximately 90 seconds – he’d been hooning around on a balance bike for years. We hit the local netball courts, and still do on occasion . There was a lot of running behind with our daughter, but it worked!

  22. Basketball courts (sorry basketballers) although we did start them with training wheels on their old bikes, hubby bent the training wheels up so that they had to tilt to get stable (we had a few falls due to overtitling) but they got so annoyed with it they eventually just got it, hubs held onto the back of the seat until they had balance and then he just let go – plus the new bikes sitting in the garage helped them to ‘want it more’… now my youngest is up and out first thing in the morning on her bike – checks in every hour. She reminds me of what I was like when i got the freedom of my first car – except her wheels are her bike.

  23. We took the training wheels off their old bikes as they were smaller & they could easily put their feet down if they needed to stop. Once they mastered that then transition onto new bikes. Good luck

  24. We use a car park down at our local park, nice and flat and straight, until they can master steering and balancing at the same time.

  25. I only figured out how to ride a bike when I paid for lessons when I was 30! Everyone had tried to teach me growing up but it’s hard to teach a skill you don’t remember learning. The trick for me was you don’t sit down when you want to start. You use your foot to lift the pedal up to the top and then push down and sit down as the bike moves forward. This changed everything for me. Also putting your foot out when you want to stop. Practice in a wide open space. Good luck!

  26. Oh gosh I hope we figure it out when the time comes. Our 3 year old has a little bike with trainer wheels (suited to his age) that we gave him for Christmas and he won’t even SIT on it yet.
    I just remember hours of practice on gravel roads and the back driveway at my parents’ house.

  27. Gibbergunyah says

    Beth, we’ve just taught our four year old who is cautious and anxious about these things. The poor child, has a child psychologist for a mother! Like others he had a balance bike from 2 1/2 years. From this he learnt about balance, steering and gradient and speed. However I’ve also recently helped my sister with her 6 year old who was VERY attached to her training wheels and had never had a balance bike. We put the seat down low enough for the kids to get BOTH their feet flat on the ground. I had to remove the back reflector temporarily to make this possible. We didn’t need to remove the pedals (you can leave the cranks) but this helped my niece as it gave her the “balance bike” experience. It also makes their centre of gravity much lower and they are more stable. We started on grass but quickly moved on to a flat concrete path as it enabled them to get up speed. The faster they go the less they wobble and the easier it is for them to get their balance. On a flat or slightly downhill path they have to put less pressure through the pedals and have fewer challenges to their balance. A couple of weeks in the “balance bike” setting did the trick for my niece. I’m now edging the seat up for my son every time we ride. If you’re thinking of buying a kids’ bike I’ve found the BYK bike from Melbourne brilliant.

  28. Well, I am currently nursing a bike riding injury (osteitis pubis) translating to I feel like someone head butted my groin!
    That aside…I agree with the other tips, make sure the seat is low enough they can touch the ground quickly (then raise it to proper bike riding height when they can ride)
    I think paths, concrete, car parks are better. Grass is very hard to get started on.
    And what the other reader said, you must get the peddles in the right position to push off from. Thats very important.
    In your state, leave it to hub cause you will need to run.
    I started out running next to and holding the handle bar from one side so I could help steer. We had to progress to a handle on the back (my daughter has Down syndrome, so it took a year to teach her!! Yes…a year…) but it made running easier.
    Bike riding is the best thing for kids to learn, we are avid riders, but we stick to paths, find places that are bike riding friendly, I don’t know any your way, there are lots of bike paths further south on the coast, and the Rail Trails in Victoria are great family holidays.
    We have just and a weekend in Narooma, there is a great bike path from the surf beach in Narooma to Dalmeny (north) it goes through the town, along the coast, for 20km, a spectacular ride.

  29. Simple- take off the pedals and use as a balance bike for a couple of sessions then put pedals back on and go from there. Assuming of course they can use pedals from previous trike riding. Nice flat space helps too.

  30. School playground…nice and flat….limited space……they can see how far they have accomplished….and when ready they can practise corners and do laps….good luck!

  31. Beth my son struggles with learning something that requires patience and practice too, and we were having major issues getting him to learn bike riding. Until recently! He’s 8, but had still not mastered riding a bike without training wheels – in fact he was dependent on them which was making riding his bike hard and not fun. Training wheels BAD. We searched online for tips and eventually decided to ditch the training wheels and also the pedals. We took the pedals off and made his regular bike a balance bike for a time. We started with him walking the bike around on flat to get used to the feel of it, then moved to gradual slopes. The slopes were lots of fun so we didn’t have much trouble getting him to keep going with mastery of that skill, and gradually his confidence built up and he was soon zipping around on the bike balance-style. After that we put the pedals back on. He was very resistant to this but I just said I was going to do it and that he didn’t have to use them if he didn’t want to. Within 15 mins of the pedals going back on he had it and oh my you should have seen him beaming with pride at his achievement! I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of him. Now you can’t get him off his bike! You tube has some great vids to help you along. Good luck!

  32. Our 6 year old son rode without training wheels for the first time on New Year’s Day, he was as proud as punch! My hubby is a mad keen bike rider, so he was in charge of the whole learning to ride thing. He kept raising the training wheels until our son wasn’t even using them (but didn’t realise he wasn’t using them) and then asked him if he could take them off. And away our boy went! He’s been riding primarily on grass, doing laps around our house, the benefit being that if he does fall, grass is less of a shock to fall on over bitumen. He has gained so much confidence since the wheels came off, he is on the bike every single day. I was a late bloomer, I didn’t learn to ride until I was nine! Good luck with it all!

  33. After three years of trying EVERYTHING to get my daughter riding, I was desperate. All those afternoons in the park that ended up in tears… just wrong. Then I found this guy on YouTube, watched him teach a girl my daughter’s age (she was 7 then), followed his advice and BINGO, she nailed it! There were tears of joy, I was so proud of her and myself for FINALLY getting her there. His name is Bike Man 4 U. I hope this link works but if not, pls look him up. He’s a dead set legend. The bike handle he recommends was about $30 from the bike shop but in reality priceless. After becoming the bike trainer extraordinaire, my son took approx 30 secs to learn. It’s all about confidence. Good luck Beth! X

    • Thanks so much for sending this through…have sent to Rob and my brother and sister in law who have had problems with their girls too…thank you!

  34. After taking the training wheels off about 3 months ago my 6 year old’s bike has remained untouched. She is another of the strong-willed variety who refuses to touch her bike now and would much rather ride in the bike trailer with the younger 2. All of these tips are great. Tomorrow, bike riding is on the agenda.

  35. Hi our 6 year old has just learnt how to ride her bike, this was our strategy:
    – firstly she asked us to remove her training wheels
    – spent a few afternoons on the old bike, limited success as she was so scared of falling
    – she was gifted a preloved bike, correct size, without training wheels
    – we purchased a 2 wheel scooter, her old maxi-rider scooter was too small
    – the scooter helped her find her balance, and there was barely any room for ‘falls’ off a scooter
    – after a few days of confident scooter riding, back on the bike – her balance had improved
    – then as per other comments, me holding on and running besides, at the school grass area. It clicked for her after a fee sessions.
    Good luck!


  1. […] the girls bicycles for Christmas 2 years ago. And you might recall me asking you guys for the best way to get the girls riding? (make sure you read the comments for some really great suggestions if you have […]

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