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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, admittedly, my daughter is WAY too young to be thinking about this seriously (only 6 months), but I figured I would be prepared and try to plan for the future.

I'm wondering how to introduce her to bike, when she is of an appropriate age. As of now, I was figuring I would start with a trailer, then move to a push bike, then a real bike...

As this is my first kid, I have no idea at what age, each of these steps is appropriate to try to introduce? Anyone with any experience feel like chiming in?

Brian
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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Trikes are the obvious first step. Gets them used to pedaling.

Age 4 or so, once they understand and will obey "hang on and don't let go" get a Trail a Bike, and hit the local tame dirt loops. The rest will follow handily.

Also, avoid running to them gasping when they crash or fall over. Do the wait and see. I see it all the time, BAM "OMG honey are you alright??? Let me see that, are you bleeding, let's go find mommy..." Followed by WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH and lot's of tears. Wait and see, don't react, they often pick themselves up, look at you, waiting to see what they should do, give 'em a big thumbs up and a big wahoo, they get back on, and ride off, much better!

This is my boy (not so little anymore), getting it done in a State College PA rock garden, thanks Trail a Bike :thumbsup:
 

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Vermonter to the Core
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my son is 9 and still has not ridden a bike.. (he has some medical stuff going on) we started last few years by taking the pedals off a fitting bike and letting him push and roll down hills... last year he started to pedal on his own then the snow started to fly.. Just two days ago he says "Dad, I want to ride a bike this summer...." I almost started to cry!
Like teaching your own child anything, make it fun and in short segments.. it will pay off in the long run.
JEM
 

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Great shots, Mendon, and a rockin park!! Where is it?
 

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Tricycle to training wheels to the Buddy Bar. My youngest son at 3yrs 9mo. Ironically, his brother, who is 2 years older, had just gotten his training wheels off 2 weeks prior which seemed to have inspired the little guy!
 

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Balance first, then pedal

I'd recommend helping her learn to balance first, then pedaling will come easily. Those little faux-Scandinavian Skuut bikes are a great option, if you want to spend the bucks. Personally, I took the cranks off of a 12" BMX and dropped the saddle so my daughter could straddle it flat-footed. She had been riding with training wheels, but it wasn't getting her anywhere in terms of balance. But she immediately took to paddling along with her feet instead of pedaling, and within two days she could coast indefinitely. When I put her on a bike with cranks, she pedaled away. I passed the little bike around town, and I don't believe the cranks have ever been reinstalled--it just keeps going to the next kid. From what I've heard back, success has been 100 percent.

I do recommend removing the entire crankset. I've seen parents try just pulling the pedals, but the kid will tire of banging her ankles on the crank arms and chainring. A hand brake is also a good idea, though my daughter just wore out a few pairs of shoes braking. Some of the commercial models have pegs, which don't seem to be getting in this kid's way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1O80xTs0Jg

I know people will defend the old training wheel method, and I realize many kids have fumbled their way to proficiency with training wheels, but in my experience the push-bike idea gets kids really riding much more quickly.
Happy Trails,
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
pedalmore said:
I'd recommend helping her learn to balance first, then pedaling will come easily. Those little faux-Scandinavian Skuut bikes are a great option, if you want to spend the bucks. Personally, I took the cranks off of a 12" BMX and dropped the saddle so my daughter could straddle it flat-footed. She had been riding with training wheels, but it wasn't getting her anywhere in terms of balance. But she immediately took to paddling along with her feet instead of pedaling, and within two days she could coast indefinitely. When I put her on a bike with cranks, she pedaled away. I passed the little bike around town, and I don't believe the cranks have ever been reinstalled--it just keeps going to the next kid. From what I've heard back, success has been 100 percent.

I do recommend removing the entire crankset. I've seen parents try just pulling the pedals, but the kid will tire of banging her ankles on the crank arms and chainring. A hand brake is also a good idea, though my daughter just wore out a few pairs of shoes braking. Some of the commercial models have pegs, which don't seem to be getting in this kid's way:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1O80xTs0Jg

I know people will defend the old training wheel method, and I realize many kids have fumbled their way to proficiency with training wheels, but in my experience the push-bike idea gets kids really riding much more quickly.
Happy Trails,
Ron
Thanks for the suggestion - we have been looking at the Skuut bike and were planning on getting one, but the "kids BMX-snas-cranks" idea is an awesome one!
 

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Off the back...
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Push bikes FTW! I've witnessed enough kids on these things to become a believer. If they can walk, they can use a push bike. Pulling the cranks off a regular bike is actually a pretty good idea for a lower-cost solution.
 

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Another fan of the balance bike here! We bought a balance bike for my daughter for her 2nd b-day. She took to it well at about 2 yrs 4 mos and really "got" the balance quickly (she's a shorty so she had to grow into it). We then gave her a 12" Spec Hard Rock at 3yrs 2mos and she started on it immediately. Pedaling & balance were instant, no hesitation. The biggest learning curve was the coaster brake. Taking the cranks off is a great option, but check out some of the balance bikes (we have a Mini-Glider from Costco) especially if you can hand it down. The balance bikes have a little more forgiving geometry, and usually have limited steering so the child won't oversteer. I think trailers & trail-bikes also help the kid want to ride like mom & dad.

Here's my daughter at 3yrs 3mos. She'll be 4 in a few weeks and I hope to move her to a 16" bike this summer.
 

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My 4 year old started with a Specialized hotwalk at 2 years old (no cranks), then a Hotrock 12" bike by 3, and now she has a 16" Hotrock. She crusies all over on it, and rides gravel a little bit.

I also have a trail-a-bike I put her on and take her thru the dirt trails. She loves it and can't wait until she is bigger so she can ride the trails too. Before the trail-a-bike I used a kids seat on my hardtail, and we also have a trailer for longer rides.

When buying a kid bike, go on Craigslist and find a "good" bike. Don't settle for some Walmart 40 lb bike. I found all my kids bikes for $30 or less each adn they are super light and easy to pedal.
 

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When my daughter was scared of riding without training wheels, we got her a razor scooter to get used to balancing herself. $35 bucks a Walmart and BAM 3 months later she's riding her bike! We just did the same with my 5 yr old son and he rocking.:thumbsup:
 

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My kids started riding once they got around 18 months or so. My youngest son was riding a pedal bike by the age of 2. I recommend either one of those push bikes, or what i did is just remove the cranks from a small bike. but as mentioned before balance before pedals. And if the can walk they can push a bike. And I recomend not using training wheels as the give the child to much of a crutch, and they seem to get more upset over there failures (I.E. spills, hitting parked cars or those darn jumping bushes). Even though I never say they failed but that sometimes you need to learn the hard way how to stay on your bike.
But the most important thing is to show interest in riding with your child. And to express your love of riding. Hopefully they will pick it up easier and quicker if they see you doing it.
Hope it help's
 

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with so much stuff physical with kiddies i've noticed size makes more of a difference with age, except riding. my little girl (3 now) is tiny but she's bee raaking up the runner bike for about a year now...

this was taken when she was about 2 and a half
 

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MendonCycleSmith said:
Trikes are the obvious first step. Gets them used to pedaling.

Age 4 or so, once they understand and will obey "hang on and don't let go" get a Trail a Bike, and hit the local tame dirt loops. The rest will follow handily.

Also, avoid running to them gasping when they crash or fall over. Do the wait and see. I see it all the time, BAM "OMG honey are you alright??? Let me see that, are you bleeding, let's go find mommy..." Followed by WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH and lot's of tears. Wait and see, don't react, they often pick themselves up, look at you, waiting to see what they should do, give 'em a big thumbs up and a big wahoo, they get back on, and ride off, much better!

This is my boy (not so little anymore), getting it done in a State College PA rock garden, thanks Trail a Bike :thumbsup:
Is that Charcoal Flats?

State College is a great trail system.
 

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brockfernandez said:
Great shots, Mendon, and a rockin park!! Where is it?
B-Mac asked too. It's Rothrock State Forest. About halfway down Tussey Ridge, which is easily one of the best trail I've ever ridden, just singletrack sweetness and killer views for like 3 miles along a burned over ridge top....
 

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Loads of mtb vids and a pushbike:
<p><a href="http://vimeo.com/13890609">Niek @ local mtb track</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user4345640">Merijn Buitelaar</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
<p><a href="http://vimeo.com/13620197">Niek bike crash</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user4345640">Merijn Buitelaar</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
 

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Your Best Friend
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I have 5 kids ranging in age from 10 to 2 months. The older 4 all ride bikes and have each done races. The oldest two are pretty competitive on them.

My recommendations...I hope you are already doing this but make cycling a huge part of your life. My kids have always seen bikes in the house whether I am wrenching on them or just have them hanging around. The kids know how important they are and when they are old enough, they just can't wait to be part of the action.

Go straight to a push bike as soon as they can stand over it. The real push bikes are tons lighter than a converted bike without cranks. Makes it a lot easier for the kids. Within weeks they are flying around the neighborhood causing general bedlam.

Make crashing fun. It's going to happen. My kids all know to yell "crash and burn", even through the tears they are yelling it and everyone is clapping. They get over it pretty quick.

After that, just get them out riding with you and don't try to cram it down their throats.

Have fun!
 
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