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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What are the best ways you've found to encourage the young ones to get out and bike?

My daughter is 6.5 years old, still has her training wheels on and seems to be afraid of any sort of hill (including our driveway). Which stinks, because we live on a hill. Not a huge incline but still, enough to get a good coasting speed with barely any effort. Thankfully though we do have a nice little park at the end of our street which I've gotten her to ride at a few times. One of the problems is that she can't seem to get the hang of and/or is lazy about pedaling. :rolleyes: She doesn't seem to position her feet correctly so the pedals end up getting pushed backward instead of forward so then the brakes kick in.

Is there any way to disable the pedal brakes? She does have the hand brakes on there as well and I'm thinking the closer her bike is to mine, the easier it may be for me to teach her.

Not sure what exactly I'm looking for to help her, but I do know that she'd be a great biking buddy and she's a bit of an adrenaline junky like her mama and daddy so she'll probably love biking once she gets the hang of it! :D

Thanks!
 

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turtles make me hot
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If it was me, the first thing I'd probably do is take the crankset, chain and training wheels off her bike and let her find her balance. I did that with my son when he was four and he was on two wheels in one day.
Maybe try and make a ride in the park special. Get up early and pack a small breakfast, like a couple bagels or something and ride to a picnic area and have breakfast there. Kids love stuff like that. It was tough getting my youngest son started, but now he picks his own snacks and carries them in his Camelbak. He picked his own helmet and gloves as well. He takes very good care of his stuff. Even his sunglasses.
Now, he loves helping me modify his bike almost as much as riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The picnic idea sounds like a great idea.
Does taking off the crankset and chain disable the pedal brakes?
How old is your youngest son?
 

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MTBkitty said:
The picnic idea sounds like a great idea.
Does taking off the crankset and chain disable the pedal brakes?
How old is your youngest son?
Without a crankset and chain, the pedal brakes are disabled but pedaling too! The only way to have a functional bike without pedal brakes is to switch the hub in the rear wheel with a different one.

The picknick idea sounds great indeed!

Kind regards,

Clemens
 

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turtles make me hot
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My son is six now. He's a mountain biker. Everyone at the trailhead knows him as the kid on the little Fisher. He's been on two wheels since four. Riding easy singletrack for a year.
The deal with removing the crankset is to use the bike as a balance bike. Sorry, I thought everyone knew about that. In order to remove the coaster brake, you may have to swap out the hub. Probably easier to get a different bike.
 

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Training wheels should be viewed as a very short transition between run bike and regular riding. The sooner kids are off them the better. They become a crutch after a couple weeks.

Once a rider can pedal, stop, ride in a straight line, and do a simple figure 8, it's time to get the training wheels off. It takes a lot of patience and many 5 minute teaching sessions (and a lot of taking the wheels on and off), but the time investment is well worth it.

Taking a step back and removing the cranks for a couple sessions is a great step forward.
 

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Some Coaster brakes can be disable by disconnecting the brake arm from the frame and bending (easier than removing) or removing it so it doesn't hit the frame. I would suggest leaving it on as it acts as a possitive indication of incorrect pedaling and the rider will learn faster to pedal forward.

Here is the gory detail how a coaster brake works
http://www.troubleshooters.com/bicycles/1speed/1speed_overhaul.htm
 

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For my daughter it was this video.

She had a bike for a long time but never really was all that excited about it and outgrew it without mastering how to ride it. So one day when she was 7 I was tooling around the internet looking at skate and bike videos on youtube and found that video. About halfway through I realize she's looking over my shoulder and she says "That's cool daddy. I want to do that!" I said "Me too!"

So we went out and got her a nice bike for her 8th birthday and I took the pedals off and we started from scratch learning how to ride a bike in her schools bus parking lot. And I told her she can't go trail riding until we (cause I hadn't been on a bike in 20 years either) learned a few things.
1. how to balance
2. how to turn
3. how to pedal
4. how to brake

A couple of weeks later (I'll say 3) we were riding really simple trails together. She's my riding buddy now and God help me if I hit a trail without her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
wow. Those dudes were doing some crazy cool jumps! Incredible! :eekster:

She's my riding buddy now and God help me if I hit a trail without her.
So happy for you that you can say that! Hopefully I can say the same thing in the future.:D

Was talking with my girl about trying to bike without her training wheels and she was hesitant at first but I told her that I'd be right by her side the whole time, and if it was really that bad without the trainers, I would put them back on for her.We'll give it a shot tomorrow. I'm feeling hopeful that her biking time goes well.
 

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With my daughter what I've found works best are bribery and allowing her to lead the trip. Bribery gets her to do things she's on the fence about. Such as riding down a hill, once she does it, it's a piece of cake from then on. The lead thing is a pain because I also have a son also, but it comes down to a question of having a good ride vs fighting over who's going to lead. As long as she leads, she rides hard. Once she's moved back in line she become lazy and starts to lag behind.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Letting the learner lead sounds like a solid plan.

It's just the two of us for now and I can rip it up to my heart's content while she's in school so the weekends are all her call.

Seems like keeping it fun is the sure fire path to success!

ETA: humanpackmule- just showed my girl the video. She was laughing and kept saying "Cool! How did they do that?" on the big jumps. Especially that one where they go up a hill and then make a jump. I had no idea, so I just told her "Lots of practice!"

I took the training wheels off today, and let her say 'good bye' to them when I put them in my parts box. When she masters riding without the trainers she gets to pick out a spiffy bell :) We were going to have a try this afternoon but a girl friend invited her over for a play date and she decided she wanted to do that instead. Oh well, there's next weekend!
 

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My daughter is the same age as yours. I took her training wheels off about a month ago, and I took off her 4 year old brother's as well. With them, the training wheels actually were dangerous. They were relying on them too much, and the result was quite a few tip-over spills. My daughter was becoming afraid of her bike.

They had both had push bikes without cranks before we bought them "big kid" bikes, so I knew they could balance. On a hunch, I took of their training wheels and took them out to a big, flat park. They got on their bikes and began to pedal through the grass with my wife and me running behind. After 15 yards or so, I just let go, and sure enough, off went my daughter. My wife did the same with my son.

They fell down a few times, almost always when trying to stop without using the brakes! The first several runs we had to help them get started, but now they can both get going themselves. We've been working with them once a week, and today was another transition. They have mastered the grass and now a big paved area of the park. They LOVED it today, and they grew so confident I actually had to warn them to slow down a few times -- something I couldn't imagine I would have to do so soon. Next time we go out I am going to take my bike and we are going to try a paved bike path. I cannot wait until they are ready to try some trail, too, but I think that's going to be a few months off.

Good luck with your daughter, and have FUN!
 
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