BicycleSource Newsletter

Do you remember when you learned to ride a bike? You can share that good feeling with your children and help them learn the skills thep need to cycle safely.

Start the beginner in a park, on an open, gentle slope. By riding down the slope, a young rider can learn to balance and coast before pedalling, and the soft groundis forgiving whe the occasional fall occurs.

The key to bike riding is balance. Here are some exercises to help your youngsters gain control of their balance while on a bike:

On and Off

Have your new cyclist practice getting on and off the bike until until it can be done easily.

Start and Stop

Practice starting and stopping until it can be done without wobbling or swerving.

Straight Line

Lay down an piece of tape or draw a chalk line on a driveway or unused parking lot. Have them ride without going off the line -- first fast, then slow.

Straight Stops

Have your child ride towards a spot on the ground. See id he or she can stop in a straight line at that point. With hand brakes, always use both brakes to stop or slow down.

Read our article with advanced tips on effective braking.

Shoulder Checks

Get your child to practice looking back, to check for traffic, while riding in a straight line. Shoulder checking is the safest way to watch for traffic; looking back while riding in a straight line is an important cycling skill.

Check out our articles on looking behind and city survival for more tips.

Figure Eight

Practice turning by doing figure eights. You child should lean into the direction of the turn and keep the inside pedal up, so that it doesn't touch the ground. This will teach kids how to dodge road hazards like rocks and holes.

Quick Stops

It's a good idea to practice quick stops. Make a mark on the pavement, then have a child try to stop on the mark without swerving or skidding.

Straight Line

Skidding is a dangerous way of stopping. To avoid it, ease up on the brakes. With hand brakes, that means easing up on the front brake and keeping moderate force on the rear.
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