My daughter is pushing 6 yrs old and it is time she learns to ride. So last night i had her in the drive way trying the whiz-bang method that everyone here at BF and other places on the web swears by. This method involves lowering the seat way down so the child can straddle the saddle flat footed and also involves taking the pedals off.
I worked with my daughter in the driveway for about 45 minutes last night. I was at the top and my wife was at the bottom of our sloping driveway. What I learned after that time is what i already knew. There is no such thing as a "whiz-bang" method of teaching your kid to ride.
Learning to ride a bike takes about 3 seconds actually. But getting to that critical 3 seconds seems to be the problem. There is a 3 second window in everyones past where they finally realized what they had to do to keep the bike upright. The trouble is that it takes a LOT of courage to trust the bike enough to give yourself that 3 second chance.
That is where we were last night. She could push herself down the driveway for a month and I don't think it will matter. You still have to get to the magic 3 seconds. I think i got there by somebody just pushing me and watching me crash a few times.
That method isn't PC anymore and I really have no desire to watch my daughter eat the pavement. I tried the tougher method with my son (now 8) and he bit it hard one day. It took him awhile to want to learn again, but he did hit the magic 3 seconds when he was 6 and has been riding ever since.
But I just want to share that i think the pedal off-seat down method is less than thrilling to me. Sure nobody gets hurt, but I don't see my daughter riding any time soon. I know that sometimes it just takes time, but I also think it is important to emphasize that some kids "just struggle."