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  1. #1
    Senior Member SanDiegoSteve's Avatar
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    When to drop training wheels?

    I got my girls (or were they really for me) bicycles for Christmas. The youngest one is 2.5 and the oldest if 4.5. Both love to ride, but they are both on training wheels.

    I got our older girl the Trek Float which has a neat concept for teaching to ride. Well, she wasn't tall enough to stand over it at first. But she is growing fast.

    Is there a general rule of thumb of when to go for it? Strong enough to hold the bike up... stand over it...

    She has the pedal power (did 45 minutes on the flat land last weekend).

    She did say "When I am 5"...


    Thoughts?



    Thanks in advance,
    Steve
    Roadie in San Diego with a bad knee recovering from back surgery.

  2. #2
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    They are all different. I think around 3 is the earliest, some don't learn until 7 or later even with pushing from the parents.

    I think the quickest way for them to learn to ride is with a push bike/pedal-less bike/foot bike. Basically a two wheeler with the seat low enough that they can easily get their feet on the ground and no training wheels. It works even better if there is no crank. They basically push themselves about learning balance. It should not be done in a hilly area as the only brakes are feet or falling.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mparker326's Avatar
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    My son made the 5 rule for himself as well, but I got tired of him leaning on the training wheels and almost flipping over so I went for it at 4.5 and all it took was a couple days and he was fine. I felt he was ready. Sounds like your oldest is ready as well.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    Just let them ride the way they want. Some can go without training wheels earlier, some later..there's no set age and no big rush, esp if they are having fun. It's all about building confidence, getting used to balancing the bike, and you don't want them to give up too quickly. You can slowly adjust the training wheels slightly higher and see how they handle that. After awhile, some remove one side. BUT you need to watch them and care for them if they happen to fall and end up with scrapes and bruises.

  5. #5
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    My four year old was not seeming to show much progress until I took off the pedals and training wheels. The bike was small enough for him to "ride" by pushing with his feet as earlier poster suggested (I will reiterate about no hills). He very quickly (I think two days) learned to balance really well, turning tight circle in either direction, so pedals went back on and he was able to ride without much trouble. Separating the pedaling from the steering was a big help. Once the steering and pedaling is started, make sure to drill into them the correct braking technique or else?!

  6. #6
    Me!! KyleOndy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillFam-Reno View Post
    Once the steering and pedaling is started, make sure to drill into them the correct braking technique or else?!
    You teach proper countersteer technique.
    Quote Originally Posted by dysFTP
    lose your fear of death and the soreness will go away.

  7. #7
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    Counter steer technique came naturally to him since his feet could hit the ground and he did not worry about falling over. Steering confidence was accomplished within a couple of hours, and he was zooming around the driveway. He had previously had training wheels on the bike for several months, but steering did not sink in since the training wheels prevented him from experiencing true steering.
    The pedals were taken off to allow him to push the bike with his feet without hitting his shins and took away the fear of balancing the bike until he had enough momentum to pedal normally while trying to steer at the same time. It worked great for him.

  8. #8
    Member ff72lamb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillFam-Reno View Post
    My four year old was not seeming to show much progress until I took off the pedals and training wheels. The bike was small enough for him to "ride" by pushing with his feet as earlier poster suggested (I will reiterate about no hills). He very quickly (I think two days) learned to balance really well, turning tight circle in either direction, so pedals went back on and he was able to ride without much trouble. Separating the pedaling from the steering was a big help. Once the steering and pedaling is started, make sure to drill into them the correct braking technique or else?!
    Exactly right! I have been teaching customers this technique for a long time. Works great and they already have confidence in their old bike. I have seen kids pick up riding with this method in as little as 20 minutes. There are now bikes made specifically for this.
    http://www.skuut.com/

    http://www.kazambikes.com/
    "Quotes are for idiots... Tell me what you know!!
    -tomtom

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillFam-Reno View Post
    My four year old was not seeming to show much progress until I took off the pedals and training wheels. The bike was small enough for him to "ride" by pushing with his feet as earlier poster suggested (I will reiterate about no hills). He very quickly (I think two days) learned to balance really well, turning tight circle in either direction, so pedals went back on and he was able to ride without much trouble. Separating the pedaling from the steering was a big help. Once the steering and pedaling is started, make sure to drill into them the correct braking technique or else?!
    I did the same thing with both my kids, but without training wheels at all. I removed the pedals, lowered the seat so they could touch the ground, took them to a local park with a (gently) sloping paved playground and let them sit on the bike and walk it along with their feet. The slope of the pavement was just barely detectable, but it was enough to give them a little momentum. When they could coast for 100 feet or so, I put the pedals back on and told them just to use them as footrests, and there they were.
    My daughter, who's 23 now, is the best athlete in the family and learned in just a few minutes at age 4, I think it was. My son (28 now) inherited his father's athletic ability--it took him two or three days. But no strain and no tears for either.

  10. #10
    WillFam-Clovis,CA
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    +1 without training wheels. Sorry that wasn't clear.

  11. #11
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    Little Abby, 4 at the end of coming April, comes for first time, gets on "walker" bike for 15 minutes, gets on tiny club bike, ditto, gets "I Learned to Ride My Bike Today" certificate at the refreshment break half-way thro' the 2-hour session.

    Job done, yet again.

    Thanks, Tim, teacher of kids-to-ride extraordinaire, yet again.

    Trouble is, I'm now up to my ankles in ankle biters.

    Trouble is, it's fun.

    Still, she may become another national schools champ a few years down the line.

    Start a kids club, gentlemen/ladies/persons. You will not regret it. Altho' you'll never have another Saturday morning lie-in again.
    Last edited by atbman; 03-15-09 at 07:06 AM.

  12. #12
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    I learned when I was 5 or 6......the techinque that was used.......my parents pushed me down a hill. My front teeth now overlap a slight bit from where it was chipped on the padded handle bar grip. As for my kids, what I have planned to do is take them on the bike path behind my house, have my wife stand a cpl hundred yards away. At first I'll hold onto the bike to boost their confidence, then gradually let go w/o them knowing it and have my wife "catch" them at the end. Hoping it will be safer than a hill........

  13. #13
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    Removing the pedals and lowering the seat is the best thing you can do.

    As for the balance bikes, I think the mini glider is great.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...earch&aq=f&oq=

    It has rear brakes and foot pegs. The latter are for the kids who are already confident enough to take their feet off the floor, but are still confused by the pedals.

  14. #14
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    -100 on training wheels

    I tried training wheels with my son for over a year, with great frustration. Finally, I got a like a bike, he loved it, learned to balance quickly, and rode it like a madman. It took 30 minutes one afternoon to teach him to ride a pedal bike after that (age 4.5).

    My stupidest move in the process was just getting too big of a bike. For my daughter, I borrowed a ridiculously small bike from a neighbor. It had pedals, but she was really close to the ground. Between that and the like a bike, teaching was super easy.

    My takeaway is that a glider bike works. Training wheels are a really dumb idea, as they just teach pedaling, which is not the hard part.

    If you don't want to buy a glider, buy the smallest bike you can on Craigslist or at a local coop. Take the pedals off at first, but no training wheels. Keep the seat low, and let them ride in the house. They will love it. As they get comfortable, put the pedals on and let the pedal around. Introduce braking slowly, so they don't get too freaked out.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Big Pete's Avatar
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    My boy rides a 12" push bike like crazy down hills and everything but on his 16" pedal bike he rides but is afraid to try without trainers on so I bent them way up and the only time they touch is when he stops!!

  16. #16
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    She did say "When I am 5"...
    So, how about when she's 5?

  17. #17
    Senior Member Kens6161's Avatar
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    I had a "magic" tire. My dad showed up with a red tire and said it was a tire that helps with balance and that it makes all kids ride their bikes w/o training wheels.

    It worked! I still can't find those magic tires anywhere tho

  18. #18
    Senior Member Big Pete's Avatar
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    I like the majic tire bit!!!

  19. #19
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    Best time to remove training wheels is as soon as you get the bike home from the store.

    Training wheels do nothing.

    Get a bike that the kids can touch the ground when standing over the bike? Take the pedals off and use it as a scoot bike when they are balancing, put the pedals back on.

    I did the training wheels with my first son and it lengthened the learning about a year. Did a like-a-bike with my daughter and she was balancing by three, and loved it.

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