Old 08-17-15, 07:01 AM
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Location: Wilmington, DE
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Bikes: 2016 Hong Fu FM-079-F, 1984 Trek 660, 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1, 2016 Islabikes Beinn 20 (son's)

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Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
The way I taught my kids, one at 4 and one at 7, was by taking the pedals off a bmx bike, setting the seat so they could put their feet on the ground and putting them on a GENTLE hill on paved playground, where there was no danger of traffic. I gave them a little push and let them coast down. They'd both ridden scooters, so they had a little technique. When they could make it down the hill, 75 feet or so, I had them do S turns, then turn at the bottom. When they could do that, I put the pedals back on as footrests. Took one about two hours to be riding donuts, the other a couple of days.
He basically taught himself how to ride but after a decent amount of time on a bike with no pedals. Once he decided that *he* wanted to pedal, he had it down in a few minutes. The balance part was easy for him at that point so all he had to do was coordinate his feet.

Originally Posted by Velo Dog View Post
Re the "Cowboy Mount" and possible damage...give me a break. That's like worrying that hanging the bike by the front wheel will damage it--it just doesn't happen. I weigh 240 pounds, and I have bikes I've mounted that way for 25 years and ridden thousands of miles. No problems ever.
A former coworker on the larger side taco'ed a rear wheel on his old Schwinn doing a cowboy-style dismount which is the only reason I even consider it slightly hard on wheels. I have no idea what the spoke tension was like on that wheel and it could have been on the verge of collapse prior to that stunt.

Regardless, my son is quickly becoming proficient at getting moving on his bike without any extra input from me. When he gets it right and his feet land properly on the pedals, I've seen him put both feet on the pedals at dead stop and, in the brief period while he manages to balance standing still, he'll get pedaling. Typically he's still pushing off with his feet a bit but all signs point to him figuring out good starting technique on his own.
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