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20"Bike and Training Wheels

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Old 04-16-18, 03:22 PM
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Shayde
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20"Bike and Training Wheels

For Christmas I bought my daughter a 20" Bike. she is 9 and very tall, but has never had a bike before so she doesn't know how to ride. She's autistic and also extremely cautious so she's sort of afraid of falling. So she can't ride the bike, she'd had it for months and I feel like a crap parent because I've been so busy I haven't done much of anything about it. We bought her training wheels to put on the bike but when they came it we could not put them on. I spoke with a local bike shop but haven't taken the bike there yet. Unfortunately, he seemed to think it was most likely that the axle was too small on the bike and there would be nothing I could do. I hate that she's had this gift for so long and not been able to use it.

Any suggestions? Anything at all? Am I really going to have to buy her a whole new bike?
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Old 04-16-18, 04:24 PM
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prathmann
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Originally Posted by Shayde View Post
I spoke with a local bike shop but haven't taken the bike there yet. Unfortunately, he seemed to think it was most likely that the axle was too small on the bike and there would be nothing I could do.
Bicycle hub axles are replaceable and a bike shop should be able to install a longer one. I'd check with a different shop. There are also YouTube videos on how to replace an axle if you want to do it yourself.
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Old 04-16-18, 08:51 PM
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Nightdiver
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You could take the crankset and chain off the bike and turn it into a large balance bike. Then once she's become comfortable using it as a push bike, add the crankset and chain back on and have her try pedaling.

Mostly likely you'll need to purchase a new bike in the near future. I'd think a tall 9 year old wouldn't properly fit most 20" bikes, and would be better served by a 24". For comparison, my normal height 5 year old can ride a 20".
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Old 04-16-18, 09:16 PM
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I've heard of the push bike thing, and it seemed like a good idea, but haven't tried it with kids.

You could also try a tandem or trailer bike, just to get the kid used to riding, pedaling, and balance (without steering).

My nephew had a tough time learning. He decided the best place to learn to ride was on Mom's (his grandmother's) front lawn. Watered, green, and soft. It has the advantage of being soft for falling, but harder to pedal (and slower which is a problem).

One issue that I had was setting the seat like I would on a road bike. Make sure the seat is set low enough that the kid can get both feet on the ground.

It is always interesting to see a kid learn. It is like a light bulb that gets switched from crashing to riding EVERYWHERE.
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Old 04-18-18, 08:00 PM
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We bought our daughter a balance bike as a starter bike. There are different sizes available. I was surprised how fast she learned the balance on this bike. And within a few weeks she was riding like a dare devil. When we moved her to a regular bike she basically did not need training wheels anymore. Meanwhile there are lots of used balance bikes out there for just a few $$. I would try one of these.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Harhir View Post
We bought our daughter a balance bike as a starter bike. There are different sizes available. I was surprised how fast she learned the balance on this bike. And within a few weeks she was riding like a dare devil. When we moved her to a regular bike she basically did not need training wheels anymore. Meanwhile there are lots of used balance bikes out there for just a few $$. I would try one of these.
A balance bike is the right idea, but larger balance bikes for a 9 yo are not a mainstream item (I think they do make them, but may be more expensive). Just take the cranks, BB and chain off of the 20" bike you already have and it will become a larger balance bike. If you can't do it yourself a good bike shop will likely do it for a few bucks or free if you buy something else. A bad/expensive bike shop would still be about $20 max, I would think. Then, when she is balancing and coasting fairly well, you can just put everything back on.
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Old 06-25-18, 09:30 AM
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take a day off from work & make this a priority. it's not the things we do in life that we regret, it's the things we don't do
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Old 06-25-18, 06:01 PM
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Agree wholeheartedly with converting her bike into a balance bike. We teach one or two kids to ride most weeks and there have been, over the years, youngsters with autism and dyspraxia. One of the latter was 14 and so severely dyspraxic he had difficulty walking alongside the bike without falling over. He learned after 4 weeks (2 hour sessions).

The saddle needs to be low enough that she can get both feet flat on the ground. This helps to reduce the fear of falling. Get her to "walk" the bike along while keeping her weight on the saddle - there's sometime a tendency to get off it,, which rather defeats the object. Once she has the confidence to lift her feet off the ground for a few feet you can try what we do - get her to count how long she can go without putting them back on the ground. This often distracts them from panicking unnecessarily and provides a challenge at the same time.

If you need to give her a bit of a push at sometime, don't push the bike, since you may not be pushing her in quite the direction she's steering. Place your hand lightly on her back between her shoulder blades. This helps her while still allowing her to maintain control. I often use just my fingertips.

We also use a slight slope onto the all-weather soccer pitch to help them get a bit faster once their confidence is rising. Once she starts pedaling, the following tips help: (1) make sure she looks well forward and not at the front wheel and (2) get her in the habit of always starting with the "pedal up/pedal ready" position, i.e. with it level with the down tube rather than pushing herself along with her foot on the ground to get up to speed.

Once she starts riding, play the counting game again. (Training wheels are the instrument of the devil and should be thrown into everlasting fire).

Good luck because she will learn to ride.
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