How to Teach a 5-Year-Old to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels
Teaching a 5-year-old to ride a two-wheeled bicycle is not as terrifying a task as it may first seem to both adult and child. Although using training wheels, running with your child and other somewhat awkward practices are successful, they are often difficult to do. A simpler method, which allows the child to learn to coast on the bike with the pedals removed, makes for a much easier transition from tricycle to bicycle. Once a 5-year-old is comfortable with coasting, put the pedals back on. The child should take to riding much more quickly and smoothly.
Select a bicycle that allows the 5-year-old to sit comfortably in the seat and place both feet flat on the ground when the seat is at the lowest level.
Familiarize the child with the parts of the bicycle, including the pedals, gears, wheels, brakes and steering.
Loosen the quick release or the Allen bolt on the seat clamp and set the seat to its lowest level. Align the seat properly and tighten the seat clamp. Remove each of the pedals with an adjustable wrench. Loosen the axle nuts to remove any training wheels. Replace and tighten the axle nuts.
Select a soft, grassy area that is free from obstructions. Dress the 5-year-old with knee and elbow protection and a cycling helmet.
Instruct the child to mount the bike and sit on the seat. Ensure that his feet can reach the ground and that he can hold the bike up easily without your help.
Allow the child to move forward on the bike by simply scooting the bike along using his feet. Continue to practice this until the child is comfortable with coasting for long periods without touching the ground. Practicing like this establishes a sense of balance and control.
Teach the 5-year-old how to turn the bicycle by moving the handlebars, once she is comfortable with riding straight. Also teach the child to stop by using the hand brakes.
Replace the pedals. Allow the child to scoot the bike with the pedals on, occasionally, pedaling the bike. At this point, you may find that the child quickly takes to pedaling. Continue to practice this for short distances until the child is completely comfortable with pedaling the bike.
Instruct the child how to pedal backward to use the brakes to stop, if the bike has coaster brakes. Practice stopping until the child is comfortable using the brakes.
Always have the child wear the proper protective gear. Understand that learning to ride a bicycle, for children and adults alike, is not totally free from crashes. Be ready to care for your 5-year-old in the event of a fall, encourage him to continue to learn, and praise him for his successes.
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