This post is a Bike Hacks classic, and makes me realize how fast time seems to pass. Brendon originally wrote this post in 2008. Hopefully the post will prove useful to those with young ones and if you are a parent with ideas to share, please comment.
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Okay, maybe the headline of this post is a little hyperbolic, but the truth is that my oldest son learned to ride a two wheeler nearly instantly when he was four years old. My boys are currently 6 years old and 3 years old. Next year I'll teach the little one how to ride a two wheeler the same way I taught his brother.
There are a quite a few tricks circulating around the 'net for how to get kids riding two wheelers, but I forgot to check them out when I was teaching him. After teaching my oldest to ride, I poked around to see what other people did. One of the tricks is actually quite close to the method I'll describe below, and I'm considering using it on the younger one. That method is basically lowering the seat and removing the pedals and training wheels. Then just let 'em paddle around. Make a game of seeing how long they can coast without putting their feet down. Once they've got the coasting figured out, put the pedals back on. They'll ride away.
The thing we did that worked KILLER was just putting him on a razor scooter for about a week. He loved figuring out how to ride it and he just kept getting better and better. We practiced at a large church parking lot near our house. He'd scooter around and have fun until he was tired, then we'd go home. After about three days he was scootering around on the two wheeled scooter with no problem. He'd cruise down mellow inclines with ease. That's when I knew he was ready for the bike.
The next day we took the bike to the parking lot instead of the scooter. He pretty much hopped on and pedaled away. No kidding. The scooter's low center of gravity made it easy for him to "feel" what two wheels felt like, which made the bike an easy transition for him. Sure, the first few turns were a little wobbly, but he held on and had it down pat within a couple of minutes. He rode that bike home and he was the king of the world! For those of you who've taught your kids to ride, I'd love to hear your tried and true methods in the comments!
Note: Photo credit above to Calgary Herald