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How to start riding a bike (& loving it)

Find out how best to support your child as they learn to ride a bike.

Sarah Schwarz
Riding a balance bike is the perfect launchpad for learning to ride.

Look, I'm riding! There’s something truly magical about a child’s first few unsupported meters on a bike! In fact, it’s hard to know who is most proud – the onlooking adults or the child?

Apprehension is entirely normal when kids get started. They may be fearful of falling and express some hesitation, but the fundamental aim is to instill the love for cycling into your child. This is why it's even more important to create the safest-possible environment while practicing. This includes:

  • Tumbles are inevitable.

    But a little crash should not result in injuries. For this reason: always wear a helmet! It needs to fit and sit perfectly – just like our innovative, safety-conscious KIDS' Helmet does.

    If you're unsure which helmet size you need, >> watch this short video.

    Cycling gloves and knee and elbow protectors are sensible for added protection from bruises and scratches. They will also boost your child’s confidence.
  • Pick somewhere suitable to practice.

    Pick a practice area that’s away from traffic and free of any potentially stress-inducing elements. Look for a courtyard, park or pedestrianized road
  • No stabilizers, please!

    Just because rickety training wheels were once the norm, that does not mean they should be inflicted on the current generation of kids.

    Fact. Training wheels make learning to ride more difficult.

    By riding with training wheels, your child is granted a false sense of security, which ultimately has a counterintuitive effect on how they develop their balance skills. When it comes to transitioning to a bike, your child will have to learn balance and stability, all over again.

    We therefore stand by our recommendation:

Always begin on a balance bike!

It's all about learning through play. On a balance bike kids are acquainted with the fundamentals of cycling in the most fun way imaginable and get a gentle introduction to just how good it feels to glide over the ground.


Sturdy shoes are also important because kids tend to use their feet for braking at the beginning. 

On your pedals, get set, go!

Once your child has perfected their balance biking, the only thing left to learn is how to turn the pedals – a skill usually acquired in record time!  But don’t worry; even if your child is not a balance bike graduate, this will not stop them from making a success of it.

Here's what to do:

  1. A quick, preparatory step
    Show your child how pedaling works.

    Do this by lifting the rear wheel and turning the cranks.  This shows your child how the cranks and rear wheel work together.

    Now show them what happens when you brake.
  2. Be encouraging
    Your child may be a little wound-up before their first real attempt at riding—that's totally okay.

    You can boost their confidence by gently resting your hands on their shoulders, or supporting their saddle as you run or walk alongside them. Once they pick up some speed, they’ll balance without realizing it! 
  3. The magic moment
    When balancing and pedaling meet in sync, your support will no longer be needed – now is the time to raise your hands as your child rides on their own.

Jog alongside them to help them stop safely, or to keep them upright and prevent a crash if they look as though they are at risk of toppling to one side.

  1. Coming to a solo stop
    Continue to sharpen their skills by introducing the idea of braking correctly after a few more tries. Encourage them to use the brake levers first, and then put their feet on the ground.
  2. Setting off solo
    Try this approach: the dominant leg needs to be at one o'clock when they’re ready to push off.From here, push down on the pedal using the dominant leg while raising the free leg off the ground at the same time.

    Alternatively, your child can try a rolling start – like on a balance bike – and simply raise their feet onto the pedals when they have reached a good speed. 

A gentle downhill slope will make setting off easier at this stage.

Remember to remain calm and encouraging throughout this phase. Not all children pick it up immediately, so you can help by being reassuring and patient. 

For some kids, it might be a good idea to split practice time into manageable chunks. Your child may not be yet be ready to dedicate their full attention to learning everything there is to know. 

Play into a child's natural curiosity by practicing in a location where there are lots of kids on bikes – this will allow them to observe, grow excited, and imitate.  

When's the right time for a child to learn to ride? 

Young children are yet to fully develop their cognitive and motor processes. This includes skills that are fundamental to cycling – such as keeping balance, dexterity of hands and fingers, reaction times and sense of orientation. 

The right moment depends less on a child’s age and more on a child’s current state of development. Some kids learn at the age of three or four, while others won't get going until they're primary school age. 

If you try to rush the process with a child that lacks sufficient motor skills, there is a risk that it becomes too much like hard work, or – worse still – they develop a sense of fear or anxiety at the prospect of riding a bike. In such cases, it's best to put the pedals on ice for a while longer.

We suggest continue having fun on their balance bike until your child is truly ready for the transition.


In general, the speed of your child’s learning should be dictated by their motivation and fueled by their inspiration for two wheels. Attempting to speed up this process through pressure could result in the opposite.

By including your child in the family passion for bike rides from a very young age – whether in a child’s seat or bike trailer – means that they are highly likely to develop a genuine fascination for cycling, simply by being in the moment and surrounded by two wheels.