I can remember the smile on my five-year-old when I first got him his first bike. But even though he was happy, I was worried that I didn’t know how to teach an older child to ride a bike.
So, I researched earnestly, and I’ll share with you my finding. Generally, these steps are essential in effectively teaching an older child to ride a bike.
How To Teach An Older Child To Ride A Bike (Summary)
- Pick a safe riding space
- Supply your child with the right gear
- Prepare your kid’s bike
- Teach your kid to coast
- Show your kid how to turn
- Teach him/her how to pedal
- Teach him/her how to brake
I’ll explain all the seven steps on how to teach an older kid to ride a bike. Let’s get started.
But First; Is Your Child Ready to Ride A Bike? How You Can Tell
Age is an influential gauge for a child who is ready to ride a bike. However, it’s not the only determinant.
So, what is the right age to teach a child to ride a bike?
Children are different. Some mature faster and are more courageous than others. Anyway, you can start teaching your kid to cycle from 3 ½ – 4 ½ years.
You can also know that your kid is ready to learn to ride a bike if:
- They enjoy watching other kids ride bicycles
- They ask you to buy them a bike
Additionally, if your child has been riding a trike (three-wheel) and they are good at it, it’s time you introduce them to a two-wheel.
Next; Finding a Good Bike for Your Child (How To Teach An Older Child To Ride A Bike)
Regardless of how hard you try, it’ll all be futile if you don’t get the right bike for your kid. So, it will help if you prioritize the following:
- Correct wheel size – The wheel size can help you determine the perfect bike size for your kid. You, however, have to consider your child’s inseam length (inner leg). Below is a table to use.
|Wheel Size (In Inches)
|Inseam Length (In Inches)
|Approximate Age (In Years)
- The right frame size – The frame should allow your kid to place their feet on the ground and pedal more comfortably.
- Lighter weight – You want a bike that your kid can ride and push. Therefore, the frame should be lightweight when you want to learn how to teach a kid to ride a bike.
- Comfortable seat and handlebar – The features make the riding easier.
If you are looking for an excellent beginner-friendly kid’s bike, I recommend the Dynacraft Hot Wheels BMX (View on Amazon).
The 16-inch size bike is easy to ride by 4-8-year-olds and comes with a comfortable handlebar and seat.
Now the Process; How to Teach An Older Child to Ride A Bike
Step 1 – Pick a Safe Riding Location
You don’t expect your kid to start learning to ride a bike on the street with high traffic. You also don’t expect them to ride on soft grass even if it’s safe, as it may be hard to pedal.
More importantly, you shouldn’t allow them to ride on steep slopes as it’s unsafe for them.
So, what do you need?
Well, consider a well-tarmacked or smoother road like the parking space or the park.
That’ll allow them to ride smoothly and still have enough room to turn around. Remember to keep them away from heavy traffic.
Step 2 – Arm Your Child With the Right Gear
Since your child is only learning how to ride a bike, you must supply him/her with safety biking gear.
In particular, he/she should wear the following:
- Bike helmet – A good helmet will protect your child’s head from head injuries. So, don’t be quick to get just any helmet. It has to fit and feel comfortable on the head. More importantly, it should be certified to guarantee safety.
- Knee pads – They protect your child’s knee during a fall.
- Elbow pads – They protect your kid’s elbows during a fall.
- Wrist guards – They offer protection to your child’s wrists.
Step 3 – Prepare the Kid’s Bike
Before your child can start riding a bike, there are several things you’ve to do to the cycle. Among them are:
- Remove training wheels – While training wheels are essential for young kids, older ones don’t need them. Besides, you don’t expect your older kid to learn to balance on a bike if the training wheels are present. So, remove them.
- Detach the pedals – Though you’ll attach them later in step 6, your goal here is to teach your child to balance on the bike. They need to learn to balance before they can master how to pedal.
- Reposition the saddle – Consider lowering the bike seat to allow your child to sit more upright. That’s essential in teaching child to ride a bike.
- Check tire pressure – If the tires are not correctly inflated, ensure you pump them up correctly. It’ll be more comfortable for your child to smoothly ride the bike if the tire pressure is up to par.
Step 4 – Teach Your Kid to Coast (Without Pedals)
Your child should sit correctly and place his/her feet on the ground comfortably. That’s what coasting is all about, and here are the tips for doing it:
- Ask your child to sit at different positions on the saddle while placing the feet on the ground
- Encourage him/her to try to lift his/her feet off the ground
- Show him/her how to do it using another bike (adult bike) and see how long they can coast
Step 5 – Show Your Kid How To Turn
Show your kid how to turn by starting with bigger turns. Here are the steps to follow:
- Place four objects outdoors, 20 feet apart
- Ask your child to coast towards the objects and circle around them
- Encourage him/her to do it without placing his/her feet on the ground
- Now, reduce the distance between the four objects to 10 feet and repeat the above steps
Step 6 – Teach Your Kid to Pedal
Hoping that your kid can now coast and turn, it’s time he/she learns to pedal. So, reinstall the pedals and follow these steps:
- Ask your child to sit on the bike and hold him/her under the armpit for support
- Remember to set the pedals in the 1-3 o’clock position
- Now hold the bike seat and ask your kid to put one foot on the ground fast and the other on the pedal
- Ask him/her to start pedaling forward and backward
Step 7 – Teach Your Kid to Brake
Your kid must know how to slow down the bike and bring it to a stop.
Encourage him/her to break gradually until he/she can do comfortably without losing control.
Set an object 20 feet away and ask them to cycle towards it and stop.
You did it, and congratulations! That’s the best way to teach a child to ride a bike.
Why Can’t My Child Ride A Bike?
There are a couple of reasons why your child can’t ride a bike.
For one, it could be that he/she is too small to ride a particular bike or the bike is just too big for him/her.
Two, it could be that your child is too scared to try to ride. In this case, consider the tips below,
How Can I Teach A Scared Child To Ride A Bike?
These fantastic tips could make your child more confident and willing to cycle:
- Incentivize (promise a reward) to motivate the youngster
- Ride along with your kid to inspire confidence
- Find another more experienced kid to show your id how to ride a bike
Important Riding Lessons on How To Teach An Older Child To Ride A Bike
Below are essential cycling lessons to remember:
- It could take several days – It doesn’t mean that your child will ride a bike like a pro immediately after following my steps. It may take days.
- Regular practice is critical – You’ve to encourage your child to cycle more often. It builds their confidence.
- Set limits – The limit could be time or distance. Whatever it is, it’ll push your kid to work hard and go beyond it.
- Patience is paramount – Kids are different, some quicker to learn while others take time. So, you’ve to be patient with them.
In conclusion, now you know how to teach an older child to ride a bike. With the above steps and your unconditional support for your older child, he/she can ride a bike more confidently.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I assist my 10-year-old in learning to ride a bike?
In teaching biking skills to your 10-year-old, it’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all journey, nor will advance at the same pace. It’s important to select the appropriate kind and size of bike. An effectively-sized bike allows your child to touch the ground comfortably with their feet when seated. Start off with practice sessions in a quiet, traffic-free area. You could make the learning process more engaging by transforming it into a series of games. A helpful teaching strategy is the ‘scoot and glide’ method, where the child powers the bike along using their feet, it helps them to understand balance and steer quickly. Importantly, make sure the child is wearing a correctly fitted helmet for safety. As a parent, don’t forget to provide plenty of praise and encouragement.
Can an 8-year-old typically know how to ride a bike?
For many children, the age of 8 marks a milestone, where they have developed a certain level of physical coordination and balance that enables them to operate a bike without the need for training wheels. However, children are unique in their development speed and readiness. So, there are instances where children are ready to ride a bike at 8 or even earlier, while quelques participate in this activity at 10 or older. The key here is to observe your child’s development and not rush the process.
Is it too late for a 10-year-old to learn to ride a bike?
In essence, there is no age limit to acquiring new skills and this pertains to learning to ride a bike as well. At the age of 10, kids are likely to grasp the fundamentals of bike riding faster than a three or four-year-old. Their physical growth allows them to handle the bike better and they are able to understand and follow instructions much better, making learning to ride easier.
Should a 6-year-old be able to ride a bike?
Children develop at different rates, and this applies to their bike-riding abilities as well. Generally, a child’s bike-riding journey often starts between three and eight years old, immediately they gain good balance and control of their bodies, typically after mastering a balance bike. By the time they are six, some kids might have already developed the skills needed to ride a bike, while others might need a bit more time. The crucial aspect here is to let your child set their own pace and acknowledge the progress they make.