Blog by: Bridget Hobbs, PT, DPT
Spring is here and bike riding season is upon us! Since May is national bike month (#bikemonth) I want to shed some light on biking, which is a fun activity the whole family can enjoy. Taking off the training wheels can be a big step, so here are a few tips that will ease the transition to a two-wheeler.
First, always make sure the child’s bike is in good condition. Inflated tires, working brakes and an oiled chain help to ensure safety. In order to properly assess if the bike is a proper height for your child, have them stand on the ground and adjust the seat so it is just under their bottom. Practicing getting on and off the bike before riding will also help them feel more independent and comfortable with the transition to a two-wheeler. A proper fitting bike helmet is a must as well! Some children may need comfortable fitting elbow and knee pads for safety.
The ‘run-behind’ method, where Mom or Dad runs behind while holding underneath the bike seat to give the child peace of mind, is a proven technique for beginning the two-wheeler process. Giving positive feedback such as “keep up the good work” can keep your child from getting discouraged while learning the skill of balancing on two wheels. Offering a reward, such a family bike trip to the ice cream shop will keep your child motivated to succeed.
Learning the balance of a two-wheeled bike is often the hardest part when transitioning from training wheels or a tricycle. If your child is having difficulty with the balance of a two-wheeler, it might be good to try a Strider Bike. A Strider Bike is a bike without pedals which can be used by children as young as 18 months to learn the balance, coordination and steering of a two-wheeler. This bike gives children the confidence they need to ride independently before transitioning to a bike with pedals.
The best way to teach your child to bike ride and enjoy overall fitness is to lead by example. So, plan some fun family outings to a forest preserve or park trails today!
For more information about Easter Seals DuPage & Fox Valley please visit EasterSealsDFVR.org.