Biking is fun for people of all ages and is a valued form of exercise. When it comes to kids, a lot of factors come into play, mainly enthusiasm for learning new things.
Learning and consequently being able to ride a bike can be a milestone for the kids.
Moreover, in this digital world, kids are permanently amused by mobile phones and video games. So, teaching them to cycle is a beneficial escape from the digital world.
The age range for a kid to start riding a bike is 3 to 8 years. Generally, children above just 5 years of age are best suited to learn biking.
But it is not the same with all children. Each child has their own developmental pace. So, it varies from kid to kid in learning bikes within the suitable age range.
Apart from this, other aspects also play a vital role in deciding the best time for getting your kid a bike.
Basic Factors that Determine Kids Cycling Age
1. Physical and Mental Growth
The child should be capable of analyzing direction changes and generating strength to pedal and slightly balancing.
The mere absence of these qualities can be a signal to wait for expecting the kids to learn biking.
2. Presonal Interest
Every kids do not need to be delighted with bike riding. Some may prefer other activities like skating or dancing.
It is the responsibility of parents to understand what their kid is intrigued by and support their choices.
Neighbors’ kids riding bikes in the street or elder siblings having fun with bikes can have a great impact on children wanting to learn.
Despite all the interests exhibited by a child, lack of resources can be a setback for a child from learning to ride.
The absence of a guide (parents or caretakers) to supervise the kid during training sessions and can demotivate them.
There might be cases where the child has seen cycle accidents with his/her eyes. Television scenes or real life encounters could implant the feeling of riding fear in them.
Such children should be dealt with utmost care while guiding. And if the fear is extreme, the idea of biking should be put on hold until the fear fades.
Whether it be cycling or walking or any other things, it is always overwhelming as parents to teach your children for the first time.
But with the right information, guidance, and tools, the process becomes much safer with fewer troubles and confusion.
Journey from Balance Bikes to Normal Kids Bikes
Even with every information in the world, parents can go through a hard time deciding: When to step up and hand over a bike to their kids.
Parents are always conscious of potential dangers as kids are prone to injuries resulting from cycling events like unbalanced position, improper steering, and speeding.
So, the gradual learning technique might come in handy for such cases.
In this technique, kids, based on their age and capacity, start from simple bikes and advance to less simple bikes, finally reaching normal bikes.
Age of 2-3 Years
Normally kids of this age group are just in the initial phase of their motor skills development. They have just perfected their walking and developed a sense of balance and body movements.
So tricycle (a cycle having two wheels at the back and one wheel at the front) might be the best option if you want your child to start on with riding.
Balance bikes (which do not have pedals like normal bikes, and seats are generally lower) are alternatives to training kids on balance and movement of cycle.
Balance Bike for Starters
Children at this age are also greatly influenced by their elders. They try to imitate their behaviors and attitudes.
So elder brother or sister of the family should act as a role model in helping their young ones. In the absence of siblings, parents or an authentic coach can fill up that position.
But the teaching action should not exceed the level where the learning experience for the kid becomes rather frustrating and unwanted.
Age of 3-5 Years
At this age, your kid would have a sufficient experience with a tricycle or a balance bike. So now, your kid can get promoted to two-wheelers that come with stabilizers on the sides of the rear wheel.
Later they can be given a normal bike and helped to steer around under the support on their shoulders and upper body by the supervisor.
Once the children reach five years of age, most of them are skilled enough to handle and balance the normal bike without training wheels and external support.
While some might insist on riding a normal bike, seeing others doing so, and if they are not expert enough, it might be risky.
It is also stated in research and studies that children of this age group possess a higher risk of injuries while riding a normal two-wheeler bike. The reason being they are not fully aware of the possible dangers associated with cycling.
But under proper supervision and assistance, these risks can be avoided.
The body of children is weak at this phase, and bone-breaking is very common, along with many other problems which could be severe later.
So, proper diagnosis of such injuries should be carried out in time, and treatment should be provided. And biking should be avoided during the recovery time.
you can check Essential Medical Supplies that your Kids’ Bike should have from my other article.
Age of 6-12 Years
By the age of six, a well-trained kid will have already mastered the art of riding a normal bike. Strength is developed enough within them to handle the steering and balance the bike.
They are capable of manipulating the speed of the bike as well.
In addition to this, they are well adapted to the mechanisms of braking. They can now tour the neighborhood with their friends on a bike.
Ultimately when the children hit the ninth year or above, they can operate multi-gear and speeding bikes as well.
But with more expertise comes more risks because now they can explore new things on the bike, such as stunts or speeding, or riding in heavy traffic streets. Such acts might prove to be trickier than they seem to be.
So as a parent, it would be best always to be alert enough to know where your kid is heading for cycling with their friends.
Nonetheless, having a guide or a trained rider beside is always a better idea for children of this age.
Precautions for Kids while Learning Bike
Considering the safety of your little ones, whether they are 2 or 9 years old is always the top priority. Various measures can be implemented to counter or minimize any potential hazards and risks. The precautions are categorized into different phases that kids go through while learning a bike.
Considerations for Kids Learning Bike for the First Time
- Provision of safety gear like appropriate size helmets, elbow guards, and knee pads.
- Supervisors can set an example for kids by wearing helmets themselves.
- Checking of brakes and seat adjustments prior to training.
- Ensuring the bike is of the proper height for the kid as per which the kid can touch the ground with the feet while being seated.
- Staying around kids during the ride gives them a sense of comfort and safety.
- Making children well understood about the mechanism of the bike such as steering handle to appropriate direction, proper pedaling manner, and speeding.
- Limit the training environment to safe places like gardens or home streets where there are no speeding bikes or vehicles. Designing a small track in the backyard can be a great idea for a training ground.
- Creating an entertaining atmosphere is always a plus point for the training of kids.
Precautions for Learning Kids in Later Phases
- Letting kids progress from tricycles or balance bikes to two-wheelers based upon their desire and progress rather than forcing them to ride two-wheelers directly from the start.
- Congratulating kids on their progress.
- Wearing bright-colored clothes by the kid which is easily visible by distant vehicles and motorbikes.
- Judging the appropriate time for a kid to ride out on the normal roads observing his/her expertise.
- Making children fully aware of traffic rules and safety is mandatory too as the kid will ride on roads eventually.
After all, every child has different habits, and the same ways might not work with all children. When it comes to knowing how to motivate and guide children, no one can overtake parents.
The most important thing is to consider the protection of your kids at all times. And secondly, never pressurize your kids to try out new things until they are ready.
You can have some ideas about how to motivate your kids for riding a bike in my article: 10 Ways to Motivate your Kids to ride a Bike.
Let them skill up with age on their own, teach your kids in an enjoyable manner, and make it a joyous experience.