If the Coronavirus has you scoping out the latest family cargo bikes or contemplating springing for that new two-wheeler for your kid, you’re not alone. Bike sales have soared off the charts with many families using this time together to strap on those helmets and ride as a family.
But, if you have a little one who is just starting out, what are the best ways to teach your kids to ride a bike without the tears or tantrums? We caught up with a few bike experts for insider tips to help get the family changing gears before you can say go! From how to prepare your kids to hit the pavement to what kind of bike is best for toddlers, we’ve got everything you need to know.
Psst…Earlier this week we published a story on the best kids bikes, tricycles and scooters for beginners. If you missed it, click here for the story or shop the bikes below.
Do Your Homework
According to Shane MacRhodes, Transportation Options Coordinator for the city of Eugene, OR, before you hit the pavement, it's important to check out a family cycling guide. The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the Portland Bureau of Transportation have great tips and tricks tailored to different stages riding bikes with kids—from pregnancy to kids riding on their own.
Go Tandem with Teeny Tots
Start out riding with the kids attached, whether in a trailer, bike seat or on a cargo bike. Not only will it get your blood pumping but the littles will get a first-hand experience at what it's like to be out biking around. Check out our top picks for best cargo bikes for families here.
Get Them Excited: Pick Out a Helmet
Let them be a part of the process by letting them pick out their own helmet. They can even adorn it with favorite stickers or decorations. The more they're invested in their own gear, the more they'll be willing to wear it when it counts.
Begin with a Balance Bike
Start kids out on a balance bike; unlike training wheels, it teaches them what really matters, balance! Worried about the transition? It’s actually easier to go from balance bike to pedal bike. Balance bikes are also lighter so when beginning riders decide they’ve had enough scooting for the day, the long haul back home (think: you carrying the bike) doesn’t seem so far.
Let Them See Other Kids Riding
We love that biking is a great social distancing activity. Our Editorial Director, whose toddler just learned how to ride a balance bike, took her son to watch other older kids ride their balance bikes. It wasn't until he saw the older kids push and glide that he truly understood how to do it himself (he was previously walking his bike, not understanding how to push off and glide). It was like a lightbulb went off and he then picked it up very quickly.
Size It Right
Thinking of getting a bike that grows with your baby biker? Well, think again. If toes are even just this far off the ground, or the pedals aren’t quite so push-friendly and the handlebars are too much to handle—yup, not so fun—kids are less likely to want to ride as often. If you aren't sure what type of bike to get, check out our list of best kids bikes for every age and stage. You can also go to your local bike shop to ask their advice and get fitted.