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TRAINING WHEELS OR NOT…

TRAINING WHEELS OR NOT…

I’ve had many parents ask me about training wheels.

The conversation usually goes something like this:

 

“Joey is (insert age that compares to nearest neighbor’s kid here, who has been riding a bike since birth)

 

And he’s ready to ride a “big bike” should I take the training wheels off? Just leave one on?”

 

This is where I mentally sigh. I’ve been there. We all have as parents. I’ve had 7 kids and they’ve all learned to ride bikes sans trainers at different ages. The youngest “Peach” has been introduced to a Strider (a balance bike) and I’m excited to track that progress. Click here for the video.

 

Anyways back to the training wheels dilemma-

 

My answer is usually the same: remove the trainers, lower the seat so the kid can comfortably touch the ground and let them go from there. (you could also remove the crank depending if the pedals are really in the way) You just basically made a balance bike. Why is this important?

 

One main reason: confidence in balancing. Riding a bike is mainly about balance. Tossing the trainers to the side, and wobbly supporting your kid as you encourage them to “just stay balanced”(what does that mean, and how do I do that is what the kid is most likely thinking) “don’t jerk the handle bars” “pedal faster” is a recipe for skinned knees and a kid who doesn’t want to learn to ride his bike because it hurts.

 

Removing the training wheels, and lowering the seat so he can touch the ground will allow him to gain balance on his own. He can touch the ground, so the fear of tipping over is lessened. He has complete control over the bike because he IS in control of the bike. Once he tools around on it for well, however long it takes for him to gain his balance, then you can start to raise the seat a bit. A BIT. Over a surprising short amount of time he’ll be riding his bike on his own.

6 Comments

  • Mark Stonich

    03.06.2016 at 00:34 Reply

    Last week my 6 year old great grandson finally learned to ride a bike. I gave him a balance bike 3 years ago. But his grandmother gave him a bike with training wheels. Thanks to the training wheels he developed all the wrong muscle memory for riding a bike. It took 3 years to undo the damage. It’s not like he’s uncoordinated, he’s been playing hockey since he was 4.

    OTOH my son Eli, who never had training wheels, rode a mile to Lake Nokomis, around it twice and back home, a week before his 3rd birthday.

    BTW in Europe they aren’t called “training wheels” as they definitely don’t train you to ride a bike. They are called stabilizers and are used by people with balance issues.

    • Alicia Vin Zant

      22.06.2016 at 20:25 Reply

      Thank-you for the comment! It’s neat to know that in Europe they’re called stabilizers. It actually makes a lot of sense!

  • Charlie Calvert

    03.06.2016 at 01:46 Reply

    You’re a natural!! Keep it going!

    • Alicia Vin Zant

      22.06.2016 at 20:25 Reply

      Awe, thanks!

  • Kiersten

    10.06.2016 at 16:20 Reply

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    • Alicia Vin Zant

      22.06.2016 at 20:26 Reply

      Thank you, and welcome!

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