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Old 05-25-2006, 07:11 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
Learning/Teaching how to ride a bicycle

I feel awful. My daughter is 9 1/2 and cannot ride her bicycle without training wheels. I am sure I am to blame. I should have started her earlier. But I was afraid.

First, we live in a very hilly area and packing up all the things needed plus 2 kids, to go somewhere flat does not happen often enough. There is a nice park with paths to go to, but I cannot go with the 2 kids by myself. If I could clone myself, then yes, I can do it. But 1 kid goes 1 way and the other one goes the other way. as most of you know, my husband is not around much or willing to join us (that is a different issue, I think).

Second, my daughter has been a nervous scaredy cat all of her life. Which in turn, makes me nervous. She is deathly afraid of hurting herself, has always had a hard time doing things she does not know how to do (I keep telling her she needs to try and learn, so she will know how).

I guess I also don't have the knowledge or patience to teach her properly. We recently took the training wheels off and tried it out on the grass. We did not get very far, first frustrated, then we were laughing. She insisted on just getting on it and going, but she cannot keep her balance and won't go fast enough to gain her balance. She refused to have me hold the bike steady for her. Finally, she agreed. But, geez, she is heavy and I have a hard time holding the bike steady.

Does anyone have any experience with this and/or advice? I really want to take rides with her soon, I am itching to get on my own bike.
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:20 AM   #2 (permalink)
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when we were kids and learning how to ride the method my dad used was to raise the training wheels - so that they weren't on the road - but up a few inches ( the training wheels were adjustable and allowed for this) it gave the security of training wheels if you needed them but they weren't assisting the rider..

another method, which i don't think was as successful - was taking off the training wheel on one side but the rider could then favor that side and make riding all the harder...

Sometimes she's just gotta do it - - I remeber my dad running along side the bike, with my mom yelling int he background, ron you're gonna have a heartattack.. he'd let go and voila we were riding.
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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buy her a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads or whatever else to keep her safe and then just work at it till she gets it. The reward will be worth a few falls, believe me. You just can't get frustrated. When I was trying to teach my 3 year old how the pedals worked on her tricycle, she would get easily frustrated. Then one day, poof! She was riding like she'd been doing it for years. It just has to sink in at its own pace
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:04 AM   #4 (permalink)
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if you don't have the patience for it... are there any classes she can take at the Y on how to ride a bike, or is there a neighborhood teen who'd be willing to teach her.. (sometime's it's easier for a kid to learn if mom and dad aren't around)

Also - does she go bike riding with her friends? What do the friends say about the training wheels (back in my neighborhood that'd get some serious teasing - enough teasing she'd take off the training wheels herself and learn to ride.)
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
She has elbow and knee pads, helmet and gloves. I will keep working at it and hopefully she will get it soon.

You know, I hardly see anyone riding their bikes around, probably too hilly. No one teases her as far as I know. I can look into lessons, if I can find any around. That was a great suggestion.
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:23 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I found the perfect method. I trained two of my kids this way: I wore roller blades, and skated behind them while they picked up speed. I used a paved school yard, or a parking lot. it is easier than a sidewalk.

the bonus of the rollerblades is that you don't get tired, and you can help stabalize them as they gain speed, and then skate along beside/behind they forget that you have let go. Plus you don't get tired, and your back wont hurt....
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Old 05-25-2006, 08:59 AM   #7 (permalink)
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With my son I did it the old fashioned way-holding onto his seat as he wriggled and wobbled and each time we went out I held on a little looser until I wasn't holding at all(He only thought I was). I think he was about six and it only took a couple of days.
With my daughter, it was harder. She was in third grade, still on training wheels because of fear. But on the other hand, she hated not being able to keep up with the other kids. For her, we took a radical approach. I took her to the park, put her on the top of a grassy hill and let go. She had two choices at the point, pedal or fall. She pedalled, then fell, but she did it.
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Old 05-25-2006, 10:20 AM   #8 (permalink)
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You reminded me that my 6yr old has asked to have his removed and learn how to ride like his older brother this summer. Whoa, it makes me tired thinking about it!

First of all, I'd like to say that I'm home alone with 4-6 kids on a regular basis and it shouldn't stop you from walking up the road to a park, going to the grocery store, or anything else really. The only thing I don't do without a second adult is my own doctor's appointments or dentist visits. But you know, sometimes I don't even have that choice if hubby is deployed. He works two jobs and also subs in for a contractor when he's home, so he's not home often. We sure enjoy him when he is, but it can't restrict my life that much or I'd never get anything done! I think that if you tried it a couple of times you'd find out that it's not that bad after all. The kiddies stay in the playground area of the park with clearly defined boundaries and an understanding that _leaving_ those borders means dreaded time-outs! Then you take the one you're working with in circles around said play area on the bike with half an eye on the rest of the brood. The hardest time I've had with that is when I have little tiny babies, infants, or just toddling babies. Those guys have to ride on my chest in snugglies or on my back in a toddler pack if I need both hands. I have taken as many as 12 kids to the zoo before; I don't go on crowded weekends - I take my homeschool and homeschooling friends' kids on school days for field trips. We have buddies, head counts, and stay together as a group. With four 1yr olds and at least one under a year we do end up with a wagon load of littles. I've found out that 6yr olds are at a great age to be happy about pushing umbrella strollers all over the hilly zoo, so sometimes that's an option if I have more than 4 kindergarten aged kids. (Having a huge fenced in yard with padlocked gates helps too - I can cook dinner with a ton of kids in the yard and know that the dogs would bark if a stranger walked up and the kiddies are CONTAINED...)

That's how my 9yr old learned - the 3yr old was swinging and sliding, the 3mos old was in the snugli, and I ran along beside as he (then 6) went 'round and 'round. He didn't get comfortable on the bike that summer. Hubby was home the next summer and we took him to the parking lot behind a church/school up the road. That's when he finally got comfortable enough to ride up and down the alley behind our house (it's quite hilly, but no cars except the two who use driveways back there). He's been on his bike constantly ever since. He had some powerful motivation - he wanted one of those Razor scooters SO bad that year and we told him that he couldn't have anything else with wheels until he'd learned to ride his bike sans trainers...
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:01 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
ClostGoth- you make it sound so easy. I guess I could try. It is not as simple as walking to the park, the park is not within walking distance. and I don't feel comfortable leaving my son partially looked after as I concentrate on helping my daughter. That is me, it is the way I am. There is no reason why my husband cannot join us on the nights that he is home. In fact, I plan on asking him tonight after dinner, while it is still sunny. I heard rain the near forecast.

ngdawg: I think my daughter would like to do it the way your daughter did. Now to find a grassy hill.

I have another question about the bike itself. When my daughter sits on it and puts her feet to the ground, are her feet supposed to be flat with her legs straight? I have 2 bikes and I think 1 is too small and the other too big.
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:02 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Find a hill with a grassy ditch and place bicycle in the ditch headed downhill. The sides of the ditch are used for balance. The downhill slope makes pedaling easier and the soft grass softens the fall. As your child starts to tip over they can use their feet to stay in balance. Once they are proficient at this downhill course they will do well on flat ground. The hardest part is finding a suitable ditch.
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:24 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Seems to me a treadmill and a some kind of harness would make a great indoor trainer. Really, just standing behind and holding the seat could help the first stages without becoming complex. No leaving the house, no babysitter, etc.
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Last edited by cyrnel; 05-25-2006 at 11:47 AM..
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Old 05-25-2006, 11:34 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sportswidow05
ClostGoth- you make it sound so easy. I guess I could try. It is not as simple as walking to the park, the park is not within walking distance. and I don't feel comfortable leaving my son partially looked after as I concentrate on helping my daughter. That is me, it is the way I am. There is no reason why my husband cannot join us on the nights that he is home. In fact, I plan on asking him tonight after dinner, while it is still sunny. I heard rain the near forecast.

ngdawg: I think my daughter would like to do it the way your daughter did. Now to find a grassy hill.

I have another question about the bike itself. When my daughter sits on it and puts her feet to the ground, are her feet supposed to be flat with her legs straight? I have 2 bikes and I think 1 is too small and the other too big.
Now, this is going back a LONG way, but....for my 9th birthday, my dad took me to a bike shop and told me 'pick one'. The owner of the shop, to help us out showed me that for the right sized bike, the feet should touch the ground to the balls of the feet-heels slightly up. Flat-footed to the ground, it might be too small; tippy-toes, there's no good balance standing still. (I picked out a very shiny pink and white, chromed-fendered 26 inch Schwinn, btw)
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:39 PM   #13 (permalink)
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You are never going to believe this. We took the kids to the playground behind my daughter's school. There is a basketball court there, 2 courts wide. We started off with me holding the back of her bike. Went around 2 maybe 3 times like that. I felt that she had her balance, I couldn't believe it. I slowly let go, she didn't even know. I told her when she stopped. She could not stop smiling and giggling. Not long after, she was doing it all on her own! Starting, riding, turning corners. She did it! She did it!

and stupid me, didn't bring my camera. I am SO upset. But I will never forget this day, and neither will she. She didn't want to stop, until I told her I'd treat her to ice cream for learning so quick. My husband came with us, he played with our son for awhile and then we switched, I was tired from running by her side. I am so glad he was there to see her ride her bicycle for the first time. I cannot stop smiling. I am so proud of her.
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:41 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Location: LI,NY
ngdawg: thanks for the info about the bikes. The one she is on is definitely too small, but the other one is too big.
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Old 05-25-2006, 03:46 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Awesome!!!
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Old 05-25-2006, 04:13 PM   #16 (permalink)
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way to go mom!!!
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Old 05-25-2006, 07:21 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Glad you got it all went well. Reminds me of teaching my boys to ride. All three were different sets of problems. In fact, the youngest one learned to ride without training wheels before the middle one. With the middle son, we tried everything. Then one day we were at the neighbor's house and he picked up the neighbor kid's bike and just started riding like he had all his life.
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Old 05-27-2006, 07:26 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Yes yes. That's how I was taught. And my father would push me to give a burst of speed.

Maybe do it like that, on a pavement which has grass on either side (for braking).
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