A Safe Routes to School Bike Rodeo in Alexandria produced some promising new riders at Tucker Elementary School this past weekend. After educating approximately 60 student riders (and parents) about the basics of smart bicycling, handing out free helmets and ushering riders through a long skills course, WABA education staff started removing training wheels from some of the youngest rider’s bikes. The results were pretty amazing and after a few minutes of “pedals-off” scooting one 7 year old girl was ready to put her pedals back on. To the amazement of her father she took-off like she had been riding for years, a real pro!
Three more riders were liberated from their training wheels and several more made real progress towards freedom on 2 wheels. Glen Harrison, WABA bicycle education staff, encourages more parents to teach their children how to ride a bike by using this simple, effective method.
1) Lower the seat and remove the pedals (the left one is reverse threaded)
2) Have child scoot their bike with both feet on smooth, level surface (don’t hold the bike or rider, this will only hinder progress)
3) Insist on practicing until the rider can balance and steer in a straight line with both feet off the ground for 20-30 feet.
4) Raise the seat and re-install pedals.
5) Show rider how to step down on one raised pedal to create forward movement.
6) Rider should sit up, arms straight (but not locked) and looking out in front of the bike about 20 feet (don’t look at feet or front wheel).
7) Give gentle push on back to help get started until rider’s feet can “find” the other pedal.
8) Teach rider how to stop!