Teaching my son to ride

Cycling

For my son's third birthday, he got his first pedal bike. After riding his balance bike for over 18 months, it's now time to progress to pedals.

There are many different options for children's bikes. There are a lot of cheap versions in large high-street shops, but the majority of these are heavy. The best way to get started with anything is with a good experience. Small children struggle with heavy bikes, so finding something as light as possible was the primary focus.

There are plenty of new brands which are built with this goal and understand what makes a good children's bike. I looked at Frog Bikes, Islabikes and woom, all of which come recommended online. I loved the look of the Commencal Ramones 14, with it's proper MTB-looks of burly tyres and disc brakes.

After much research, I fell in love with the Early Rider Seeker 14. It is clean, light and is a proper mountain bike with it's nobly tyres. It features a cool looking belt drive, meaning less maintenance, no oily clothes and is also less likely to cause injury in case of a crash.

Not quite ready

For a few months, he wasn’t quite big enough for his new pedal bike, so he continued to use and love his green Strider balance bike.

As the days were getting warmer I took both bikes on our adventures over Cannock Chase. I found safe areas on grass in case of falls, with a slight gradient to help maintain momentum while he learnt to pedal. After some persuasion he tried a few times, but he spent most of the on his balance bike.

Everytime we went out I asked him which bike he wanted to use and the answer was always the same; “the small green bike”. Even though I managed to push him around the block with his feet on the pedals and he could free-wheel down a hill – even learning to use his brakes – he was always more excited to be on his balance bike.

Removing the pedals

The newer bike is larger and heavier, so the addition of a new mechanism to move the bike added even more hinderance to riding. To help his confidence I decided to remove the pedals. Since then I have not heard a thing about his “small green bike” and everytime I ask him, he enthusiastically replies “the big bike”.