Learn To Ride A Bike

How To Safely Take That First Ride

I remember the day I first learned to ride a bike. It was a beautiful spring day back in May of 1962. I just turned 6 years old and never rode a bike before. I learned on my cousins' old 20" cruiser bike that had fat tires and was painted light blue (maybe it was a Schwinn, I don't know). My mom, dad and I, along with my 4 siblings went over the train tracks to my Aunt Jessies' house in Rosedale, Maryland (she just turned 90). 

The roads near my aunts' house were very lightly traveled with small up and down hill inclines, so it was just right to easily coast. I'm not sure how long it initially took to learn (maybe 30 to 45 minutes or so) but I remember riding through the neighborhood most of the day. What a great sense of achievement I felt as I circled those back roads over and over again. It was the time of my life for me.

Now Sarah is 6 years old and wants to take off her training wheels. Is she ready to take the next step? If she's confident enough riding with her training wheels on, it just may be time to take them off. Once you've decided to take the training wheels off, take the following steps.

First of all, you'll want to make sure you have all of the necessary safety gear needed to prevent injuries. You'll need a certified bicycle safety helmet that meets legal CPSC standards. Also, you'll need knee and elbow pads in case your child falls.

Now that your child has accomplished riding on 2 wheels, make sure to teach these important bike safety rules for on road riding. 
  • Stop at stop signs and red lights. 
  • Ride on the right with traffic. 
  • Have approved reflectors and/or lights. 
  • Go over proper use of the bikes brakes. 
  • Make sure your child understands how to stop. 
If your child is riding at a playground, make sure they take off their helmet before getting on playground equipment to avoid strangulation.

Okey, now that you have all that done, find an area that has a smooth, slightly inclined surface (preferably a quiet secluded neighborhood off the beaten path). When she gets on the bike so that both feet touch the ground, and starts to coast, she’ll be riding that bike in no time at all, just like me.

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