Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

For discussions within the Cycle Training profession.
Joolz
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Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Joolz » 2 Jul 2012, 2:41pm

This Canadian blogger

http://www.canada.com/Lakritz+Pros+teac ... story.html

is outraged that children learning to ride bikes is being "professionalised" rather than being taught by parents, as has always been the case. What do you think? Children don't usually get taught how to swim by parents so should cycling be any different? After all, an instructor knows the correct technique for setting the pedal, covering the brakes etc. But shouldn't parents be capable of teaching the basic balance skills first? Let us know what you think.

hitchintom
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby hitchintom » 4 Jul 2012, 5:50pm

The problem is, is that there is a whole generation of parents out there who have either never ridden a bike or stopped riding when they were about 10 and therefore have no idea how to train their children. It really is down to us trainers if we want todays youngsters to ride bikes.

Billw
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Billw » 4 Jul 2012, 10:48pm

I've had the great pleasure of teaching numerous kids - and adults too - to cycle for the first time.......and to be paid for it too, which makes it doubly rewarding. What I've found is a wide cross-section of reasons why people have chosen to pay for lessons - whether for themselves or for their kids.
Some had fallen and hurt themselves because their well-meaning dads caused them to crash, others had simply got to age 9, 19, or even 59 and didn't know where to start. There may have been a few whose parents were too busy to do it themselves, but it was generally that parents didn't want to risk a bad experience that might put their kids off.

Going into schools as a cycling coach, in inner London, I generally found that by age 11, anywhere between 5 and 15 kids out of a class of 30 had not yet learnt. It was rarely any less than 5, wherever I went. In the countryside, it was more like 1-3 in each class. Reasons probably to do with where to store a bike on a housing estate, or the worry about losing it - but the end result was large numbers of non riders in certain areas.

The old cycling proficiency test simply didn't get delivered for years in many schools, and therefore people took to cars instead, and tended to believe it when they were told bikes were dangerous. Now that Bikeability is available, cycle training has skipped a generation in many areas, so it's no wonder that parents need others to train them.

At the end of the day, what is important is that someone teaches people who want to learn. Parents, friends, paid instructors - who cares so long as they learn!

drossall
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby drossall » 4 Jul 2012, 11:33pm

Children were once taught to swim by parents, surely? Almost everything is now being professionalised, and requires certified training by a certified trainer, which once you just did.

I'd say that parents should teach children actually to ride, but there's value in professional safety training.

John Holiday
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby John Holiday » 5 Jul 2012, 12:29pm

Most of the parents which I come across as an Instructor admit to not being cyclists, & therefor see merit in having their children properly trained.
Occasionaly we come across a child with keen,cycling parents,but who still want the child to participate in Level 1& 2 training.
I think most people will accept that with much busier roads than when parents were learning,proper training has benefits.
Ironically, this week whilst training,we were asailed by 'Mr.Grumpy', who said we were wasting our time & that the children wouldn't take any notice of our training once out of sight! Almost without exception,we are usually greeted by smiles & comments about 'good job your doing'.

theenglishman
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby theenglishman » 5 Jul 2012, 2:32pm

Oh God - isn't teaching your child to ride a bike one of life's great feelings? If doing something like this isn't 'spending quality time with your child' then I don't know what is.

In fact this exact moment is one of my first memories - I know EXACTLY where it happened and still smile to myself whenever I pass that location.

Andyw
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Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Andyw » 5 Jul 2012, 5:25pm

I've 3 kids and I'm considering out-sourcing their parenting, which will give me more time to ride my bike.

But seriously, taught the older 2 to ride which was a little hairy at times. Little one having non of it, threw temper tantrums and kicked bike every time she fell off. A few weeks later she invited me into the garden to watch something. She just jumped on her bike and off she rode. Taught herself on a bike at school.
Now I'm being nagged for 3 new bikes.

Bikecat
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Bikecat » 5 Jul 2012, 10:09pm

I teach loads of kids to ride and the biggest reason their parents haven't had much luck is that they don't know the golden principle: that to balance you need to turn the handlebars in the same direction that you are tilting/leaning. This lack of knowledge applies to all the adults I have ever taught too. Almost the first thing I show then is the difference between turning the handlebars away from the lean or towards it. One causes the bike to fall the other brings it upright. So armed with this knowledge most kids learn within a few minutes. Some adults take 8 or 9 minutes and some take longer.
Ask mot cyclists how they balance and I'd say 90% don't know!

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Cunobelin
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Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Cunobelin » 6 Jul 2012, 1:58pm

Define teaching.......

A tag along with increasing input from the child on real roads with an experienced and competent cyclist on the towing bike is far better than any playground course

John-D
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby John-D » 6 Jul 2012, 2:03pm

theenglishman wrote:Oh God - isn't teaching your child to ride a bike one of life's great feelings? If doing something like this isn't 'spending quality time with your child' then I don't know what is.

In fact this exact moment is one of my first memories - I know EXACTLY where it happened and still smile to myself whenever I pass that location.


Yes, indeed when it comes to first learning to ride a bike but not necessarily the finer points of riding on the road. Many parents would probably teach that the pavement is the place to be.

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Si
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Si » 6 Jul 2012, 2:38pm

Given that (apparently) families are desperate to find 'great family days out' where they can all participate in something together, would there be any scope in trainers running courses/classes where the parents are helped to teach their kids to ride properly?

Vorpal
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Vorpal » 6 Jul 2012, 3:14pm

I could write an essay on this one. I'll try not to... :oops:

I loved teaching Mini V to ride her bike, and I cannot imagine letting anyone else teach my kids to ride. To me it is one of the joys of parenting.

I've taught other people's children to ride, and there are lots of reasons that I did so, and they wanted me to. One mum said to me, "I'd rather you taught him because you cycle everywhere." She hadn't been on a bicycle since she was a child.

But so many children come to Bikeability lessons with a fear of the road, and little sense about how to use it, that I think formal lessons of some sort could be very valuable for young children who are just learning to ride their bikes.

Si's suggestion of teaching parents to teach their children is an excellent one. It encourages parental involvement, and should improve the parents' cycling as well as the children's. It also might improve the chances that parents won't undo the good the Bikeability does.

But I think that relatively small numbers of families would be interested. Most families who want to cycle together already know how. Put all the bikes on the car, drive to the country park...
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Geriatrix
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby Geriatrix » 7 Jul 2012, 10:42pm

So many variables so it depends.
I'm a fairly recent convert to cycling in that up to 7 years ago I would have been classed as and infrequent cyclist - once a month maybe.
I did teach or rather supervise my daughters cycling which was about as infrequent as mine.
I am now a regular recreational cyclist, cycle commuter and convert to John Franklin's methods. Just about everything I taught her before reading Franklin's Cyclecraft was plain wrong and possibly dangerous.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

dalifnei
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby dalifnei » 10 Sep 2012, 2:30pm

My wife the great trainer taught me to swim when we were courting, I was about 25.

Our children have all had the "balance bike". Recently our eldest (5) wanted to graduate to a lovely pink and purple pedal bike. I duly ran out and bought stabilisers (just like I had). Dear wife refused to allow me to fit them - otherwise what would have been the point of the balance bike... I had my doubts as it took me years to get the hang of it.

A week later our daughter was confidently riding around our little estate and now goes out every night with the other children.

Though that is just the 'riding' part. Hopefully she'll pick up the road sense when out with us - I'm planning to take her to one of the local parks that has a whole mini town laid out with mini roads to practice cycling on. But I'm conscious that, despite my best intentions, I must have serious flaws that I don't want to pass on so in good time she will enjoy and benefit from some structured training.

There must be a big difference for kids who live in very quiet estates like ours where the children own the road and cars tend to be slow and safe, and those in busy urban streets where they don't have time to learn where to be on the road in their own time.

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easyroller
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Re: Should parents be training children to ride bikes?

Postby easyroller » 10 Sep 2012, 2:43pm

Cycling instructor? :)

Now why oh why didn't my school careers advisor make me aware of THAT career choice?!?!