Balance bike training

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Balance bike training

Postby 19478 » 7 Mar 2013, 9:42pm

Hi, does anyone know if there's a manual outlining the stages for getting children to learn to ride a balance bike?
Any help would be greatfully received

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Re: Balance bike training

Postby Vorpal » 8 Mar 2013, 10:27am

I have not seen anything. However, most children seem to understand them intuitively. They will happily go from a ride-on toy with 4 wheels to one with 2 wheels with not too much trouble. I have observed a few children clearly being uncertain about the balance initially. They basically just walked cautiously with the balance bike under their backsides.

But all of the children I have worked with gained confidence quite quickly. They have needed coaching and suggestions, but minimal help. If anything, the problem tends to be the opposite. They get the hang of it very quickly and want to go faster than the speed at which they can comfortably control it.

I think that hardest part is probably finding the right balance (sorry about the pun :)) between letting them explore their capabilities, and over reaching their capabilities.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

John Holiday
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby John Holiday » 8 Mar 2013, 11:47am

Once they have got the hang of propelling the bike with their feet,try the child on a gentle,smooth slope,at which point they will probably really get the hang of 'balance' without their feet on the ground.

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georgew
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby georgew » 8 Mar 2013, 2:52pm

No need for a particular type of bike. Remove the pedals from the child's bike and lower the saddle so they can teach the ground with the flats of their feet. The child will now learn to balance but pushing along with the feet. When this is achieved, fit the pedals and raise the saddle to the right height.
Aids for learning to cycle usually slow down the learning process.

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Re: Balance bike training

Postby Mark1978 » 8 Mar 2013, 3:43pm

So stabilisers are out now then?

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meic
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby meic » 8 Mar 2013, 3:49pm

georgew wrote:No need for a particular type of bike. Remove the pedals from the child's bike and lower the saddle so they can teach the ground with the flats of their feet. The child will now learn to balance but pushing along with the feet. When this is achieved, fit the pedals and raise the saddle to the right height.
Aids for learning to cycle usually slow down the learning process.



Except that balance bikes are able to be much smaller than the smallest bike without pedals.
If my daughter had waited to fit a bike without pedals she would have learned to ride about a year later than she did.
Yma o Hyd

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georgew
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby georgew » 8 Mar 2013, 8:25pm

Mark1978 wrote:So stabilisers are out now then?



They actually stop the child learning to balance.

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georgew
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby georgew » 8 Mar 2013, 8:27pm

meic wrote:
georgew wrote:No need for a particular type of bike. Remove the pedals from the child's bike and lower the saddle so they can teach the ground with the flats of their feet. The child will now learn to balance but pushing along with the feet. When this is achieved, fit the pedals and raise the saddle to the right height.
Aids for learning to cycle usually slow down the learning process.



Except that balance bikes are able to be much smaller than the smallest bike without pedals.
If my daughter had waited to fit a bike without pedals she would have learned to ride about a year later than she did.


Not in my experience. We have sold bikes with pedals which are absolutely tiny and the same method works.

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Re: Balance bike training

Postby pjclinch » 11 Mar 2013, 9:28am

Mark1978 wrote:So stabilisers are out now then?


Obviously they work to some degree... lots of folk have learned on them, after all. But they are increasingly frowned upon as counter-productive (nothing new in that: I learned to ride in the early 70s and my parents had no time at all for them).

I would suggest that their place is with that subset of potential riders who feel a bike with no pedals just isn't cool enough but who don't feel that way about stabilisers. If it's what it takes to get them on a bike then that's what it takes. That it makes learning harder is small beer to making learning impossible because they just don't want to do it.

But a balance bike (whether dedicated or just a normal bike not immediately powered by pedals) is now generally thought of as the better way to go. Balance and steering is harder to learn than pedalling, balance bikes make the hardest bit easier and once they have that then progressing to pedalling is typically trivial.

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Re: Balance bike training

Postby Mark1978 » 11 Mar 2013, 9:30am

I learned with stabilisers, like everyone else in my days. However I remember trying to ride without them and it was a struggle. Of course I was only little so I don't have much recollection.

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georgew
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby georgew » 11 Mar 2013, 11:01am

I think that the core problem in learning to ride a bike is the same as that of learning to swim. The problem lies in trying to learn too many processes at the same time and the way to fix that, as any good teacher should know, is to break it down into discrete parts and teach one at a time. At one time they taught swimming by having the pupil laying on the edge of the pool practising the Breast stroke before entering the water and then attempting to put all together as they try to keep afloat. Now they allow the learner to learn to float and doggy-paddle which breeds confidence before attempting the more complicated process of integrating all of the component parts together in swimming.
Applying this to cycling, the use of stabilisers inhibits the skill of learning to balance and so slows the learning process and "balance" which requires confidence, is probably the most important component in learning to ride.

nye terry
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Re: Balance bike training

Postby nye terry » 5 Apr 2013, 3:07pm

http://www.balanceability.com/

I have no associaiton with this but I saw this advertised and thought it may help with some of your balancing questions.

At Brighton on the odd occasion we train beginners we have an alloy framed 20" wheeler with a couple of seatposts (height to suit) and we have completly removed the crankset to make a balance bike.It gives pupils the chance to get used to utilising the brakes as well as many small wheeled balance bikes don't have brakes fitted.
So we start with them wheeling it along and using the brakes to see how they work, then when happy with that we will move onto either a gentle grass slope or a gentle slope on tarmac/playgound and get them to walk along whilst seated on the saddle.using the brakes to control the speed. At this stage the saddle is set so their feet can be flat on the ground.
They will often naturally get faster and the balance will come as they spend longer with their feet off the ground between footsteps. When you and they are happy to move on, us e a bike with pedals, or replace them depending on what you have been using.
I hope that helps?
T