Very nervous 7 Y/O

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Lance Dopestrong
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Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 13 Sep 2018, 10:46am

I have a 7 Y/O daughter that I'm trying to teach to ride. Give me an adult and I'll have them doing minute long trackstands by sundown, but training youngsters is new to me.

Problem is, Mini Dopestrong is very, very nervous indeed. I can get her riding along with me running alongside ever so loosely holding her, barely fingertips, but the moment I let go she panics madly and slams on the brakes. She's doing it, pedalling herself, keeping herself upgright and doing the deed, it's just the moment I let go she invariable clicks into safe mode and shuts down.

Any ideas?

Cheers,

LDS.
Self employed MIAS L5.B Instructor.
Warwickshire Lowland Rescue Bike lead.
IPMBA member.

Bez
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby Bez » 13 Sep 2018, 11:19am

Ours both went through that stage, but only briefly; I suspect maybe it simply lasts longer once they're a bit older (ours were both 3 at that point and at that age they're still fairly used to bopping themselves on various things, not least the ground). Are you doing it on grass or on tarmac? Each has their advantages: one hurts less when they fall, the other is much easier to ride on. I found a useful spot on the edge of the local cricket pitch: obviously it was grass, but it was smooth and on a slight slope which made it about as easy as cycling on tarmac. So I'd suggest maybe trying a slightly different environment, but mostly just being patient with it. They all learn different aspects at different speeds.

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Lance Dopestrong
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby Lance Dopestrong » 13 Sep 2018, 11:31am

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Aye, I've been using a fairly flat grassy area. I guess I'll persevere.
Self employed MIAS L5.B Instructor.
Warwickshire Lowland Rescue Bike lead.
IPMBA member.

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horizon
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby horizon » 13 Sep 2018, 11:39am

Bez wrote: Are you doing it on grass or on tarmac?


My question too. And another suggestion: play falling off - yes, you too, on the grass. BTW, balance bikes are a great idea but AIUI, she would be too old for one. So, fall over in slow motion and have lots of laughs until the fear evaporates.

The fear of falling off is justified (it hurts, to say the least) but it gets in the way of learning not to fall off. Both mine were taught on grass.
Bikes belong on trains: two spaces per carriage would meet most needs.

PT1029
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby PT1029 » 13 Sep 2018, 2:49pm

Are you are able to steady her by holding the seat post/rack? (probably hard for a 7 year old, a bit low down), you can then gradually slacken your hold (but not tell her) until she is basically riding on her own (but thinks you are still holding things up)
I did this with an older but nervous girl. I asked her if she was ready to try without me holding, she wasn't that keen. I then told her that for the last few runs along the path I hadn't geen holding her up at all and she had been balancing all on her own.
The next run she tried (sucessfully) on her own with me running along side just in case (not holding, which she knew would be the case).

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NUKe
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby NUKe » 13 Sep 2018, 2:58pm

My youngest was a late developer in terms of cycling. Took him a while to get used it. To the point that people were suggesting a tricycle.
What I would say is just keep taking mini me out and not worry about running alongside. Find a paved off road route that’s quite And just be prepared to run alongside for a long time. Suddenly they get it and take off and you cant keep up.
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pjclinch
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby pjclinch » 13 Sep 2018, 3:22pm

I've seen this sort of thing in adults and children: as soon as they're rolling free it's Grab The Brakes!

One thing I've found helps is switching to a scooter, which far more people feel they can just get on and glide. The balance works exactly the same, of course, so sometimes having done a nice glide with steering on a scooter the same thing on what is actually a very similar vehicle aside from having a seat suddenly seems easier.

A gentle slope works well for this: gravity provides enough power to roll without it getting too scary, and once they're gliding they can keep on rolling. You'll want a safe runout, obvs.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby [XAP]Bob » 14 Sep 2018, 9:23am

Confidence comes in it's own way for each person.

MicroBob has taken ages to learn to ride. A few rides on the tandem and Micro was clearly a speed freak, and capable of putting out some noticeable power...

Haven't really pushed it too hard, but since scooting was still developing the balance I was confident that the skills would transfer - and they did a few weeks ago MicroBob was away...
Now the trouble is getting Micro to stop (braking is fine, it's stopping at the end of a ride)
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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Si
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby Si » 14 Sep 2018, 1:34pm

I echo the comments above about getting them happy scooting with their feet up and without assistance, down a gentle slope, through some cones, etc so they are confident that they can keep the bike upright in a variety of circumstances. Then move onto pedalling....which is a big step to some.

Also, and I'm sure that you know all this already, but make sure that you keep it all fun and that even though you may be a little exasperated you dont let it show. We had one the other week - the lad was exactly like your child: could ride but as soon as his dad let go he panicked. The dad was getting a little wound up and this was putting more pressure on the son which just made the son panic more. We just told the dad to make sure that the son enjoyed it, that he could stop when ever he wanted, and that he was praised for what he could do rather than lambasted for what he couldn't, and the rest would come by itself eventually.

And if all else fails....go find a professional instructor - not because that instructor is necessarily any better than you, but because the child often responds differently with a stranger and is more likely to do what is asked of them without complaint....unlike with dad where they know how to twist you around their little fingers ;-)

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ibbo68
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Re: Very nervous 7 Y/O

Postby ibbo68 » 15 Sep 2018, 1:04am

My son was 7 before we got him off his stabilisers.Very nervous.He joined a local CC//GoRide group and really progressed.Sometimes it just needs a trained coach.Within three months of joining the CC he was riding a drop bar CX bike,clipped in within 6 months and racing by 12 months.He started road riding with me at 8 and rode in France that year.
Best thing we ever did.Three years on you’d think he’d been doing it since he could walk.