We’re sure that you remember learning how to ride your bike for the first time, and now the time has come for you to be the teacher. Before showing them the ways of the bicycle, it’s vital that you ensure they’re safe on their cycling adventures.
In this blog, we’re focusing on 5 tips for keeping your child safe on their first bike. As well as making it safer for them, it’ll also make the process a little less stressful for you.
1. Bike Sizing
The first and most important step to ensuring your child’s safety is finding them the right bike. Don’t buy a bike expecting your child to ‘fit into it’. Ask for help from one of our in-store experts or check out our guide on ‘How to choose the right bike for your child’.
In short, a bicycle is suitable when your child can sit comfortably on the seat, their feet reach the ground, and the handlebars are no higher than their shoulders. You should also consider foot brakes as well as hand brakes to give your child even more protection. Read on to learn more about the correct options for you.
2. Bike options
Your child doesn’t have to go to a bike straight away – we have other bike models on offer that can help develop their confidence on two wheels.
Balance bikes are beneficial for toddlers in developing their coordination and confidence skills. These are very good starters, as it makes it a whole lot easier for your child to progress to a bike since they have developed their balance already.
Great for boosting children’s independence, and for people with disabilities. They are more stable than a standard bike, with the frame closer to the ground, making gathering momentum much easier.
We advise keeping stabilisers on for as long as it takes your child to feel comfortable when riding their bike. This will take time so be patient!
One of the most important parts of learning to ride a bike is when and how to use the brakes. Our range of kids’ bikes come with brakes that are specially designed for their smaller hands. Here is a breakdown of the types of brakes we offer for children learning on their first bike:
Also known as back-pedal brakes or foot brakes, coaster brakes are on most kids’ bikes. They are simple in design and require zero maintenance. However, when they’re removed, they cannot be replaced.
Coaster brakes are most suitable when your child:
- Is familiar with coaster brakes from previous bikes.
- Has a disability that will make hand brakes difficult to use.
Much like what is on a standard adults’ bike, they’re useful when your child:
- Has proven coordination skills, strength and confidence when riding a bike.
- Have used hand brakes with a previous balance bike and are confident enough to use with their first pedal bike.
- Is confident when pedalling and looking to progress.
Whatever the final verdict, make sure your child is comfortable with braking before they take to the road.
4. Rules of the road
Before any trip out, check your child knows the rules of the road and ensure your child is accompanied by a family member. This can bring many further benefits to help your child fall in love with the outdoors. Want to explore more? Click here for some great ideas for cycling with your kids.
You should also ensure all bikes are well-maintained before hitting the road to avoid any accidents or embarrassing calls to friends and family!
Lastly, but certainly not least, consider the other equipment your child needs.
These are important in helping your child gain confidence before going onto 2 wheels. Plenty of our kids’ bikes come pre-equipped with these, but you can also buy them individually should your kid need a pair.
If they’re still a bit uneasy but are ready to progress from stabilisers, then a parent handle could be a good option. This gives you a bit more control of their cycling efforts without stabilisers supporting them constantly. Parent handles provide a good balance of support and independence that are sure to help your child develop their confidence.
A child should never be without head protection when riding a bike. Ensure that the helmet selected fits their head correctly, as one which is loose or in the wrong position won’t provide all the benefits a helmet gives.
Hi-vis vests are a good idea to equip your child with, especially if your child is beginning to ride on the main road. Make sure they’re visible to all road users, as this will help in preventing any accidents which could potentially occur.
In case they need to make themselves aware of to other road users, like on a busy road, then investing in a bell and horn could be a good idea. We have quite a range, some being more practical and others more playful, but nonetheless do a good job.
You can always trust our in-store team to offer you advice or alternatively, take a look at Cycling UK for a complete list of bike riding essentials. You can also search through our vast array of equipment across our website and in-store.
Hopefully you’re now feeling confident to take the leap on your child’s new adventure with a brand new boys’ or girls’ bike. Our team are more than happy to provide additional advice to meet your needs. Let their cycling journey begin!