As a child gets accustomed to riding a bike, you’ll notice that it’s teaching them to develop their motor skills.
Understanding the correct age that a child can ride without the training wheels can be challenging for parents, however, it’s also crucial that you understand that there isn’t a clear-cut age and most of all, there isn’t any rush.
The truth is that your child’s training wheels should come off only if and when you as a parent and your child are both confident that they can ride safely without them.
In the following article, take a look at some helpful information to guide you through the process of determining what the correct age is for your child to ride without training wheels.
- 1 Is training wheel usage healthy?
- 2 How to install training wheels on a toddler bike?
- 3 When should you take them off?
- 4 How to teach a toddler to ride without training wheels?
- 5 Conclusion
Is training wheel usage healthy?
If you are considering teaching a child how to ride a bike, then you’re probably also wondering whether training wheels are good or bad. Well, the truth is that training wheels have their advantages as well as disadvantages.
For one, they are great for learning the unnatural skill of pedalling. However, at the same time, that can be detrimental in teaching a child to balance.
Training wheels do, however, create an artificial understanding of speed by providing assistant balance. However, they can mislead the rider by reducing the effort it takes to ride a bicycle.
So while most kids learn with training wheels and it’s definitely a nice way to get going and get the hang of the feeling straight away, there comes a time when the training wheels need to come off.
Ultimately, the most important skill to enhance and develop in your child is a sense of balance when teaching them how to ride.
Once your child can balance a bike confidently, they no longer need training wheels. However, here are some of the reasons why training wheels are not recommended.
It’s hard to teach a child balance with training wheels. Balance is probably the most challenging part of learning how to ride a bike and training wheels don’t teach kids how to balance.
Training wheels do not teach steering
Training wheels are also inferior when it comes to teaching steering. It is ultimately the rider’s steering which keeps the bike on two wheels and upright. Therefore balance and steering on a bike are integral.
Bicycles with training wheels don’t balance the two-wheeled bike, so they also don’t steer like a two-wheeled bicycle. Therefore they have a limited ability to help young riders to learn how to ride a bicycle effectively.
Training wheels teach pedalling
Training wheels teach pedalling; however, this is easy to learn. So an alternative is to start riding on a balance bike with no pedals. This will teach them to balance and to steer, however, not to pedal.
Training wheels come with safety issues
Believe it or not, training wheels have unnecessary safety issues. The problem with training wheels is twofold.
The first problem is that the children cannot lean into turns on training wheels because they are not properly equipped to counter centrifugal force.
Ultimately when a child tries to turn with training wheels, it can result in the rider tipping towards the outside of the turn. Secondly, training wheels are not connected to brakes.
Therefore if the rear wheel is lifted off the ground by the training wheels, that rider has no braking ability. This also means that they cannot get their feet on the ground.
How to install training wheels on a toddler bike?
1. 15mm Wrench
2. Adjustable wrench
What’s usually included?
1. Small bracket brace plates
4. Serrated Washers
6. Shoulder bolts
7. Vertical brackets
Assemble the pieces in this order: Wheel, flat washer, nut, vertical, bracket, flat washer serrated washer and nut.
Remove axle nit and washer from bicycle axle.
Place bracket brace plate over the bike axle by inserting the tab into the open space of the bike frame.
Place the assembled training wheel onto the bracket brace plate and adjust the bracket height.
Replace axle washer and nut and secure tightly.
When should you take them off?
Irrespective of your child’s age, coordination and balance play a crucial role in helping your child ride a bicycle. This is even more so when training wheels aren’t there to provide the added support.
So some physical factors should be taken into consideration before removing the training wheels from your child’s bike. So let’s take a closer look at how certain age groups fare with training wheels.
Three to four years
3 to 4-year-olds are just starting to develop their motor skills and learning balance as well as different movements with their legs and feet.
So they would be more suited to riding three-wheeled vehicles, and at this age, you would need to keep the training wheels on if they’re riding a bike.
Four to five years
By this age, the majority of 4 to 5 years old have developed adequate balance and how to operate a bicycle without training wheels.
However, there’s still a chance they won’t understand the dangers that come along with riding a bike without training wheels.
So since children in this age group are at a higher risk of injury, riding a bike without the training wheels should only be allowed under adult supervision and with the child properly kitted in safety gear.
Six to twelve years
It is recommended that by age six kids are riding a bike without training wheels. By this age most kids have the strength and coordination for regular bike riding.
They’ve learned how to avoid the dangers of riding a bike with help from their parents. Children at this age develop enough strength in their hands to make use of handlebar brakes accurately as well.
Each child is different and learns at their own pace. It is therefore imperative that you never push your child to ride their bike without training wheels unless they agree wholeheartedly on doing so.
How to teach a toddler to ride without training wheels?
You may choose to teach your toddler to ride a bike with or without training wheels. Ultimately, it all boils down to what you feel comfortable with as a parent and which of these options you feel is safest.
However, if you choose to go the route of no training wheels, then you should simply lower the seat to allow your child to push themselves along and learn how to balance on the bicycle.
You should always start by teaching your child in a quiet place that has a tarmac surface. Try to avoid grassy and uneven ground at all costs as this makes learning more difficult.
When teaching a child how to ride, hold on to the child’s torso or under the armpits but never hold on to the handlebars as this will make it even more difficult to get through the process.
By holding onto your child and not the handlebar, they will learn how the bike balances as they lean and you can accelerate that by gently moving the torso from side to side as they ride and you will be able to gradually provide less and less guidance until they are cycling by themselves.
Most kids want to learn how to ride a bike, and it is also an easy way to get them into the fresh air and get some exercise. However, there are even further benefits to teaching a child how to ride a bike.
For one, it strengthens the leg muscles as well as their bones, and the continued exercise will help build their stamina and improve cardiovascular development.
Ultimately it also enhances their coordination and balance, not to mention the sense of achievement and increased confidence that comes from riding a bike independently.