Training Wheels Considered Harmful

About 25 years ago I learned of a simple method for teaching kids to ride a bicycle without training wheels.  I learned of this method on Usenet in rec.bicycles when the Internet was still a nascent communication medium.  Unfortunately I can not find the original source but several Web resources can now be found covering this approach.  Here is one good example:

Look, Mom! No training wheels!

3 children and 1 grandchild later I feel confident steering parents (no pun intended) against the use of training wheels when teaching kids to ride a bike.  It is not my intent to make this a personal mission or provide an elaborate how-to.  I feel compelled to include this information here because I still encounter friends and acquaintances who have never heard of this alternative.  Once introduced to this approach parents seem to immediately get it — It just makes sense.

Here’s as complicated as it gets from me:

  1. Get a bike small enough for your child to place their feet flat on the ground with the seat lowered and the pedals removed.
  2. Days or weeks later, when the child can push-off and glide two squares on the sidewalk before pushing off again, AND successfully corner, put the pedals back on.  At this point the child will usually start pedaling without further intervention having previously learned to pedal from their tricycle.
  3. Over the next few weeks SLOWLY raise the seat to an appropriate riding height.  Never move the seat more than 1/2″ at a time.

Here is a video of our grandson, Dante, on his first ride. (It was also my first ride on my brand new mountain bike purchased for next year’s Tour Divide).

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