Five tips to teach your child to cycle

If you're not sure how to start teaching your child to cycle, Olympic gold medallist Joanna Rowsell Shand has some top tips to get you going...

1. One step at a time

Cycling requires children to master a series of skills, then bring them all together to balance, pedal and steer - all at the same time! When they're learning, it's much less stressful to break these skills down and tackle them one at a time.

2. Balancing

A great first step is to try removing the pedals from your child's bike. This leaves them free to concentrate on balancing, and they can have fun pushing off with their feet and gliding along. When their confidence has grown to the point where they're moving without wobbling or putting their feet down to balance, it's time to reattach the pedals and move on!

3. Pedalling

Once they're comfortable with balancing, introduce pedalling and encourage your little one to ride short distances in a straight line. Try to find a place where they can travel a short way without needing to steer or brake, so that they can focus on learning to pedal (and be aware that it might take a while!).

4. Steering

When your child can pedal confidently in a straight line, move on to steering. You could set up some obstacles for them to cycle around (something small and soft is a good idea at this stage). At first, make sure that the gap between the obstacles is large enough for your child to negotiate with very little movement of the handlebars.

5. Riding together

One of the best ways to build your child's cycling confidence is through practice and having fun – so why not head out for a family ride together. You needn’t go far – choose a route you're comfortable with. 

If you're looking to improve your own cycling skills and confidence before venturing out, you could always find a local cycle training instructor near you or do a Bikeability course.

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