daughter finally pedaling!
My daughter is 5 and has had her bike for about a year and a half since her birthday in nov 2011. I started her off with training wheels, but last fall read on the forum about the balance bike method. I watched a youtube video that claimed 1 hr to have a kid riding. So about oct of last year I took her pedals off and slammed the seat, She wasnt happy but got the hang of balancing after a few rides.
Im a little high pressure so my goal was to have her riding in that 1 hr time frame. She didnt love to ride after I took her training wheels off so it took maybe 4 weeks to get 5 10 minute sessions coasting down our cul de sac hill. She was doing great so I put her pedals back on (with only 10 minutes left to hit an hour). She proceeded to crash and over the next 3-4 months she would barely ride. I would just start her at the top of the hill and told her she just needed to roll down 5 times - I would have to bribe her with candy and cartoons just to get her to ride those 5 times and as soon as the 5 times were up she bolted.
I realized I was pushing too hard, so for easter (end of march) I bought her a balance bike from the easter bunny. She loved it and called it her easter bunny bike. She is pretty tall at a touch over 4 ft so the balance bike was ridiculously small, but she felt totally safe and started riding it all over. With the balance bike we played follow the leader and soon she was asking me if she could ride. She was bummed when it was time to go in. She still only rode once a week at the most, but it was better than me having to bribe her to ride 5 times down the hill. We went to the park, to the mailbox, over curbs, in the grass, sang silly songs etc playing follow the leader. She loved taking lines I couldnt follow, like stopping at the top of a 6 inch retaining wall and singing happy birthday. During that time she didnt ride her "big girl bike" at all.
Fast forward 2.5 months and yesterday she asked if she could ride her big girl bike. She rolled down the hill and started pedaling right away. My wife cried.
The lesson i learned is not to push her too hard and to keep things fun and let her go at her own pace.
She is a little big for the 16" bike and so we went to the store to look at 20" bikes. Of course she wanted the beach cruiser.
My preference is to get her a hot rock with gears and no coaster brake once she is able to just ride around, but in the spirit of not pushing too hard would you get her the beach cruiser? the neighbors daughter got a hot rock earlier this year and she did seem good with getting the exact same bike.
I showed her a picture of kids racing at a local race and she did seem excited by that...
Wow, your daughter is off the charts tall for her age. She's just tall enough for a 20 and at the max recommended height for a 16 inch bike.
I think it's really going to come down to strength and dexterity. My son, 7, was able to get the 20 inch going at 6 but I did notice he struggled some with the bike. The weight and size of the bike make it a bit awkward to get started, however once he's able to get the bike going, it's pretty smooth sailing. I'm surprised that several people on the board have 5 year old kids riding a 20 inch. My son isn't tall, but he's stronger and more agile than other kids his age, yet he still struggled some starting the bike.
All that being said, I'd suggest you have your daughter try out a 20 inch before buying it. Maybe the neighbor would let you borrow their bike to see if your daughter can manage the size/weight.
It may be a better choice for her to ride around on a 16 that's "too small" to build up her strength before moving to the 20 inch. You said she's able to ride around on a 12 inch balance bike, maybe a 16 would work fine.
Either way, I'd be sure to test out the bikes in question and find out from her which one is most comfortable. I know it would suck having to go with a 16 because she'll certainly out grow it in short order, but what good is a 20 inch if she can't enjoy it?
I went the 2nd hand route. If you're patient, you can find good deals on a bike.
Great post. I learned the same lesson teaching my older daughters to ride. Once the third one was ready to ride, I let her dictate the learning curve. Less stress for both her and I and to top it off, she learned more quickly than the other two. Live and learn.
She's 6, around 4 foot and just moved to a 20" Hotrock. The biggest struggle she's had is braking. The reach to the levers is a little long for her hands at this point. She is so comfortable on it though that she made me list her 'baby' bike on craigslist so she could get some ice cream money.
Its a great feeling isn't it. Using the balance bike method my 5 year old daughter was rolling down our grass hill out front in a day. Within a week we had her on our local rail trail and did a 12 mile round trip. Only thing we are still working on is when seat is high enough that she can't touch ground, she has trouble starting off. Also she jumps down a second before she stops which could hurt her. Guess she's afraid shell tip over.
96' Killer v
I think for new learning riders, it is better to error on the side of having the seat too low for optimal pedaling, in order for them to be able to confidently put theri feet down.
Originally Posted by sdm74
Getting a bike with relativly low bottom bracket and slightly longish cranks can also help with the tradeoff between efficient seat height and ability to put feet down. Seems like too many kids bikes I see have the bottom bracket so stupidly high (negative BB drop) that it make it unnecessarily hard for them to plant feet down.
Thanks for the story. I'm in a similar situation with my 5 year old, who refuses to leave the trailing wheel bike, even though he has ridden short lengths by himself without training wheels. I need to let him dictate when he's ready I guess.
"My riding style - like I'm being chased by a clown." - rscecil007
After they were able to ballance but still reluctant to solo ride, my kids did best with having me run along beside them, keeping a grip on thier shirt collar so that I could "rescue" them if they started to fall. After a few positive sessions they built up enough confidence, I could let go of them for progressivly longer amount time. At first they were freaked out when I would let go but gradually they realized that they didnt need me and their pride of being able to solo overcame the fear.
Originally Posted by Big B
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