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  1. #1
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    How to get training wheels off?

    I started my son on a balance bike. He got real bored pushing it around the neighborhood and wanrted pedals like his sister. So, he has a Hotrock 16 now, with training wheels. I put on hand brakes and a freewheeling, rear wheel. He just turned four and his training wheels. I like the training wheels on the bike, they are wide so he doesn't tip over, but the bike is real wobbly. He is afraid of falling down and insists that I hold his handle bars on steep grades, over dips, etc.

    He quickly says no when I ask him about taking the training wheels off. It is a matter of time, months or years. I figure the more he rides, the more confident he becomes, the quicker the wheels will come off, right?

    Any other thoughts?

    Thanks Bill

  2. #2
    turtles make me hot
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    My son was riding with training wheels. My wife was adamant that I left them on there. I knew I could teach him to ride by converting his bike to a balance bike.
    One day, while she was napping, I removed the chain and crankset and slammed the seat. In no time,he was coasting around with his feet up. After 30 or 40 minutes, I reassembled his bike and he was riding. Been riding ever since. Makes me glad I didn't spend the money on a balance bike.
    I would say yes, the sooner the better.
    I like turtles

  3. #3
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    Thanks. The problem is he is afraid of falling down. And he does not like to push the bike. Bill

  4. #4
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    Is the seat low enough for him to put his feet flat on the ground? Make it so. Then he won't be afraid of tipping. Take off the training wheels, and the pedals, so it's like a balance bike to start. Keep him on flat stuff, not "steep grades". When he's comfortable enough that he's whooping and lifting his feet up and balancing well, then he's ready for the pedals (w/out training wheels) and should be able to ride right off. But still keep him on flat stuff till he gets his confidence & skills and goes looking for more challenges.

    Though at 4 I wonder, can he work the hand brake?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinsd View Post
    Thanks. The problem is he is afraid of falling down. And he does not like to push the bike. Bill
    My son was the same way. I took the pedals and training wheels off and left his bike in the back yard. Told him if he wanted to ride his bike, this is how he had to now. He wouldn't touch it for months he was so mad. Then one day...

    "Daddy look what I can do... Can I have my pedals back"?

    Every kid is different on the time frame. My daughter had training wheels for a very short time. I took them and the pedals off... She was riding with just pedals later the same day. Balance bike style IS the way... mostly it's just a confidence thing.

  6. #6
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    What's the rush? If the kid is happy, be happy. When they're ready they'll do it, and the important thing is for them to feel secure and confident, which won't happen if they feel that you're pushing them to do something they're not ready for.

    Think about how heavy the bike is, and how heavy the kids is. Would you be able to stop a 100 pound bike from going over? Most kids have no chance, and just have to fall over, and that's scary.

    I taught my kids with the time honored "run alongside and holds the seat method", graduating to "hold the shoulders" as they got close to being on their own. Some take longer than others, it just depends on the kid. When they're ready, one day they'll just take off.

    Hopefully you have somewhere you can ride behind them on their training wheels. It's slow, but I could go a couple of miles with my kids, and we all had a good time. Just have fun.

  7. #7
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    When my son was 2 1/2 he asked for them to be taken off since he couldn't make a corner on our street with them on. 30 minutes later he put them in the trash.

    I simply held his shoulders so he learned to steer himself rather than me holding him up. It literally took 20 minutes. He couldn't touch the ground so he would bail out into the grass and jump off.

  8. #8
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    When my daughter was old enough she insisted we take her training wheels off because she didn't want a "baby's bike" anymore and she wanted to be a big girl. She learned to ride when she was 6. So yeah, all kids are different. Just bide your time and he'll come around.
    The unexamined life is not worth living - Socrates

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Is the seat low enough for him to put his feet flat on the ground?
    No
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    But still keep him on flat stuff till he gets his confidence & skills.
    I tried that before and he would go a block and then want me to carry his bike. My wife just laughed at me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikey View Post
    Though at 4 I wonder, can he work the hand brake?
    I read on the Family Forum about replacing the M4 set screws with longer 20mm ones. I doubted it too and when I saw him struggling with the coaster brake I gave it a try. After I put in the longer 20mm set screws, I was able to turn them so far, that the brake levers are about 1/2 inch from the handle grips, so they are EASY for him to reach and squeeze and stop. He also has more stopping power, because he has a brake on the front wheel. He was struggling with the coaster brake to stop and it was always getting in his way when he wanted to pedal. For him, the hand grips are GREAT !!
    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    What's the rush? If the kid is happy, be happy.
    The big kid, me, is not happy I am ANXIOUS to get him off the training wheels to ride with his older daughter and my wife and I. I am very impatient. My son fell a bunch of times when he first got his training wheels and all of a sudden he got scared. That was my fault!!! The training wheels give him a false sense of sequrity and when he goes around corners or hilly areas he could fall over.
    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    When they're ready they'll do it, and the important thing is for them to feel secure and confident, which won't happen if they feel that you're pushing them to do something they're not ready for.
    Truer words could not be spoken. He does not feel real secure and confident. He likes me to run along side him in our neighborhood and if it gets steep he wants me to hold his handle bars and I do. What I have been doing is just taking him riding a lot. He loves the new hand brakes and he loves the free wheel I put on and the bigger rear freewheel 22T to go up our steep hills.
    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    Think about how heavy the bike is, and how heavy the kids is. Would you be able to stop a 100 pound bike from going over? Most kids have no chance, and just have to fall over, and that's scary.
    Bingo!! However, I really like the hotrock training wheels. They are very wide and far from the wheels and make the bike more difficult to turn over
    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    I taught my kids with the time honored "run alongside and holds the seat method", graduating to "hold the shoulders" as they got close to being on their own. Some take longer than others, it just depends on the kid. When they're ready, one day they'll just take off.
    Yep
    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    Hopefully you have somewhere you can ride behind them on their training wheels. It's slow, but I could go a couple of miles with my kids, and we all had a good time. Just have fun.
    It's real hilly where we live. And the problem is my 4 year old son wants to ride where my 8 year old daughter wants to ride. My daughter likes to ride around our neighborhood, which is hilly and some people hang the rear end of their cars onto the sidewalk, so it is somewhat difficult. The are a couple lakes close by that are better, but take more preparation to go to.
    Quote Originally Posted by abeckstead View Post
    My son was the same way. I took the pedals and training wheels off and left his bike in the back yard. Told him if he wanted to ride his bike, this is how he had to now. He wouldn't touch it for months he was so mad. .
    Sounds like my boy!!! I don't think that would work for me, though..
    Quote Originally Posted by abeckstead View Post
    Balance bike style IS the way...
    I agree, however my son did not have the patience. He saw his older sister pedaling away and she did not want to wait either. He would walk his walk his bike a block and then take off his helmet and tell me to carry the bike and he would walk. It just did not work for me.
    Quote Originally Posted by J3SSEB View Post
    Just bide your time and he'll come around.
    Yes

  10. #10
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    Another thing I forgot. I recently got him a new 16" hotrock and even though it fits him, he is a little small on it.

    I figure the more I can get him out, the more fun he has and the more sequire his feels the sooner he will want his training wheels off.

    Thanks
    Bill

  11. #11
    d77
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    My four year old is a vary nervous kid, but he wanted his training wheels off so he can ride with his older sister. I took his training wheels off and went to the park, let him ride on flat grass so it didn't hurt when he fell. I think he was actually enjoying falling down on the grass. After 20 minutes or so he'd build up some confidence so we tried it out on the paved path and everything went pretty well. He still needs to work on his turns, braking, and keeping his speed up but he'll be there soon. No rush.

    My only problem is he's got a younger sister (almost three) who we've got a little while yet to wait on before all five of us can get out together.

  12. #12
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    I just took the training wheels off my older daughter's bike. It's a Hotrock 16 and she just turned 5 a month ago. One of her younger friends in the neighborhood was riding around with his training wheels off, so she started hinting that she wanted to do it too.

    I'd also noticed that she was trying to lean into turns, but the training wheels were actually hindering her. I had them set as low as possible to prevent that tippy feeling, and raised them a bit so she could begin leaning into the turns.

    I took off her training wheels, then we went down to a quiet flat section of the neighborhood. I held the back of the bike seat for the first 3 runs, then let go after that (but ran beside her as she rode), only gripping the seat as she slowed down to turn around. I didn't tell her I wasn't holding her until pass #5.

    After that, she kept riding with me helping her with turns and stopping at the end of each pass.

    After that we practiced slowing down and speeding up again, then stopping, dismounting, then mounting & starting. Lastly, how to lay the bike down (chain side up, left pedal up) so as not to trash the seat. After that, I just let her ride.

    Took her riding 2 more times. She asked me to put the training wheels on, but I told her they were packed away. This is how her bike is now. She was okay with it, and is getting better, doing slow but steady turns and even bailing onto a lawn without crying.

    FWIW, I believe in a proper seat-pedal setup, so her seat is actually set up kinda high (not sloucher BMX style), so she has to think about getting her "dismount leg" ready when she stops. Tougher to stop, but her position on the bike is perfect. She also knows to put the ball of her foot (and not the arch) over the pedal axle. Having a LOCT BodySpace saddle on my other bike helped a lot with this.

    JMJ

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I just took the training wheels off my older daughter's bike. It's a Hotrock 16 and she just turned 5 a month ago.
    how tall is she, my boy is 43inches tall and just turned 4.
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I'd also noticed that she was trying to lean into turns.
    I have the wheels set as high as possible and my son does lean. Do you have those really wide training wheels on your hotrock? Also, was your daughter able to ride and stop and turn unassisted with training wheels?
    Thanks
    Bill

  14. #14
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    Do not ever, ever put training wheels on or let them use a bike with training wheels. Training wheels will ruin your kid and prohibit him from learning the two most important things:
    - putting your feet down to hold yourself up and prevent falling
    - leaning with the bike and steering into where the bike is leaning.

    If your kid can already cruise on the balance bike for 5 seconds or so, then he already knows how to balance and he can certainly prop himself up.

    Get rid of the training wheels get him to ride that. Slam the seat down, remove the pedals if needed. Or just go back to the balance bike.

    Training wheels is the worst invention known to man I think

    fc

  15. #15
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    The Ultralord has spoken.

    I feel the same way.
    I like turtles

  16. #16
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    The attitude that there are right and wrong ways to parent is bad enough in real life, and out of control on the internet. Don't worry that you can ruin your kids if you don't run out and buy another gadget. Maybe a balance bike is right for your situation, maybe it isn't. You definitely know what's right for your family better than some anonymous person on the internet.

  17. #17
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinsd View Post
    how tall is she, my boy is 43inches tall and just turned 4. I have the wheels set as high as possible and my son does lean. Do you have those really wide training wheels on your hotrock? Also, was your daughter able to ride and stop and turn unassisted with training wheels?
    Thanks
    Bill
    My daughter is around 45" tall, maybe a little taller. Her Hotrock 16 was an older model (the green one - I posted a picture here), with the very wide OEM training wheels. She could easily stop & turn with the training wheels on. I had them set low, meaning the the training wheels and the rear wheel pretty much all touched the ground at the same time, so the bike rode like a tricycle.

    I did this so she would feel comfortable riding the bike and not feel like she was fighting it the whole time (bobbing from one training wheel to the other). When she was ready, she was ready, and the training wheels came off. I'd rather she ride her bike (training wheels or not) and progress when she wanted to. A bike is of little use sitting unused in the garage.

    I actually got my daughter a balance bike as her first bike after she outgrew her tricycle. She hated it and refused to ride it... FAIL! I exchanged it for a basic bike with training wheels, and she loved riding... WIN!

    I got her the Hotrock 16 which was 6 lbs lighter and left the training wheels on... she loved riding it... WIN! Took the training wheels off and her bike shed 4lbs and she loves riding it even more... WIN!

    Unfortunately, I missed out on the "Hey, my kid can ride without training wheels at 18 months" award... bummer.

    JMJ

  18. #18
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    Patience. My little girl struggled last year at 4 y.o., but she wanted to ride with her older brother (6 y.o.). So I through the training wheels on and allowed her the ability to ride farther because she could pedal. This summer, both of them ride with me on singletrack, and they are really good. I would try to figure out what he likes about riding his bike, and fuel that fire. Time on the bike, in any configuration, is time well spent. He will have his "aha" moment, just fuel the fun, and it will come.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by J3SSEB View Post
    When my daughter was old enough she insisted we take her training wheels off because she didn't want a "baby's bike" anymore and she wanted to be a big girl. She learned to ride when she was 6. So yeah, all kids are different. Just bide your time and he'll come around.
    Pretty much the same story here. My son started out relatively young with a balance bike. He then moved up to his big boy bike, but with training wheels. The training wheels were a mistake. He abused those crutches until he was 6 years old. The training wheels taught him that he didnt need to worry about balance, could let go of the bars without consequence, could lean over and pick things up and could blatantly not pay attention to what he was doing on the bike.

    Between 5 and 6, I periodically dropped the idea of not using training wheels anymore and he was adamantly opposed to removing them. Kid's typically don't like change with anything. What finally put him over the edge I think is the fact that other kids in the neighborhood were off the training wheels. I took them off and did the old run along side thing for a bit and he got it pretty directly.

    The idea of training wheels sound appealing, but in reality, they're not a great teaching tool. I've got another kid on the way, and this one won't have training wheels -- that's for sure.

    There's nothing wrong with a fear of falling. One thing you don't want to do for sure is to reassure them that they won't fall. Falling is inevitable. don't jeopardize trust by saying it wont happen. Stuff like that could be a big setback.

  20. #20
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    How it happened at our house was the bike had one training wheel because I got sidetracked fixing it. She picked it up and screwed around on it like that and then minutes later told me to take the other wheel off. As another post mentioned, keep the seat down pretty low.

    Let the kid be in control of when the training wheels come off. Just be sure you are teaching him/her the fundamentals. Steer with your hips and your bike goes where you are looking.

    It will happen.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I actually got my daughter a balance bike as her first bike after she outgrew her tricycle. She hated it and refused to ride it... FAIL! I exchanged it for a basic bike with training wheels, and she loved riding... WIN!
    Same with me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    Unfortunately, I missed out on the "Hey, my kid can ride without training wheels at 18 months" award... bummer.JMJ
    Same here. And thanks
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    My son started out relatively young with a balance bike. He then moved up to his big boy bike, but with training wheels. The training wheels were a mistake. He abused those crutches until he was 6 years old.
    I agree about not liking the training wheels. My son just refused to ride the balance bike much and my wife was not on board either. I also got impatient and was the one that got the hotrock with training wheels. In hind sight it would have been better to have never let him ride a bike with training wheels.
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    I've got another kid on the way, and this one won't have training wheels -- that's for sure.
    What are you going to do if you child on the balance bike wants to pedal like your older child and will not push their balance bike and insists on walking and you carrying their bike? I'm not trying to be argumentative, just curious, because this happened to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    There's nothing wrong with a fear of falling. One thing you don't want to do for sure is to reassure them that they won't fall. Falling is inevitable. don't jeopardize trust by saying it wont happen. Stuff like that could be a big setback.
    You know in my opinion the "false sense of security" that training wheels brings probably holds them back more than anything, at least with my kids. They think they cannot fall and then they hit a tight turn on a steep down hill and wipe out. Both my kids have done that it was/is is freightening to them.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghglenn View Post
    I would try to figure out what he likes about riding his bike, and fuel that fire. Time on the bike, in any configuration, is time well spent.
    That is the path I am taking. I got hand brakes that he likes and make it easy for him to stop and be in control. I got a freewheel hub rear wheel, that he likes and he does not accidently brake when he wants to go forward. He also likes to spin the pedal around to get it in the right position to pedal forward. I cannot find any really flat areas to take him to, except the beach He is leaning when he rides the bike. He does like his bike and I figure the more positive time he has on it, the better. I know it will click with him and I believe if I push him it will backfire. Thanks
    Bill

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by vmps View Post
    What's the rush? If the kid is happy, be happy. When they're ready they'll do it, and the important thing is for them to feel secure and confident, which won't happen if they feel that you're pushing them to do something they're not ready for.

    Hopefully you have somewhere you can ride behind them on their training wheels. It's slow, but I could go a couple of miles with my kids, and we all had a good time. Just have fun.
    Thanks and I agree with your advice for my son. He likes to ride around the neighborhood with his bigger sister. His sister likes to take off and not wait. It's real hilly and he wants me to hold the handlbars on steep hills until he says to let go. Also, when we cross the streets there is a big cross slope and he wants me to hold his handlebar. I did the same thing with his sister. His sister took off her pedals when she was 7.5. She did not like to ride her bike with training wheels though. My son does. I figure he will get it when he is 5 or 6 or 7. I need to forget about my desires to ride with the family on single tracks and make sure he is happy and confident on his bike with training wheels. Thanks all
    Bill

  24. #24
    Birdman aka JMJ
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    FYI - these were not my posts...

    My son started out relatively young with a balance bike. He then moved up to his big boy bike, but with training wheels. The training wheels were a mistake. He abused those crutches until he was 6 years old.

    I've got another kid on the way, and this one won't have training wheels -- that's for sure.

    There's nothing wrong with a fear of falling. One thing you don't want to do for sure is to reassure them that they won't fall. Falling is inevitable. don't jeopardize trust by saying it wont happen. Stuff like that could be a big setback.


    JMJ aka Birdman

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdman View Post
    FYI - these were not my posts...

    My son started out relatively young with a balance bike. He then moved up to his big boy bike, but with training wheels. The training wheels were a mistake. He abused those crutches until he was 6 years old.

    I've got another kid on the way, and this one won't have training wheels -- that's for sure.

    There's nothing wrong with a fear of falling. One thing you don't want to do for sure is to reassure them that they won't fall. Falling is inevitable. don't jeopardize trust by saying it wont happen. Stuff like that could be a big setback.


    JMJ aka Birdman
    Doh, sorry about that. Bill

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