Bye bye training wheels?

Bicycles for Toddlers to Teens

Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Xplora » Fri Dec 13, 2013 7:47 pm

Son one needs to learn to ride sans training wheels. Any advice? He's terrified of speed. And totally flat is hard to come by.
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by BNA » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:00 pm

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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby TimW » Fri Dec 13, 2013 8:00 pm

get him a power meter first so he can be like Dad.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby MattyK » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:16 pm

Drop seat to a height he can put both feet flat on the floor.
Remove pedals (and maybe cranks)
Play balance bike for a while.

Or so I've read, as I've not gone through this phase yet.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby rheicel » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:29 pm

My son uses training wheels when he was 3. Then he got bullied by his older mates for having a training wheels. He asked me to remove them and 3 days after, he is rolling like a boss.

My daughter did not use training wheels at all. I just saw her riding her big brothers old bike when she was 3.

Let your son play with other kids who don't use training wheels and he will figure it out quicker than you expect.

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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby bychosis » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:36 pm

Son one had training wheels, took him a fair while to get confidence without. Son two had a balance bike as was off without training wheels very quickly. Son three is getting the balance bike, no training wheels. And all who ask are getting the same recommendation, balance bike for the win. Get rid of the training wheels ASAP, deal with the issues without training wheels for a while and real the benefits.

For sheldon brown, help your child balance by holding the shoulders/under arms, not the bike. Helps them learns how to balance sooner.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Xplora » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:59 pm

Had not thought abut taking the pedals off and dropping the seat. We have a shallow decline nearby which he could use to roll down easy enough. Will give it a go tomorrow morning :)
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby im_no_pro » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:59 pm

+lots for balance bikes. Training wheels are the devil imho.

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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby bychosis » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:37 am

Xplora wrote:Had not thought abut taking the pedals off and dropping the seat. We have a shallow decline nearby which he could use to roll down easy enough. Will give it a go tomorrow morning :)


Good plan, we had a spot out the back similar and used that for training no training wheels for a couple of kids. Son two with balance bike didn't need it.

A bike that is a bit too small is also a big help, if they can't react the ground easily makes it heaps harder.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby jaffaman » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:18 pm

I took my daughter to a local grassed park when I removed her trainers. It had a gentle slope and I would push her off at the top and get her going. Provided she kept pedalling just a bit she was fine. The slope helped momentum so she could balance. Just crashed at the bottom of the slope each time, but on the grass that was fine. About 10 slope runs the first day. Few meters first time. Then longer each time. Same again another two days over the next week or so. By then she was turning at the bottom of the slope and coming to graceful stops. Video on the iPhone to show mum helped with motivation.

Next were some flat paths and by then she was fine provided we steadied her to start off.

Really surprised how easy it was once the trainers were gone and she had to keep herself up. No I have trouble keeping up with her!


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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Mububban » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:03 pm

jaffaman wrote:I took my daughter to a local grassed park when I removed her trainers. It had a gentle slope and I would push her off at the top and get her going. Provided she kept pedalling just a bit she was fine.


Same with my daughter, took her to the local park, down the grassy slope so all she had to concentrate on was balance not pedalling to start with. Then I told her to keep pedalling as far as she could go before the grass friction slowed her, and she'd just put her feet down. 10-15 minutes of that and she was ready to go on the flat concrete, and she took to it like a champ.

It also helped that we did this with a bike that was slightly too small for her, so her legs could easily get on the ground for any "oh sh**" moments. Her newer bike that's the right frame size for her is waiting for her to get brave enough to try out sans wheels :)
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby WarbyD » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:39 pm

Timely thread, thanks for the tips guys :)

My eldest (nearly 6) is majorly lacking confidence when it comes to riding and has been very apprehensive about losing the training wheels (she didn't get the bike until she was 4).. She wants a new bike for her birthday at the end of May though, so I'm keen to use that as the motivator to get rid of the training wheels (and she has agreed with the caveat that new bike will not have any training wheels).

Middle child (3) also rides with training wheels, but is much more confident than his big sister so I will probably just take both of them down to the park, pull the training wheels off and get them started. Might even help if there is a bit of competition between them (It usually does with these two..)

Youngest (1) will be getting a balance bike!
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Mububban » Tue Apr 08, 2014 12:33 pm

WarbyD wrote:Youngest (1) will be getting a balance bike!


Save the 3 year old's bike, drop the seat right down and remove the pedals and crank. Instant free balance bike :)
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby KGB » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:21 am

Balance bikes are generally a lot lower than a normal 12" bike but if the kid is tall enough then its a good option.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby cray- » Wed Apr 23, 2014 11:54 am

Just curious what age you all started your kids on the balance bikes?

My daughter was 2 last week and we got her a FirstBike. She's very tall (92cm, 97th percentile) so I thought I'd get away with not ordering the lowering kit, but she can only just put her toes down. So all we've done is push her around a bit so that she gets the feeling of sitting on the bike and holding the handlebars. Lowering kit has now been ordered.

I think she's slightly too young for it, last thing I want to do is force it and scare her away, but while she's keen we'll keep playing.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Mububban » Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:39 pm

As often happens, the second kid gets rushed along to catch up with the bigger kid :D My 3.5 year old son had his first go without training wheels on the small bike his sister's grown out of, on the same gentle grassy slope I used for his sister, and he too took to it like a champ. No problems balancing and then pedalling with the hill and a push to get him started. But he's not as adventurous as his big sister, so while he did it just fine and rode on the road a bit without training wheels very well, this morning he decided to use his training wheel bike for our ride around the neighbourhood. My daughter is in a hurry to grow up, but he's happy to cruise along :)
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby MattyK » Mon Apr 28, 2014 10:03 pm

@cray: My girl and boy both got on the balance bike around 2.5 years. Don't rush it, and don't stress if it takes her til age 3 or more, kids will learn at their own pace, just make sure she enjoys it.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Mububban » Thu May 01, 2014 12:44 pm

People advocate balance bikes first so kids can learn balancing, whereas pedalling is an easy skill to learn. I have no experience with this, but will say that bikes with training wheels opened up the neighbourhood for our kids. At least 2-3 days a week when I get home from work the kids will pester me to go for a ride. My 5.5 year old has been off training wheels for a while now, my 3.5 year old still rides on his training wheel bike but at least he's out there with us, them riding and me jogging so I can give them a push up the hills when needed. Little kids can still go slowly on training wheels but it's hard to slowly push a normal bike with a little one doing the piloting.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Thu May 01, 2014 1:22 pm

For my kids I fitted a simple hook-clip thingy that I bent out of 6mm rod, wired it to a broom handle and hooked it onto the seat post. I then followed around behind. It gave adequate support to keep them upright and it meant that I could have them at reasonable speeds without Dad being right on their shoulder and it saved my back a lot of grief. It worked a treat and the kids learnt without ever scraping a knee.

I don't know if there ever was or is anything retailing but it seems such an obvious way.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby KGB » Thu May 01, 2014 8:18 pm

My daughter got her balance bike at about 2.5 and my son before he was 2 (no way he could ride it but wanted to be like big sis). Both my kids are short-ish so its important to select the right balance bike as they all vary in shape and size.
I took the opinion that I was happy to help/support them if they were a little too short at the start, they'd be big enough one day and the bike would be ready to go when they were.
At 3.5 my daughter does an easy (somewhat wobbly) glide and my son 2.5) is almost gliding, kinda like a run. In any case, they love it.

We have a giant pre; great bike, I'd get one again. Normal bike components except the stem/bars, has a little tab that prevents bar spins. We also have an Avanti Lil Ripper; another good choice, I got this one second hand. All normal bike components, inc bars, stem (threadless). Seat is a little higher that the Pre (mostly due to seat design, not frame) and the bars spin 360.

I'd pick the Giant over the Avanti but both are very good IMO.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby im_no_pro » Fri May 02, 2014 10:03 am

cray- wrote:Just curious what age you all started your kids on the balance bikes?

My daughter was 2 last week and we got her a FirstBike. She's very tall (92cm, 97th percentile) so I thought I'd get away with not ordering the lowering kit, but she can only just put her toes down. So all we've done is push her around a bit so that she gets the feeling of sitting on the bike and holding the handlebars. Lowering kit has now been ordered.

I think she's slightly too young for it, last thing I want to do is force it and scare her away, but while she's keen we'll keep playing.


My daughter got one for her 2nd birthday. She's a shorty, so she couldnt quite manage sitting on the seat, but could walk it straddling the frame. It has seen little use in the 6 months she has had it, but im fine with that. She has probably just hit the height to be able to ride it with the seat fully down. I let her dictate how often she wants to use it. At the moment she prefers the little 4 wheeler plastic thing we got from target for $12, which is fine by me as she can use that inside. Quite happy for her to progress at her own pace. The only thing I was firm on is that she will never have training wheels (including bikes at grandparents houses).
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby Mububban » Fri May 02, 2014 12:53 pm

im_no_pro wrote:The only thing I was firm on is that she will never have training wheels (including bikes at grandparents houses).


Why? Not saying one way is better than the other, but what's the reason behind never having training wheels?

I'm sure most cyclists started out on training wheels, and I don't feel it impinged on my riding/handling/balancing abilities as a <10 rider, teenager or adult rider.
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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby im_no_pro » Fri May 02, 2014 2:00 pm

Mububban wrote:
im_no_pro wrote:The only thing I was firm on is that she will never have training wheels (including bikes at grandparents houses).


Why? Not saying one way is better than the other, but what's the reason behind never having training wheels?

I'm sure most cyclists started out on training wheels, and I don't feel it impinged on my riding/handling/balancing abilities as a <10 rider, teenager or adult rider.


IME kids learn to ride more quickly and confidently without them. On a plane at the moment but will hunt down some links later.

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Re: Bye bye training wheels?

Postby im_no_pro » Fri May 02, 2014 11:48 pm

Mububban wrote:
im_no_pro wrote:The only thing I was firm on is that she will never have training wheels (including bikes at grandparents houses).


Why? Not saying one way is better than the other, but what's the reason behind never having training wheels?

I'm sure most cyclists started out on training wheels, and I don't feel it impinged on my riding/handling/balancing abilities as a <10 rider, teenager or adult rider.


As much as I dont like linking to a certain place I don't frequent anymore, have a read of this. It's (mostly) all in there somewhere.

I have no issue if others choose to use training wheels, but IMHO they are ineffective. I'm going to stop short of calling them a bad idea in my book, but I was close.
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