7 Ways to Improve Your Kid's Bike Riding
You will love these ways to improve your kids’ bike riding skills! You don’t even need special equipment for them to learn to be a better rider. You just need to encourage them to perform these exercises on their bikes.
Ways to Improve Your Kids’ Bike Riding:
There are three ways to turn your bike on a corner:
- Lean the bike but not your body.
- Lean both your bike and your body.
- Turn the handlebars in the direction of the turn.
Most of the turning moves can be done by leaning the bike and/or body. But turning by using the handlebars is also a useful skill for kids in certain situations. These include turning on a gravelly road or wet path.
With turning moves, the bike’s tires have reduced risks of sliding out from underneath. Your kids can perform these turning exercises:
- Parking space crit: Make a full circle inside a small or large parking space. Teach kids to look to their target place instead of their current space, an important skill in all turns.
- K turns: Ride parallel to a straight, flat wall at a slow speed. Keep the wall on your left and turn directly into it with your front wheel hitting it at a 90-degree angle. Turn the wheel to the right, continue riding parallel to the wall, and repeat the process.
You should be patient since turning skills are harder to learn for beginners.
Follow the Leader
Your kids should also realize that great cycling is also about dexterity, not just speed. In the follow the leader drill, you can be the leader while your kids are the followers. You can lead them around the parking lot while trying to stay as close together as possible.
You may also add excitement by adding exercises like:
- Taking sharp turns
- Making track stands.
- Hopping curbs.
- Cutting between obstacles.
You should consider the current skills level of every kid in your group. You should avoid making advanced moves (e.g., hopping a curb) when there are beginners. You can also turn it into a friendly competition.
Center of Gravity Exercises
Your kids will be better riders when they have a strong sense of balance on their bikes. These center of gravity exercises will reinforce their balance.
- Ankle grabbing: Let your kid hold onto his leg while pedalling. The trick here is in pushing the bike to its side while keeping the body’s center of gravity in the middle. This will lower the body to the ground while the rider continues to ride in a straight line.
- Object Retrieval: Place water bottles on the ground. Let each kid ride slowly up to the bottles while pushing the bike away from the side of the lean. Let him pick up a bottle off the ground.
Each kid can start by holding the right calf with the right hand. The left hand should be in the drops. As his ability to maintain his center of gravity increases, he can hold his ankle. The trick here is leaning the bike farther down the size to reach lower.
Your kids should progress to more advanced exercises. Examples include knocking over the bottles with alternating hands and pick up-and-place back drills.
Look Back Drills
Your kids should also master the ability to look back. This means looking over your shoulder without veering off the line. You will find that this may be a basic skill but it’s important for safety reasons.
- Let your kid pick a partner about his same size.
- Start by letting him place his right hand on his partner’s shoulder. He should be looking over his right shoulder at the start of the ride.
- Let them ride the length of a parking lot. He can lean on his partner for balance while still riding in a straight line.
When your kid has mastered it, he can look over his outside shoulder. He should be able to turn around and look behind his back while keeping a straight line.
Your kids will likely be riding in groups where riders are in elbow-to-elbow formations. This drill will improve his ability to ride in a group without falling over.
- Tell your kid and his partner to always protect their handlebars when in a tight group. Their hands should be in the drops, which will prevent the handlebars from hooking.
- Let both of them stick out their elbows while in a side-by-side position.
- Let them ride the length of the bike lot.
Their elbows will knock against each other during the ride. You have to instruct them to let their elbows act as bumpers against the impact.
Your kids will also enjoy the benefits of better balance on their bikes with this exercise.
- Place a 10-foot 2x6 piece of lumber on the grass.
- Let each kid ride his bike toward the lumber.
- Instruct them beforehand to pull up on their handlebars. They should also give their pedals a quick stab. They should be leaning back a bit while lofting their front tires onto the board.
When they have mastered the loft, you can also:
- Have them ride the length of the board on a slow speed. Encourage them to stay on top of the board for as long as possible.
- Add another board for longer riding.
- Swap a narrower piece of wood.
Your kids will be able to negotiate narrow paths better than ever.
Your kid may or may be able to perform this advanced move. But you should teach them at some point bunny hopping for their own safety. This is because bunny hopping can keep the wheels true and reduce the risks of flat tires.
- Let your kids practice front wheel hopping. Let them pull up on the bars, which will hop the front wheels. They can use the white lines in a parking lot as indicators.
- Allow them to master rear wheel hopping, too. This is done by using the legs in pulling up on the pedals. The rear wheel should then be lifted off the ground.
Of course, practice is always the key to improving your kids’ biking skills. You can let them practice for an hour after school and two or more hours during the weekends. You have to set the schedule since biking should be balanced with other daily life activities.
Your decision to improve your kids’ bike riding skills is a smart move as a parent. You’re allowing them to explore and expand on their cycling skills. You’re also contributing to their safety on and off the beaten bike paths.