The Case For And Against Bike Training Wheels

Those days of trying to learn to ride and those painful skinned knees etched permanent memories that many people share. Perhaps your first outings included a rig with bike training wheels before you did it the grown-up way and balanced yourself.

The chances are you began with a tricycle to learn how to pedal.

That three tires acted like bike stabilizer wheels to keep you from tipping. Then, you could concentrate on making it go. It’s an essential first step which teaches coordination and builds lower body strength.

How They Help Kids When Learning to Ride a Bike

Bicycle training wheels act similarly.

They give your child a way to learn to ride with the fear factor taken out of the picture. After all, it is a new type of activity for them. Most children make their first attempts anywhere between 5 and 10 years old.

Training wheels attachment

There are two things that they need to master:

  • ​Pedaling
  • ​Balancing

​​That’s where training wheels come into play. They help them learn this skill so that they can move on the tougher one of staying upright.

You install them by putting them on the rear wheel so that they’re flush and act like that stabilizing design of the tricycle. However, having them on the bike isn’t a guarantee that your child won’t fall. That’s why they should practice in traffic-free areas like driveways.

Riding Without the Training Wheels

Your child won’t learn to balance as long as they remain on the bike. You can modify their bicycle so that it’ll help them with this skill. Just lower the seat and remove the pedals to make it a balance bike.

They use not unlike a scooter. They’ll use foot power to move them along and take their feet off the ground as they coast. There’s no getting around the fact that they will fall. It’s part of the process of learning though we understand that it’s painful for you to watch it happen.

The Case Against Training Wheels

Some experts suggest that it’s a better approach to skip the training wheels all together and start with this method instead. The rationale is that it’s the more difficult of the two things that your child must learn.

bike riding kids

Learning with training wheels first reinforces habits that can interfere with biking later. For example, it’s instinctive to lean into a turn. You can’t do that with three wheels in the back.

Also, it can interfere with them learning how to brake. They won’t pick up this skill with them on but rather rely on their feet instead, a la’ Fred Flintstone.

It could be a scary thing for them the first time they try to stop without them on the bike, not unlike getting used to new brakes on a car.

Conclusion

Riding with bike training wheels on your first two-wheeler is a fond memory that many of us have of our childhood. While it can help build your child’s confidence, it’s also essential that they learn to balance so that they can ride safely.

About the Author Max Shumpert

Over the last few years, I’ve taken my love of the outdoors, hiking, skiing, trekking and exploring to the next level by starting this site. I started a bike shop in Denver, CO, and have seen amazing growth over the last few years. Getting paid to do what I love has been a dream come true for me. That’s also what led me to start BikesReviewed.com. In my shop, I spend a large amount of time helping people find the perfect bike for them and the style of biking they’re going to be doing. It only made sense that I expanded my reach and got online, making it possible for me to help people all over the world. If biking and staying fit is your priority, too, you’ve come to the right place.

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