Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Scootering Technique

This shouldn't even be my post. I should have my husband write this as a guest author. But we all know that won't happen. If you want to read his works be prepared with a technical dictionary and go to Paralipsis, his blog. So you are stuck with my account of the day my kids learned to ride their bikes sans training wheels.

I think I need to start off the story when Lainy Ann was still a wee baby. Caskey started researching how to teach kids to ride bikes. He spent hours reading different blogs and finally settled on the right strategy for teaching her. She was 1. Ever since then when I say its time to help Lainy Ann ride with 2 wheels, he replied with, "its easy, remove the pedals". Since tools fall under his category it hasn't happened. But this summer I had a few goals for the kids; one of which was riding bikes without training wheels.

Since its a holiday weekend and we have NO plans (and I like it that way) and I don't want to go anywhere and fight the crowds I figured it was the perfect weekend to commit the time to this. I figured it would take most of the 3-day weekend. The hardest part of the process was ferrying the bikes one at a time up to our house in the trunk of my car. Then Caskey set to removing the pedals and training wheels and fitting the kids for the right bike (we had 3 to choose from).

There is a school of thought that thinks the skills should be broken down into smaller pieces. My kids have been able to effectively pedal for a long time, but the balance was the main issue. However, by giving them a bike without pedals (seat lowered to the bottom setting so their legs will comfortably rest on the ground, an undersized bike works well for this) they are able to scooter around and work on balance without worrying and the starting and stopping or the pedaling. We had a nice collection of new and old bikes to choose from so the kids were adequately fitted for their bikes.

This is such a popular theory that companies now sell bikes for the explicit purpose, but save your money, simply removing the pedals is a much less expensive solution. However, if you like to shop (like I do) check out the Step2 and Kettler versions of this training bike. Or if you are really fancy there is a European version too from One Step Ahead (I love their catalog!)

All of the above bikes make promises of children learning faster. Its really true. We spent a total of 2 hours teaching the kids to ride their bikes. That includes all the tinkering required to move seats and removed pedals. There were only 2 falls and no band-aids. It was a very painless experience that I wish we had done 12 months ago.

This endeavor has been so successful I am seriously considering teaching William to ride a 2-wheeled bike next week.

Enjoying the view from the shade.

No Pedals and ready to learn to balance and steer.

There is a small hill in front of our house.  
The children had to "scooter" 30 times before they got their pedals back.

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