Family Cycling

How to best teach how to ride a bike

How to best teach how to ride a bike (with Spanish subtitles)

Working with new learners who are scared. Avoid surprises and keep their trust. Begin every lesson by practicing preparing-to-stop by bracing both arms -- *not* with the rider seated on the bike but while they are walking it on their right side, with both arms outstretched and activated but not rigid. 

Hold lessons on gently inclined schoolyards or parking lots, with slopes sufficient to reduce the effort needed to propel the bike into a walk-then-glide, but not steep enough that the bike continues to pick up speed.

Walk on the left side, matching the rider's speed, and hold the seat with your right hand.  Make an agreement that you will release your hand so they pedal on their own *only* when they tell you "OK", and not before.  Upon hearing "OK", make your own determination before actually releasing, and if they're ready (i.e. mostly balanced) you will say, "Letting go in 3... 2... 1... (release)". 

Bilingual video for children (ages 5-9)

Bilingual video for teens (ages 10-18)

Check out the best all-encompassing resource on biking with your children, produced by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. You can find information on everything from biking while pregnant to biking with pre-teens!

View and Download SFBike's Guide to Family Biking Guide




Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
Phone: 805.845.8955
Mail: PO Box 92047, Santa Barbara, CA 93190
Location: 506 E. Haley Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93103