riding no handed

As parents, we tend to worry so much about our children's health and safety, it can be a huge struggle to let them be kids and learn to take the inevitable falls that come with the learning process. One big test of our ability to let go is when they start to want to ride no handed, which can quickly follow on to progressively more impressive tricks.

The excerpt below is from Carlton Reid's article "Cycling is safe for kids, no need to wrap them in cotton wool", and helps explain how your child can learn this essential skill with minimum fuss.

" ‘Look, mum, no hands’. Get it wrong and it can be ‘Look, mum, no front teeth.’ But riding a bike no handed is more of a key skill than you might think. How else to do the famous Tour de France victory salute? Or, on a more mundane level, racers need to take their hands off the handlebars to unwrap their energy food.

Riding no handed teaches children that bikes can be super stable, even at relatively low speeds. It’s also good for their confidence (hmm, until they crash) and it doesn’t have to be a recipe for disaster. Take it upon yourself to teach this advanced skill, even if this means learning yourself first.

Choose a smooth, wide stretch of tarmac in a park, away from motorised traffic and pedestrians. Grass makes for a softer landing but it’s usually too bumpy to learn on. Start by getting your child to ‘high-five’ you with their non-writing hand, while they steer with their other hand. Inch by wobbly inch, encourage your child to hover both hands an inch from the handlebars and ride towards you, eyes drilled into your eyes, not focusing on handlebars or the ground. Speed helps.

Kids who successfully ride for some metres with little hands in the air, are often amazed they can do such a seemingly impossible thing. Their faces light up, they’ve achieved something difficult, perhaps even a little bit naughty. Their all-round cycling skills and confidence, rise hugely after such a session. Kids as young as seven can be taught to ride no handed and, by twelve, it ought to be second nature.

Riding no-handed on public roads is a no-no."

There is a great step by step guide on WikiHow, together with a video. Maybe both your and your child can learn to ride with out your hands, together.  They reckon you'll soon be taking off your jacket or eating water melon whilst riding along!!!!

 

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