What’s the best age to teach a child to ride a bike?

"What age should I teach my child to ride a bike?" is something we get asked a lot here at Cycle Sprog.

Unfortunately, I can't give you a specific date when your child will be ready to learn to pedal - every child is different. However, there are some guidelines that will be helpful.

What's the earliest age a child can learn to ride a bike?

You may well have seen a child on Instagram or TikTok racing around on their pedal bike and doing tricks by the age of 2.

If you're really unlucky the child in question could be a relative, friend or neighbour!

This might make you think that your child should be able to pedal at a similarly young age.

Perhaps you are feeling stressed that they're not riding a pedal bike, and wondering what you have done wrong?

Please, please just relax!

Riding a pedal bike competently at a very young age (for example 2 or 3 years old) is not the norm, so please don't compare your child to other children.

Mum teaching boy to ride a bike in a park

In general, most children are at least 4 years old when they start to gain all the skills needed to pedal successfully. There are three reasons for this:

~ Physicality      By the age of four, most children will have the strength needed to learn to ride

~ Maturity        Usually the children will be better able to follow guidance and instructions

~ Motivation     Again, they will have seen others/their friends doing it, and actually want to learn

 

BUT that is just a guideline.  Some children will be ready much earlier, and some much later.

It's no reflection on them, their future cycling ability, or your success as a parent if your child isn't ready to pedal just yet.

It's no reflection on them, on their future cycling ability, or your success as a parent, if your child isn't ready to pedal just yet.

Mum teaching daughter how to ride a pedal bike - when is the best age to teach my child to ride a bike?

Has your child learnt to balance bike yet?

Balancing whilst moving along is a very important skill your child needs to learn in order to ride a pedal bike without assistance.

For the majority of children we recommend starting with a balance bike first before progressing to a pedal bike

If your child has been using a pedal bike with stabilisers / training wheels and they're struggling to transition to riding without them we recommend either removing the stabilisers and pedals, or trying a balance bike, so they can concentrate on mastering this skill. 

Here's some articles with more details:

Have I left it too late to teach my child to learn to ride a bike?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!

It's NEVER, EVER too late to learn to ride a bike.

Whether your child is 8 years, 10 years, 12 years or older NOW is the perfect time to teach them this wonderful life skill.  In fact, you could teach granny to cycle at the same time!

An older child may well have the physical and mental maturity to learn to ride a bike much more quickly than a younger child.

Be aware that sometimes issues of self confidence and peer pressure can cause anxiety or nervousness (both in the learner and the teacher!)

Take your time, remove any pressure and let them set the pace.

Dad teaching old child how to ride a bike

My child has additional needs - when can I teach them to ride a bike?

Every child is different, so there's no hard and fast rule for when, or if, a child with additional needs will learn to pedal.

Some children are able to use a balance bike, but struggle with the transition to pedals.

Some children may be able to use pedals but not balance, meaning stabilisers or a trike are a great idea.

Do please read our article Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs for more advice.

When did your Cycle Sprog learn to ride?

Have you taught your child to learn to ride yet?  Or do you still have this experience to come? 

What are your thoughts on teaching your child to ride a bike?

Do drop us a comment in the box below - we love to hear from you! 

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