Riding in a straight line

Riding in a straight line is a really important skill to have, particularly from a safety perspective. Your child needs to be able to ride safely on a road or footpath without veering into traffic. If they go riding with a friend or parent, they should do so without causing their riding partner to serve to avoid them.

There are a couple of things your child can do which will help them to ride in a straight line. First, they should work on relaxing their upper body, which includes the neck, shoulders, arms and hands. A cyclist will often have trouble riding straight if these parts of the body are tense. Ask them to shrug their shoulders and bend their elbows before and then again when they are riding to release some of this tension. You will know if they are too tense during your ride if they complain of upper body fatigue, or feeling sore from their neck to their hands.

Another method used by most cyclists is to stare ahead to where you wish to travel. The further ahead you look, the steadier you will be. You can test this by seeing how well you ride when you look ahead of you, as opposed to looking down at your front wheel – you will be surprised at the difference.

Just remember that a bicycle is designed to travel in a straight line. When doing your pre-ride check, always make sure that the handle bars are straight, and haven’t been twisted, which can happen if a bike is in some sort of accident and gets bent.

You will find, with practice, that your child will eventually develop some peripheral vision whereby they can be staring ahead, but at the same time be aware of any cracks or potholes in the road immediately in front of them.