Riding with pedals

Once your child is feeling comfortable with the preceding skills, it is time to look at developing a good pedalling technique. If you have removed your child’s pedals, now is the time to put them back on, making sure that all the nuts and bolts are tightened. At this stage in learning to ride a bicycle, it is not necessary to have both feet touching the ground, so raise the seat up so that when your child is seated on their bike only one foot (on tippy toes) touches the ground.

When your child starts pedalling, encourage them to place the ball of the foot (not the middle of the foot or heel) over the pedal, as it requires less effort to push.

It is important to make sure that when viewed from the front, your child’s hip, knee and ankle are all aligned. This will result in far more efficient and powerful pedalling and less strain placed on these parts of the body.

As obvious as it may sound, make sure that your child is pedalling in a circle. By maintaining a smooth circular motion, they will apply force equally throughout the entire pedal stroke. If you and your child decide to go for a longer ride, it will encourage a steady rhythm in pedalling, helping to maintain a good pace.

Finally, encourage them to keep their upper body quiet and relaxed. The bulk of the work is done by the legs, and much of the focus is on coordinating this part of your body. There is no need for their head or arms to be making lots of sudden movements, which will take away from the focus on their legs.