Balancing the Bike
Some riders will naturally want to jump on the bike and start riding, however, we encourage practicing walking, mounting, and sitting on the bike prior to riding it to help teach your rider how the bike moves.
Step 1: Practice walking the bike in a straight line, mounting the bike, and tipping to each side with counter steering while stationary.
Step 2: Practice walking through an obstacle course mounting on different surfaces and “falling” with style.
Step 3: Set up an obstacle course to include a “crosswalk” and a “crash zone,” challenge your rider to show you their wildest slow motion crash.
Your rider can safely walk their bike across a crosswalk and around obstacles or people.
Walk the Bike: Help your rider learn how to safely walk the bike by having them stand next to the bike, put one hand on the handlebars to steer and one hand on the seat to balance, then walk forward while balancing the bike.
Mount the Bike: Show your rider how to mount their bike by standing to the side of the bike with one hand on the bars (squeeze the brake), one hand on the seat, take a small step backward and lean the bike toward you, then swing your leg over the bike so you are sitting on the seat.
Balancing the Bike & “Falling with Style”: A key skill in learning to ride is understanding how the handlebars (and front wheel) affect balance. To do this, we teach counter–steering and “falling” off the bike to encourage quick reactions. Steering into the “fall” or tip will help build muscle memory for when they are pedaling. Have your rider:
Sit on the bike seat with hands on the bars and feet flat on the ground then lift their left foot and lean/tip slightly to the left. Turn the handlebars to the left into the tip as they put their foot back down to catch themselves before they fall. Practice on both sides.
Try to lift both feet and balance the bike as its stationary. As the bike tips to one side, they should turn the bars toward the direction of their fall before they put their foot down. See how long they can balance for.
Practice “falling with style,” or controlled falling. Practice the exercise above, but as the bike tips lean slightly toward “fall,” look to the direction of the fall, extend their foot out as far as they can and plant it to the ground, then safely lower the bike sideways to the ground as they swing their other foot over the bike and land on two feet.