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Avoiding the Trauma of Training Wheels

March 9, 2011

Ah, riding a bike. Wonderful when leisurely riding around a park or down a mountain trail and thoroughly terrifying when navigating the bike paths through the streets of Boston.

Learning this skill is one of our favorite childhood memories and the pride of every parent.

However, if you’re using training wheels, you may not be going about teaching this essential skill in the best way.

Lets think about it. What is the hardest part about bike riding? Holding the handlebars? Anyone who has ever had a 6-month-old grasp her finger knows that gripping is a pretty innate behavior. Pedaling? Most kids have been terrorizing their house’s wood flooring with some sort of pedal-operated toy since birth. How about balancing? Bicycle wipeouts don’t occur because you forget how to use the handlebars or pedal, you simply loose your balance (or get hit by a Boston driver who forgot to check his blind spot).

So I ask this: why do we think that a child is going to develop the ability to balance on a bicycle through osmosis?

Everyone has seen that poor child, who is so excited (or terrified) when her parents whip off the training wheels and she’s finally ready for a big kid bike. She mounts the seat with her father holding on firmly….. Dad starts to move forward….. Little Sally pedals with either exhilaration or fear in her eyes…… Dad lets go…. Little Sally slightly shifts her weight… CRASH.

Here at Knuckle Bones we teach a Wheels course for kids who don’t want to end up like Little Sally. Our key to success: you won’t see a training wheel within a hundred feet of our micro-clinic. We teach the fundamental skill of bicycle riding, balance, using scooters and specialized balance bicycles without pedals.  So if you want your child to be a 3-year old Lance Armstrong, put the training wheels in the trash, or sign up for our Wheel’s Micro-Clinic through Wellesley’s Recreation Department.

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