No Training Wheels Free Balance Bike Easiest Way to Ride a Bike





Introduction: No Training Wheels Free Balance Bike Easiest Way to Ride a Bike

About: airplane nut since forever, rower since high school, airplane mechanic since '94, Pastor, father of four

I taught my 4 year old son to ride without training wheels in about 3 weeks, while I was at work and not even home! This was after it took my daughter until she was seven to learn the same thing. I didn't want him to take as long so I went looking for tips, and read how someone else did it. It does work!

Step 1: Recomended (strongly!)

To do this you need a child who can pedal, and who rides a bike with at least 12.5" tires and a coaster brake or hand brake.
Your kid should be pedaling and braking well,
They should wear a helmet
they need to be under voice control (stop when you say "stop")
they need a flag on thier bike also, as they only come up to the top of the hood on most cars while riding
putting a bell or horn on the handle bars gives them (and you) a quick way to give turning directions as at this age," right "and "left" may not make imediate sense. "toward the horn side" or away from the horn" will make much more sense
they need to wear sneakers or sandals that firmly strap on, flip flops come off easily and let toes get nailed by stuff on the ground. barefoot allows toes and even the foot to get crunched or cut easily.

Step 2: Look Ma! No Feet!

Before you do this step you will want your child under voice control ,as once they learn how to ride without training wheels they can get out of reach really fast!
You want to lower the bike seat until the child can place both feet flat on the ground while straddling the seat, until they can do this they are to small.
Now take the training wheels and pedals off the bike, REMEMBER the pedals are threaded so that they tend to tighten under normal pedaling motion, this means one is threaded backwards! (left hand thread) turn the pedals forward a few times until you figure out the correct loosening direction for each one.
I show my adjustable wrench removing the pedals, if you can, use a regular wrench as it will tend to strip the nut less and have better access to the nut due to having a smaller head.
If the pedal won't unscrew:
-make sure you're turning it the correct way
-soak the exposed end of the thread with coke, WD-40, liquid wrench, or any other penetrant oil,
-try a torch as a last resort, but don't melt the pedal or pedal bearings, or set the bike on fire.

Step 3: I'm Ready Now!

Let your kid "run " the bike around the yard until you think they are ready. I was at the kittery trading post (like LLBean, or cabella's, but better and better value (I think)) in the bike department they sell bikes with no pedals or chain, to do the same thing, and best of all you can pay $70 dollars for a "runner" that your child will out grow in a few weeks.
If you have a small hill in your yard have the child push the bike up the hill and ride it back down. Make sure they can stop before hitting anything by dragging their feet, as they don't have brakes!
Once you see that the child is not putting thier feet down until they are going to fall over because they have almost stopped, it is time to put the pedals back on.
My son started complaining that he was falling over due to not being able to pedal after about 3 weeks, I watched him and found he could have kept going without touching the ground if he could pedal. He was instinctivly turning the handle bars and leaning to keep his balance.

Step 4: Look MA! No Hands!

After you are sure your child has learned thier balance, it is time to put the pedals back on. I lucked out on this as I had two 12 1/2" bikes (both for free that others had out for the trash) the one I pulled the pedals off of has a loose pedal set bearing anyway so I gave it to another kid who wants to ride without training wheels.
Install the pedals tightly so they won't back off under the stress of pedaling, I let my son ride his bike with the pedals on it in the yard first so he could get used to how to "launch" from a standing start. He was afraid to ride it on the street for a few days even though he was riding in the yard, but after I ran holding him once or twice, he learned he could go fine without me.
This is the important step for parents; ride with your kid as much a possible for a few days so they get used to how it is done. Compared to my 21 speed and my daughters 18" bike, he looked like he was running on the 12 1/2" bike to still go slow. I tried him out on the next (free) bike I have, a 16", and he was ready for it. The larger tire sizes have longer frames and wheel bases and make for a much more stable ride than the smaller tires do.
My wife walks 3 miles everday, and part of her walk is up a large, long hill. on his training wheels my son needed to be pulled (my wife has a rope on her jog stroller to pull him, but doesn't need it any more) just like my daughter did until she learned also. Coming down the hill he would be scared at the speed he would hit on the 12 1/2" bike, on his 16" bike he isn't. When he tried out the 16" bike we went for a spin around the block, my son had trouble using the brakes, as the crank arm is longer and the coaster brake requires a longer movement to engage, we then spent a few minutes with him learning how to stop and start.
Make sure your kid knows they need a helmet to ride, that they know not to ride in the street unless it is safe (your call).
Bikes that don't have front, rear, wheel, and pedal reflectors aren't realy meant for on the road (especialy at night), and if you ride at night you need lights. Until he child has all the reflectors (my daughters 18" bike does) my son rides on a tag-a-long bike with me on roads without margins or sidewalks.
If the bike doesn't have fenders, you may want to put some on as all kids love to ride through puddles, and will end up with a streak on thier back!



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    I am looking to purchase new bikes for my sons ages 4.5 and 5.5. They are both in the 97th percentile for height and weight. Will this method work on any new bike that I buy from Amazon or Walmart or should I be looking for bikes with specific features? I am thinking in the 15 inch range. Thanks!

    1 reply

    If they can straddle the bike, sitting on the seat, with their feet flat on the ground, it should work

    i find that taking the cranks out completely is another good option when making a balance bike. that way the cranks are not in the way and when they get going down the longer hills they can rest their feet on the top of the bottom bracket shell.

    1 reply

    I just trained my third child to ride a two wheeler this spring, For most of her learning time she rode with her feet spread as far out as possible to help her keep in control. Once she was resting her feet on the pedal hub or crank arms, she was ready for the pedals to go back on.

    After she learned we were out riding around the neighborhood, going down a hill she hit a bump and lost control, she instantly threw her legs out wide and used them to regain control. This is a good instinct to learn.

    Congrats to every parent who gets their kid to this point!

    I think I may have to try this. My son is still relying on his training wheels after 6 months. Admittedly, his intellectual disability slows him down somewhat, but once a skill "clicks" for him, it sticks pretty well. We've been enjoying weekends on bikes since I finally got one of my own, so having him on 2 wheels would be great (he tends to forget the trainers make the back wider and clip them on things as we go through).
    Plus, with all the side-sloping sidewalks (what twit designed that, btw? the number of elderly I see with their shopping trolleys falling over because of that...) around here, the trainers mean even if he was leaning the right way, the bike still tips over. Really need to get his skills up so he can enjoy the rides even more and with fewer bruises to the shins

    2 replies

    depending on his size check out those "tag a long" type bikes that attach to your bike. if you like to ride he can keep up and go anywhere you do. I found one cheap at a discount store near me and my kids love it. (also check out "trailgator" , it does the same thing without having to store a bike sized object if storage is a problem)
    of course he still needs to learn to ride without training wheels so I hope this I'ble works for you, my son is developmentaly slow, so riding without training wheels at 4 was way out of the ordinary for him, but the joy he gets from it is incredible. My wife walks 3 miles a day and part of the walk is up a large hill, until he got rid of the training wheels my wife had to tow him up the hill with a rope tied to her stroller, now he is at the top way before her.

    Have been checking those trailgators out recently, too. Sounds like you're doing well with your young one. Am hoping to start trying him with coasting soon. We're having a break from bikes today after spending the last two and a half days cruising around my area. Clocked up a fair few miles in the time. Biggest problem we have is poorly designed footpaths/sidewalks and crossings - he's not got the hang of leaning enough to avoid being tipped sideways or always putting a foot out to catch if he does tip. He'll get there eventually

    Okay, I tried this a few weeks ago like I said I was going to, and it worked like a CHARM!!!!! This is an awesome idea. We live in NH so hills are easy to find! Thank you so much!

    1 reply

    Glad it worked! enjoy!

    This is an awesome idea, I will be trying it tomorrow with my 4 year old!

    This method works! I removed the pedals and had the seat lowered so he could reach the ground. He pushed himself along for a few feet and when he realized he could balance, he asked me to reattach his pedals. He then proceded to pedal down an inclined driveway. In less than two hours he was riding his bike. This sure beats holding the seat while they trying to learn, Super method Love this site. Proud Dad!

    1 reply

    glad it worked, it is great to watch your kid learn something!

    When I was learning to ride (seems so long ago but it was only 8/9/10 years ago), my dad made sure that the first bike I rode without training wheels had PROPER hand brakes. He loosened them up so I couldn't skid. Having good non-coaster brakes is important, as coaster brakes have a tendency to be activated if you don't pay attention to what you are doing, and they normal death grip your wheel, putting you into a skid (not a good experience if you are a 5 year old going down a big hill for the first time).
    So just a suggestion, try to get a bike with hand brakes or attempt to put them on yourself.

    from Tommunbeig

    My experience of learning to ride a bike was slightly different. This was just after the Worl WAR 2

    I rode a beatup old trike until I was about 4, and then I was given a nice new green luxury model with a boot. After two weeks it went wrong, and spent the next year and a bit in the local garage, Dodd's, in Troon - they also sold bikes - and ran a fleet of buses. Meantime I had been sallying out in our back garden on my big brother's bike with feet through the bars, definitly unsafe. So the parents got me a smaller bicycle to suit my size.

    This time the four of us, Mother, Father, brother George - 8 years my senior - and me burst forth on the Troon cycling scene. Ma tied my bike to hers with a length of string while Pa placed me astride the bike with feet on the pedals. George went ahead to check that the coast was clear; Mother started pulling with me steadied by Pa with me making tentative pushes on the pedals. I got used to this fairly quickly and then learned the gentle art of breaking. Meanwhile Pa caught up and we then proceeded round by the Golf Courses. Stopping was something of the reverse. Choosing a suitable spot, George and Pa, up ahead dismounted from their bicycles and arranged themselves either side of my anticipated trajectory. Mother then lost way and fed instructions back to me to slow down to keep the string tight. At the appropriate moment we stopped and Pa and Bro' caught me.

    Meanwhile the posh trike was declared healthy and I had to suffer the indignity, felt all the more at that age, of crowding myself onto the trike for its last journey home - on the pavement!

    Conveniently we had a visit from family members from South Africa when my second cousin, Peter, converted the trike into a trolley with the aid of a spare wheel from somewhere. I used that as a mounting block to get me going on the bike in the garden, and we were then able to go out en famille without the string with me climbing walls to mount the bike, and pretty much the reverse for stopping.

    Of course, after a few days of this I mastered the arts of starting and stopping in the normal way.

    My son was about to turn seven and did not want to try the traditional dad-runs-beside-me method, even though our one outing was successful. A friend suggested riding on grass, as pavement is scary, but my son can't power his bike on grass. Then it struck me: hills. I brought him to a small grassy hill near our house and he coasted down it over and over. He got used to steering and balancing. I had parked my car fifty feet from the bottom of the hill, and told him he could have my soda in it if he could ride that far. I encouraged the pedals. He did not make it that day, but sleeping on the skill set helped a lot. The next week he was riding two wheel like a champ. For my son, the size of the bike was crucial. I see a lot of kids riding this really tiny bikes, but success came when I upgraded from a 16" to a 20" bike that fit him as he was able to give more power to the pedals.

    I did same thing with my Daughter. no training wheels / no pedals after 2 weeks she started gliding a little after 1 month she was ballancing coasting down the hill. Also Note - this is a great way for them to learn HANDBRAKES first instead of coaster breaks. she is almost 6 and is riding like a champ - uses handbrakes only - never uses the coasterbreaks . i recommend trying this for every child. Might not work on ALL kids - but is worth a try

    1 reply

    thanks! I hope more people try this, the responses from others who tried this really help.

    My daughter learned how to ride her bike doing this. I didn't do so much hands-on instruction as just let her push herself around on the bike. It didn't take too long before she was pushing off and gliding with her feet off the ground. That was when I put the pedals back on. A couple of days later, she spontaneously put her foot on the pedal and pushed, and that's all it took.

    1 reply

    my son was afraid to ride without training wheels for reasons he couldn't explain. I didn't do any hands on instruction besides running behind him to make him think I was holding him up, actually once he got going I took my hands off the "balance buddy" bar on his bike. I mostly made this ible as a way for parents who are searching for how to train their kid with a search engine to find this info and this site.