Teaching your child to ride a bike with Isla Rowntree

With the summer finally arriving and the long school holidays on the horizon we asked Isla Rowntree, ex-national
cyclocross champion and founder of Islabikes how to approach teaching you child to ride a bike.

What are your thoughts on stabilisers?

For years children’s bikes have come fitted with stabilisers, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right thing to use. We encourage parents to avoid stabilisers as they prevent children from learning to balance naturally and actually make the process of learning to ride a bike trickier.
Far better is to let your child use a balance bike before starting to learn a pedal bike. A balance bike will teach them the basics of balancing on two wheels and make the transition to first pedal bike much easier.

 

How old should my child be?

Most children learn to ride their first pedal bike unaided between the ages of 3 1/2 and 4 1/2. But children develop their cycling skills at different times. If it seems that your child isn’t quite get the hang of it, don’t worry, let them keep enjoying their balance bike for a few more weeks and try again later.

How do I teach my child to ride?

Find a large, safe, flat open space to use as your learning zone. Something with tarmac or a fairly firm surface is perfect. Long grass is too tricky for new riders to pedal on.

Now adjust the height of your child’s saddle so they can get the balls of their feet on the floor.

Put your child on their bike and stand behind them, holding them under their armpits. Don’t hold any part of the bike. We want the new rider to feel how their bike naturally moves underneath them.

Push your child along and let the bike wander in any direction. You can help steer the bike by leaning your child right and left. Doing this will let your child learn that leaning is part of the steering process.

If your children have learnt to balance on a balance bike, they may take a little while to grasp the concept of forward pedalling. Encourage them while they practise pedalling forwards.

If your child is ready to cycle unaided they should quickly get a feel for balance and you can gradually let go, but stay close by to catch them if anything goes wrong.

For nervous riders, you may need to stay with them a bit longer. That’s fine. Just let them know that you’re there, but you’re very gradually going to loosen your hold on them. Eventually they’ll be cycling unaided without even knowing it. The look of delight when they realise you’re no longer holding them and they’re cycling all by themselves is a moment to treasure.

 

The final part of the jigsaw is learning how to set off from stationary unaided. For this, have your child put one of their pedals just past the top most part of the pedal circle. That means around the ‘5 to the hour’ position with the left leg, or ‘5 past the hour’ position with the right leg.

Now ask them to give a good push on this leg. With enough forward momentum they should be able to transfer both feet to the pedals, start pedalling and be a completely independent rider.

Islabikes build quality lightweight bikes that are gender neutral in their aesthetics, CyclingShorts.cc will be reviewing them shortly – so watch this space.

You can find more information at:

http://www.islabikes.co.uk/

@islabikes

https://www.facebook.com/Islabikes

https://www.youtube.com/user/Islabikes

Team Mountain Goat Coaching – A new XC Team for 2015

Team Mountain Goat Coaching Ready for XC Series Opener

There will be a new team lining up in domestic Cross-Country (XC) Mountain Biking races in 2015. Team Mountain Goat Coaching consists of four riders who are all coached and trained by Mountain Goat Coaching’s Dan Small.

James Edmond - Image ©Jack Tennyson

James Edmond – Image ©Jack Tennyson

The team is also supported by Springhill Water Services Ltd.

Dan, an experienced British Cycling Coach, launched the Mountain Goat Coaching business in 2014. With over 10 years’ experience in sport science, coaching and writing bespoke training programmes, Dan’s “don’t be a sheep” philosophy of coaching focuses on helping individuals to develop in a way that best suits their specific needs.

Dan sees the launch of Team Mountain Goat Coaching as a logical next step: “Although the riders have very individual preparation programmes, the team regularly comes together to train and develop in an environment where they are encouraged to not only support one another, but also challenge one another’s comfort zones in a constructive way to help each other develop as better riders both on and off the bike.”

L-R Miles Worner, Nick Hamilton, Matt Wilson, James Edmond - Image ©Jack Tennyson

L-R Miles Worner, Nick Hamilton, Matt Wilson, James Edmond – Image ©Jack Tennyson

The team consists of four XC Mountain Bike Riders who are targeting the British Mountain Bike Series (BMBS) and the British National Championships. With a good spread across the age categories the team is made up of Matt Wilson (Grand Vet), James Edmond (U23/Expert), Miles Worner (Junior) and Nick Hamilton (Youth).

Video Analysis - Image ©Jack Tennyson

Video Analysis – Image ©Jack Tennyson

The team recently returned from a busy three-day pre-season training camp in Wales and are looking forward to taking to the start line for their first races of the new season. The team’s 2015 campaign begins on Sunday 22nd March on the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games course at the first round of the Scottish XC Series (SXC). From there the team head to Round 1 of the BMBS at Sherwood Pines the following weekend.

In addition to the 4 mountain bikers forming Team Mountain Coaching in 2015, a number of other up-and-coming riders are currently receiving support from Mountain Goat Coaching, with Dan also helping riders develop in Road, Track, Downhill MTB and Cyclo-Cross. For more information on the team and Mountain Goat Coaching visit www.mountaingoat.bike or follow them on Facebook www.facebook.com/mountaingoat.bike

X