3 Ways to Take the Pedals Off a Bike

Step 1: pushing the pedals

Before heading out for the first practice session, it is a good idea to use the child’s curiosity about riding a bike to explain the most important functions. Once they have understood how riding a bike works in theory it will be a lot easier for them to ride in practice. The learning process is also easier if children already know how to ride a balance bike. Don’t forget that children should wear a helmet and gloves at all times.



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Take off the training wheels AND the pedals

I read about it in a magazine and told FishPapa about it. Hmmm…. let’s see.

The theory is that without pedals the kid learns to balance. He’s not so focused on pedaling to distract him from balancing. Learn the balance and then the pedaling part will be easy.

This has been amazing with the five kids we’ve used it on. A few runs down the driveway balancing and the kid is ready to get the pedals back on. Each kid has been off and riding in less than an hour.

This is a practically pain-free way of learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

Pedalling – the road to independence

Once kids have developed their balance skills, the next step is to move up to a pedal bike. Whether moving from a balance bike or a bike with stabilizers, pedalling independently is the big step in learning to ride a bike. While pedalling independently is much easier to learn once they have mastered how to balance on two wheels, the learning process is much the same as when cycling without stabilizers for the first time.

First choose a nice flat open space free of obstacles. Learning on smooth tarmac is probably easiest, but a grass surface will be more forgiving if they fall. Make sure they know how to stop with their brakes, especially if you start them off on a slope.

Is it worth buying a three-wheeler bicycle for your child?

Getting on a bicycle and riding without falling of

Getting on a bicycle and riding without falling off will not be possible. For a five-year-old who has not used such a means of transportation before, it is difficult to master a two-wheeled bicycle. Having learned to ride a three-wheel bicycle, the child will get acquainted with steering the handlebar and will understand the purpose of the pedals and the horn. With such accumulated knowledge, it will be easier for them to shift to a two-wheeled model.

The biggest advantage of the three-wheel bicycle is stability. Children of the age of 2-4 years will find those bicycles comfortable. In addition to that, they will be able to do the following during the ride:

  • strengthen the gastrocnemius muscle;
  • improve orientation in space;
  • work on the vestibular system;
  • improve endurance;
  • learn better movement coordination.

Cycling improves blood circulation in the body and saturates it with oxygen. This hobby can form the basis of an active lifestyle. The acquired riding skill will not only remain with the child for life but will also bring a great number of positive emotions. American scientists Yingling Fan of the University of Minnesota and Jing Zhu of Northwestern University, have come to the conclusion that a bicycle is the only means of transportation that brings joy during the regular commute to work. In public transportation, people experience stress, and a bike ride before the workday fills them with good energy.

Physical activities in the outdoors will cause a surge in adrenaline levels and the production of endorphins. Riding a bicycle develops determination in the child, which subsequently increases their self-esteem. The novice cyclist will have the opportunity to set and achieve goals. The scope of victory does not matter, what matters is the fact itself. With age, the child will travel around the area, will test themselves at long distances and on difficult terrains.

In the Netherlands, a study was carried out that proved that cycling for 1 hour extends life by an average of the same time. It also was concluded that active cycling extends life by an average of six months in comparison with people who refrain from it.

Tricycle or balance bike – which one is better for the child?

Before going on a two-wheeled bicycle, the child s

Before going on a two-wheeled bicycle, the child should already have some riding experience. Whilst purchasing a tricycle is completely justified, you would have to figure out whether your child needs a balance bike or not.

A balance bicycle is a simplified alternative to the three-wheel bicycle.

It has no transmission and pedals, hence it is more lightweight. It is much easier to master it than to master riding on a bicycle. The child does not need to pedal, keep their balance or be distracted by the noises from the sides. The kid accelerates and brakes by pushing their feet off the ground. During the ride, they will learn to control the direction of their movement.

The advantages of the balance bicycle: 

  • lightweight;
  • the low height of the seat;
  • minimal need for steering;
  • a quick learning process.

All of the child’s attention will be concentrated on the road, and their feet will be touching the ground. When tilting to one side, they will not fall and will not get injured, which is not the case when riding the bicycle.

Despite its simple design, a tricycle is harder to master than a balance bicycle. It is bulkier and heavier, hence it is not that maneuverable. The baby will not be able to independently carry and lift it without the help of adults. During the ride, the feet will be placed on the pedals, and if it was necessary to brake sharply, not all children would be able to react quickly and place their feet on the ground.

The advantages of the child’s bicycle:

  • autonomous riding experience;
  • gaining the skills of all-round control of the bicycle— speed, coordination and braking;
  • stable construction.

The disadvantage of the bicycle lies in the inconvenient location of the pedals of the front wheel, which complicates their rotation. Moreover, riding along a bumpy road is tiresome, therefore, be prepared to carry both the bike and the child back home.

The particularities of learning to ride a three-wheeler bicycle

When children are riding the bicycle, they pay att

When children are riding the bicycle, they pay attention to all of its details. They are interested in everything: how and why pedals turn, why is a handlebar necessary and what happens when it turns. Do not miss the right moment, be sure to use the interest of the child to kick start the learning process. On a tricycle, it is possible to firstly drive around the apartment, and only then to go outside on the street.

Explain the principle of steering right away. Clearly demonstrate that when the steering wheel rotates, the direction of movement changes. Put the child on the saddle and allow them to drive a couple of meters, pushing off with their feet. After that, place their legs on the pedals and talk about their purpose.

On the one hand, there is nothing difficult in explaining about the handlebar and the pedals, but on the other, it could be a pretty nerve-racking process. Little kids find it hard to concentrate. It is difficult to capture their attention, and even more so, to ensure that they are engaged for a certain period of time. In order to ensure their interest in the new type of transportation, ride their favorite toy around. Do not demand everything at once from your child. Move from one stage of training to another in a gradual manner. Until the baby learns to ride the bike, they do not necessarily need to pedal. But as soon as this happens, show them how the pedals work:

  1. Have the front wheel placed at a slightly elevated position.
  2. Place the child’s feet on the pedals.
  3. Turn the pedals with your hands a couple of times.

A few of such movements will instill a true interest in the child. They will try to turn the pedals on their own.

5. Go on a Bike Ride!

Now I’ll teach you how I quickly learned to ride aThere are two ways for adults to learn and one for children.

Now I’ll teach you how I quickly learned to ride a bike.

Where can children of different ages ride?

The place for training and subsequent cycling shou

The place for training and subsequent cycling should be smooth, with enough light, without cars and without direct access to the roadway. The road can be of either asphalt or dirt. It’s easier to ride on asphalt, however, falling on the lawn is much less painful.

Note that children under the age of 7 years old can only ride under parental control. From 7 to 13 years old, they can ride in the park area and on bike paths. 14-year-old teenagers can cycle along city roads in the same way as adults.

Keep a peace of mind for your child during bicycle rides and walks on the streets, in parks and in forests. Know where your child is at all times and which pathway they took with the “Find my Kids” app available on AppStore and GooglePlay.

Step 3: braking and stopping

On the first few metres it is important to run alongside the child to stop the bike gently or prevent an accident if necessary. After a few attempts the child can try using the brakes on their own.

Ready to teach your child how to ride a bike?

PART 1 | Before Teaching Your Kid to Ride

PART 2 | Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 3 Simple Steps

PART 3 | Teaching Your Kid How to Use Their Brakes

PART 4 | Need a Bike? 3 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Bike

Contributing Experts

Gina Kenny

         REI Outdoor School Instructor

Gina Kenny REI Outdoor School Instructor Gina Kenny teaches bike and mountain bike classes in the Chicago area and has been encouraging people to ride for nearly 20 years.

Karen Silhavy Retail Sales Associate and Instructor Karen Silhavy has been with REI in the Chicago area for seven years, outfitting people for cycling and teaching children and adults how to ride a bike.

Teaching Your Kid to Ride a Bike in 3 Simple Steps

Step 1: Walk the bike with no pedals

Remove the pedals so that your child can easily walk the bike while sitting on the seat. The right pedal loosens to the left, while the left pedal is reverse threaded so it will loosen by turning it right. All Guardian Bikes ship with the pedals off the bike and come with a 15mm pedal wrench.

Lower the seat, so your child's feet are flat on t

Lower the seat, so your child’s feet are flat on the ground. More kids can have their heels off the ground up to 1 inch. This will give them a sense of comfort because they can still touch the ground. The video below shows you how to quickly move the seat up or down if your bike has a quick release.

On a flat surface allow your child to walk the bike. This gives them a feeling of control and helps them get familiar with the sensation of balancing and steering the bike.

Keep them working on this until they get the hang of it. You will begin to notice them have more control over the bike, and that will be your cue to move to step 2.

Step 2: Coast on your bike with your feet up

With their feet up, have your child coast down a slight slope. This gentle decline will help them adjust to the momentum without making them nervous. It will also help them acclimate to balancing themselves. Remember: small slopes are ideal here.

Stay at the bottom of the slope, so that they see

Stay at the bottom of the slope, so that they see you as they descend toward you. This will help with your child’s peace of mind and give them a target to aim towards as well as help them focus on looking straight ahead.

Time them as they ride down the slope. You can count off (“1-2-3-4-5!”). This turns it into a game and encourages them to keep their feet up. When they can coast consistently for 15 seconds, it’s time to install the pedals.

Step 3: Ride your bike with the pedals on!!

Install the pedals so that they can practice riding for real! Remember from our pro tip above that the right pedal tightens clockwise, and the left pedal tightens counter-clockwise on a Guardian Bike. If you need help installing the pedals, the video below is a great resource.

Hold onto their side and have your child start to pedal the bike. This will help them learn the concept of pedaling, which they will pick up much quicker than the balancing they already practiced in steps 1 and 2.

Teach your kid how to start from a stopped positio

Teach your kid how to start from a stopped position. They should start with one foot on the ground and have the opposite foot on the pedal at the 2 o’clock position (see the image below for reference). This position will allow your child to push down on the pedal and start to generate momentum immediately, which is the key to balancing. They may tip over a few times during this process, but you will be amazed at how quickly they will be pedaling on their own!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”– Albert Einstein

Dont start them on an ill-fitting bike


Sure, your ride student isn’t going to climb Mount Washington or embark on a cross-country bike tour the minute you teach them how to turn their pedals. But that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t start out on a bike that fits comfortably.

Find a bike they can easily stand over without making contact with the top tube and reach the handlebars without straining. No one wants to keep riding on a too-large bike that’s scary to mount and dismount. Even better, get them a proper bike fit so everything is set up properly from the start.

Re-Learning Right and Left

No stamps? No problem! Just look at which way the
No stamps? No problem! Just look at which way the threads lean.

Because the Right and Left pedals have opposing threads, trying to insert and tighten the wrong pedal into the other crank arm’s threads can cause major damage. A right-side pedal may feel like it has caught onto a left crank arm thread, especially if it’s inserted at an angle. But if you try to “power through” thinking that the threads are just tight or coarse, you will effectively cross thread the crank arm’s spindle hole and potentially ruin it. To avoid this costly mixup, most pedal manufacturers now label or stamp their spindles with an “R” or “L,” making them easy to tell apart. (fig. 2a) But if these are missing or have worn off, another easy way to figure this out is to simply hold both pedals side-by-side, spindles up. Then look at the angle of the threads. The threads on a right-side pedal will slope up and to the right, while the left-side pedal threads slope up and to the left. (fig. 2b)

Take a stand

Outdoor equity, climate action, places we love. Raise your voice in the movement to protect and share life outdoors. REI Cooperative Action Network

Dont push your own goals and agenda on them

wundervisuals Getty Images

This one is similar to “don’t pressure them to go too fast or far” but has more to do with end goals.

Once you’ve successfully got a new cyclist pedaling, don’t treat the event like it’s a training ride for bigger, more exciting bike rides. You want them to get the hang of riding a bike and possibly fall in love with it from there—not feel pressured to progress to the next level. You’re teaching someone how to ride, not molding a new cyclist in your own image.

Just enjoy the lesson for what it is: the chance to pass on a new skill and spend a little time together on bikes.


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