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  • What A Difference A Day Makes

    September 16, 2008

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    Dear Antique Mommy-

    A suggestion on how to learn to ride a bike. Take training wheels and the peddles off the bike. Lower seat all the way. Put child on bike making sure feet touch the ground. Let child move bike with feet on ground to catch himself. Get balanced, let child feel balanced, ride bike with feet off of ground and get balanced. Do this for as long as it take to get the balance. Put peddles back on bike. Child should be riding within minutes. (My sister found this in a newspaper and it has been tried on about 10 kids that we know and it works every time.) From what I can tell they are too busy trying to pedal that they cant feel the balance.

    ~ Keary

    * * * * *

    Dear Keary –

    You are all kinds of awesome. Thank you for caring enough to leave the comment on yesterday’s post. As you can see we gave it a try and it worked like a charm, and just as you said, in a matter of minutes. I think we’ll be putting the pedals back on his bike before the end of the week. Joy abounds at the House of Antique. What a difference a day makes. Thank you, thank you!

    ~ Antique Mommy


    1. Antique Mommy says:

      I lovelovelove my readers.

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:33 am

    2. SCY says:

      This post makes my heart sing 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 12:27 am

    3. Brigitte says:

      Way to go, Sean! I know of lots of kids twice as old who still don’t get it (and as my girl is about to turn 4 and still hardly touches her tricycle, she may be one of those).

      September 16th, 2008 at 12:38 am

    4. Tara says:


      September 16th, 2008 at 2:20 am

    5. Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom says:

      Wow, that’s fantastic!! {{taking notes}}

      Thanks for sharing, both of you 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 2:36 am

    6. Musings of a Housewife says:

      Aw, what a big boy! 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 2:44 am

    7. Theresa says:

      I’m so happy! Thanks for sharing this all with us.

      September 16th, 2008 at 2:53 am

    8. Amy Nathan says:

      Please put a helmet on that boy, AM! :-O

      September 16th, 2008 at 3:26 am

    9. fern says:

      Congratulations! I wish someone had showed me this when I was teaching my kids, or when I was learning myself.
      Now, put a help on him. Sorry, just the Jewish mother in me.

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:08 am

    10. Beverlydru says:

      This goes to prove how invaluable the time we spend blogging can be. I love it.

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:21 am

    11. Gwendolyn says:

      Yay! I love to see children who have just learned to ride a bike…their sense of achievent is so wonderful!

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:35 am

    12. Sarah S. says:

      I love it when the Antiques (and Keary) are educational. Now I know! Maybe I’ll be trusted with my grandkids to teach them to ride…!

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:43 am

    13. canadacole says:

      What a beautiful sight! I have a 6 year old who’s still afraid to ride and asks why she can’t just use a tricycle forever. I’m going to try this!

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:47 am

    14. A&EMom says:

      Awesome! I’ve been wondering how to get past that training wheel problem!

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:47 am

    15. Meg @ Spicy Magnolia says:

      Yeah!! That’s awesome! He looks like a pro already! 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:49 am

    16. Jennifer says:

      Yea Sean! I’m very impressed. But he looks so big :o(
      I hate it when they grow up.

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:50 am

    17. Margie says:

      Congratulations, Sean.

      September 16th, 2008 at 4:56 am

    18. Linda says:

      Yay for Sean!!!!
      This brings back memories of when I taught my son how to ride a bike! Now he is 26 and still knows how to ride a bike.

      This was great thanks for sharing!!!

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:14 am

    19. Jean says:

      Ditto Amy Nathan up above – – HELMET PLEASE. Don’t want to squelch the joy, but start the habit early!! It makes a difference.

      Hooray for progress on the pedaling front!

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:44 am

    20. Minnesotamom says:

      That’s a great tip! And I hate to say it, but SOMEHOW I made it through my entire childhood without a helmet…so if he’s right in front of your house and you feel comfortable without him wearing one–yep, YOUR decision.

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:51 am

    21. Sarah at themommylogues says:

      Ok, that is fascinating, fascinating advice. I will definitely be keeping that in mind when it’s time to take off the training wheels. You know, when she’s 16.

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:56 am

    22. denise says:

      What a great idea! I’ll have to put that one in my “great ideas” file for next spring when the training wheels will come off at our house!

      While I agree that YOU are the parent and it is YOUR decision and yours alone . . . I also personally feel strongly about the use of helmets — no matter how short a ride you’re going on, no matter how close to home (kind of like buckling up in the car, even to drive around the block). I also managed to survive childhood sans helmet, but as I tell my mom, it’s a wonder I made it out alive with no carseats after age 2 and that death-trap of a crib I used to sleep in : )

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:01 am

    23. sheilah says:

      Wow…I am going to have to try this with Evan. He is about a year older than Sean and still does not have the balance thing going on. His bike has been untouched in the garage for months.

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:08 am

    24. Teaching a child to ride a bike | Owlhaven says:

      […] Owlhaven This bike riding tip? Sheer brilliance! I am tempted to try it on my 3 year old… Share and […]

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:08 am

    25. owlhaven says:

      brilliance. I’m linking here


      September 16th, 2008 at 6:11 am

    26. ShackelMom says:

      Great idea and great results! I also think he looks a lot happier without all that gear. Maybe the helmet habit is a good one, overall, but I am so glad I didn’t have to mess with it when my kids were growing up (and they did grow up). 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:14 am

    27. Traci Best says:

      What a super idea! We are having the same problem at our house with all three of ours! (7,7 and 6) Guess what we will be doing this week?? LOL!

      Thank you!!!

      Traci Best

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:16 am

    28. Anjali says:

      Thank you for this! My older daughter is almost 7 and still has training wheels (though she doesn’t like to ride her bike, so that’s part of it). I’m going to try this with my 4-year old this weekend as well, and see if it works!

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:20 am

    29. Jill says:

      I am going to have to remember that!! Thanks for sharing!

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:31 am

    30. Beck says:

      My oldest child has balance problems and we’ve wondered how to make bike riding understandable to her – I’m going to try this TONIGHT!

      September 16th, 2008 at 7:24 am

    31. Kelly @ Love Well says:

      I knew it. Way to go Sean!

      And I’ll be sure to try this on my four-year-old this weekend. His seven-year-old sister just started riding without training wheels. (She didn’t get a bike until last year.) So now he wants to try.

      September 16th, 2008 at 7:29 am

    32. Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife says:

      That’s awesome! Look at him go!!

      September 16th, 2008 at 7:59 am

    33. :: Suzanne :: Adventures in Daily Living :: says:

      Off to remove the pedals. . . thanks!

      September 16th, 2008 at 8:22 am

    34. Vintage Mommy says:

      I had a huge grin when I saw the photo of your boy sailing along. I had heard about this method too, we did a modified version and it worked great!

      September 16th, 2008 at 8:48 am

    35. happy Mommy says:

      Wow I have never heard of that! My older son is a bike wiz our second son feels very sad that he can’t go as fast, I think we are going to try this!

      September 16th, 2008 at 9:20 am

    36. tracey says:

      Wow! I never thought of taking off the pedals. I had always encouraged my kids to coast down the driveway over and over, to get the balance. But no pedals? Brilliant!

      September 16th, 2008 at 9:25 am

    37. Joni says:

      Wonderful! I would never thought. I’m gonna to pass this on.

      September 16th, 2008 at 10:07 am

    38. Mother Hen says:

      We had instant success!

      September 16th, 2008 at 10:18 am

    39. Sharri says:

      We figured this trick out, quite accidentally, a few months ago with my 6 year old, although without taking off the pedals. I will definitely take them off when we try it with my 4 year old.

      I never used a helmet as a child either, so I’m somewhat embarrassed to say I don’t really care much about it. Although I’ll admit my kids always wear one, if only so the other parents in the neighborhood don’t think I’m the Worst Parent Ever!
      Now, if I see someone riding a bike with no shoes on? I march right up to them and make them walk their bike home and PUT ON SOME SHOES! I cut off 2 toes riding my bike barefoot when I was 7. Just thinking about someone riding barefoot makes me cringe.

      Guess I outta introduce myself since this is my first time commenting… I’m another antique mommy (45) from VA that has been reading your blog for about a year now. I must say that I just LOVE YOU! (not in a creepy, stalker kinda way of course!) You have such a wonderful way with words.

      September 16th, 2008 at 11:00 am

    40. Ann G says:

      What a great tip! Thanks for sharing it with us. I think I’ll give it a try if my little guy is still struggling in a few months.

      September 16th, 2008 at 11:02 am

    41. Shalee says:

      Oh how wonderful! I wish I had known that about 5 years ago…

      September 16th, 2008 at 11:07 am

    42. Kathy says:

      A.M. I. think. you. are. wonderful.

      P.S. Go Sean!

      September 16th, 2008 at 11:13 am

    43. Jennifer says:

      Our son ended up riding without training wheels on his own, simply because the t.w. bent upwards enough that they were no longer helping him balance. I just happened to notice one day last spring that he was balancing on the 2 big tires and not really using the t.w. at all. At first I thought we should bend them back, because I just didn’t think a barely-5-year-old needed to have the t.w. removed. But you can never bend metal back the way it was, so they ended up actually inhibiting his ride. He asked me to take them off, so I did, and he’s never looked back.

      In fact, this worked so well, our neighbors purposely bent their daughter’s t.w. one day and poof! She was riding on two!

      Just another idea…if the lack of pedals causes concern for your child (mine would have protested since “all bikes have pedals” and it would have distracted too much from the goal at hand).

      And what’s with all the comments about helmets? Did you say that you weren’t going to use it anymore? I don’t really think mine needs it when riding in the cul-de-sac in front of our house, but it’s easier to make him wear it all the time than explaining why sometimes he doesn’t have to and sometimes he does.

      Of course, it would help if Daddy followed this parenting principle too!

      September 16th, 2008 at 11:36 am

    44. Candace says:

      Great tip! My 3 year old is so accident prone (like mommy like daughter) – I think I will have to file this one away for, I don’t know – another 6 or 7 years!

      September 16th, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    45. Dev says:

      Yay for Sean! And the commenter who saved his poor little four-year-old knees from certain pain! What a good idea too– I never would have thought of taking the pedals off!

      September 16th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    46. Big Mama says:

      Don’t think we won’t be trying this next weekend! It’s sheer brilliance!

      And I love the picture. You can just see the breeze in his hair!

      September 16th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    47. Barb says:

      Glad Sean is riding now. Remember that I seconded that no pedals idea 🙂

      But please, please, have him wear a helmet! Yes, we all say we survived without wearing one as children because the ones who didn’t survive are gone or too injured to comment here!

      I know a 7 yo while riding in front of his own house who flipped over his handlebars, landed on his head and cracked his helmet right in half. He ended up with a mild concussion but it would have been so much worse without his helmet.

      All the serious adult riders wear helmets. Little kids are so much more likely to fall and they lead with their heads!

      Do what you want with the knee and elbow pads. Skinned knees will heal, but head injuries often don’t!

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    48. Paulla says:

      Wow – who knew? I wish I’d known this when my littles were learning to ride. I’ll remember it for future grandbabies. 🙂

      September 16th, 2008 at 5:43 pm

    49. Diamond Girl says:

      Bike riding 101, are all bikes equiped with hand brakes? I remember having to back pedal to brake, Hmm, hand brakes for little children are they really that coordinated that they can balance, pedal and use hand brakes? Safety is always an issue with bikes, my son required six stitches to the chin when he fell off his bike,the head is the heavest part of the body so it usually hits something first.That was a learning experience for our family.Bikes can be very dangerous tools we give to our children. On a very sour note, tragedy struck our friends when their 10 year old daughter went beyound their driveway into the street to turn around and was hit by a speeding drunk driver.
      Good Luck to Sean and parents(AD&AM), but please do be careful,enjoy life & God Bless.

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:06 pm

    50. fern says:

      I’m giving my 2 cents on the helmet discussion–I never wore a helmet and I made it through childhood just fine, but not every kid did. And when I was younger I never wore a seat belt and when I was a kid we moved around all over the car and climbed all over the seats and I am just fine. But many of the ones who didn’t are not able to write comments on blogs like I am. I have a beautiful 25 year old niece who I can e-mail or talk to whenever I want–because on a sunny day about 12 years ago, she wore a helmet. If she hadn’t, I would be telling a different story today. I’m glad I don’t have to.

      And folks who say it is okay to ride without a helmet if it is right in front of your house–the last time I checked the sidewalk was just as hard in front of my house as it is a few blocks away.

      I think I’ll get off of my soapbox now.

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    51. Stretch Mark Mama says:

      Oh, I’m certain he has a helmet! But pictures are a lot cuter w/o.

      Did you know that in the Cool (Rich) Mom Circles (of which I am undoubtedly a part!) you can actually BUY A BIKE that comes WITHOUT PEDALS???!?!?!? For this very training purpose??

      Believe it!

      September 16th, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    52. Jan says:

      Oh. My. Goodness! Enough about the helmet! We all know the benefits of helmets! The boy just doesn’t have one on in this picture. We all have our secrets: Sometimes my boy doesn’t wear a helmet, sometimes I don’t put sunscreen on him, I’ve never been very good about making sure he gets enough sleep. And the list goes on…..

      September 16th, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    53. Theresa says:

      Whoo hoo!! Hope I remember this when my time comes 🙂

      September 17th, 2008 at 12:37 am

    54. nan says:

      What a good idea! My boys learned really quickly with the seat very low like that, but those pedals can sure bash you in the shins as you scoot along. Now, where’s that nephew of mine?

      September 17th, 2008 at 1:55 am

    55. Frugal Carol says:

      I wonder if this would work with my balance challanged DS. Think I will give it a try!!

      September 17th, 2008 at 3:24 am

    56. Praise and Coffee says:

      Go Sean!!! Lauren learned to ride a two wheeler this last week too!!

      Now she and her little neighbor friends (who also learned last week) ride in circles as their mother and I gasp and cringe with every turn.

      Have fun!

      September 17th, 2008 at 3:50 am

    57. Addie says:

      Wow, that Keary IS all kinds of awesome, I have two that still need to learn! Sean looks great cruisin’ around on his wheels!

      September 17th, 2008 at 10:46 am

    58. Renee says:

      See, this is why I love reading blogs! I’ve never heard of this trick and it’ll come in handy for my almost-4-year-old!

      September 17th, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    59. mama speak says:

      We learned this trick on Sesame Street, as the kids in Holland (where bike riding is mandatory or something) get a wooden, 2 wheeled bike w/no pedals at age 3. Once they master the art of pushing it along the parents move them up to a real bike. They must look at us trying to teach our older kids like we’re insane.
      None of this works if the child isn’t that interested, which is the case with our oldest. She likes messing around with the whole thing, but really she likes the extra attention from mom & dad, so she’s not that motivated to move to the next step. sigh.

      September 17th, 2008 at 11:16 pm

    60. Beth says:

      Oh thank you. This suggestion could not have come at a better time for us. Can’t wait to try it. Yay Sean!

      September 18th, 2008 at 5:04 am

    61. Lucy says:

      Would the helmet police please stop?

      September 18th, 2008 at 5:06 am

    62. feefifoto says:

      That worked for us too.

      September 18th, 2008 at 6:06 am

    63. Qtpies7 says:

      Oh, the beauty of blogs, people can say whatever they want, because you can’t actually hunt them down and find their flaws and chew them out for being negligent parents.
      Most of us know you are a great and careful mother for your son and trust your judgement on your parenting.
      My neighbors think climbing trees is deadly and would come to my door when they’d see my child in the tree. Until I finally asked them if they climbed trees, and amazingly they not only climbed them, but had FOND memories of doing it!

      September 19th, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    64. Melanie says:

      I am trying this TONIGHT!!!

      September 20th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

    65. Abbi says:

      Yes, it IS exciting!! You beat me to commenting about it…it worked great!! And Lily is so happy with herself! Thanks for sharing this idea. 🙂

      September 20th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    66. Kay says:

      I can’t wait to try this with my four year old son! I didn’t even know you could TAKE the pedals off…Totally cool idea.

      September 21st, 2008 at 11:31 pm

    67. Jamie says:

      Now that it’s turning cooler, the bikes come here. My 10 year old is so busy trying to pedal, he doesn’t balance. I’m so excited to try this!

      September 22nd, 2008 at 8:57 am

    68. Faith says:

      This technique worked so well for both of my daughters!!
      I first heard about it on the Today Show years ago!!

      September 22nd, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    69. CanadianCarrie says:

      We are so trying this on Friday! My dd is almost 6 and afraid to take the tw off, we ended up taking them off for about 30 mins last weekend, but she has trouble with the balance too. So I actually suggested to my husband to let her push herself with her feet for a while, he just glared at me and asked who was doing this, him or me! I’ll be showing him this post definitely!! Thanks! And maybe we’ll get our 3yrold off his trike before winter too!! Yay for blogger networking!

      September 25th, 2008 at 12:21 am

    70. Ingenious Technique for Helping Your Child Learn to Ride a Bike | I'd Rather Be Writing - Tom Johnson says:

      […] learning the traditional way, where you just receive a push and try to go, Jane read a tip on one of her mommy blogs about a new method to teach children to ride a […]

      October 3rd, 2008 at 8:39 am

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