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Monday 25 March 2019
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
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Balancing and Learning How to Ride a Bicycle


  1. Make sure that the child is confident in using a bike with stabilisers before moving on to trying without the support of the stabilisers.
  2. Can they steer competently?
  3. Do they know how to stop? Are you sure that they look where they are going?
  4. The bicycle should be small enough so that the child can place two feet firmly on the floor and the frame should be strong enough to give support.
  5. The child should sit astride the bike and propel itself along a flat, even path.
  6. Once the child is confident that they can keep the bike upright then move to a gentle slope, which flattens out, and practice as above. Do not put feet on the pedals – rather lift the legs a little way keeping them ready to stop.
  7. Only when the child has achieved the above they can then try and start pedalling. Some children may need to look down to see where there feet are before placing them on the pedals, so an adult may need to supervise and offer some physical support at this stage.
  8. Continue using a gentle slope as this will provide just enough momentum. The area used should provide a large enough distance to allow the bicycle to go in straight line so that there are no steering problems at this stage.
  9. Steering can be difficult. The child may go round in a circle, this can happen because they are leaning to heavily on one side of the handlebars. Check the seat is comfortable and at the correct height.
  10. Remember to stay calm and give plenty of encouragement, when the child is successful praise them.

Cycle Maintenance

Regularly Check that:

  • Brakes work properly and are not worn out
  • Tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, normally shown on the side wall of the tyre
  • The saddle is at the correct height and secure
  • Lights and reflectors are charged and lights are clean. You must have a white front light and a red rear light.

Cycling Advice

  • Wear something bright and reflective so motorists can see you

  • Wear a well fitting cycle helmet

  • Be considerate to pedestrians

  • When overtaking pedestrians on a shared use path:
  • slow down
  • ring your bell or say, "Excuse me"
  • beware of children and dogs rushing out in front of you
  • Ride in single file on the road

  • Don't ride on a pavement that is not marked for joint use

  • Don't carry heavy loads on your handlebars - this will affect your balance

  • Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • Always look before you start, stop or turn and always signal to other traffic

  • Never 'jump' traffic lights or behave irresponsibly