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Cycling for Kids

Cycling is a life skill that will not be forgotten once mastered. It is an advance motor skill that involves the integration of several motor skills, such as balance, left-right, hand-eye and leg-eye coordination. Repeated practice reinforces these skills to form a ‘cycling program’ which is stored in the brain, and to be retrieved when required. That is why some skill, such as swimming and cycling, will ‘never’ be forgotten.

A child can be introduced to his first bike as early as 2 years of age. This is the age where the child is perfecting basic motor skills and combining them together to accomplish complicated motor task. To learn cycling, this complex task is broken down into basic components during the initial stages, such as balancing, pedaling and steering. As the child gets better at the individual motor skill,  they are combined together. Through trial and error with repeated failure, adjustment and perfecting of motor skills, the child will finally be able to ride a bicycle on ‘auto-pilot’ mode.

Transition from a tricycle to a bicycle can be difficult. In fact, some people never achieve it. There are some suggestions to make transition easier from a tricycle to a bicycle. These include elevating the training wheels further from the ground such that the child will learn to balance on 2 wheels of the bike momentarily without tipping over. Another method, (in my opinion) which is more fun and successful, is to introduce the child to kids training bike as their very first bike. Kids training bike is a kid size bicycle without pedals. Some manufactures do have models of different levels of difficulty (from broader wheels with increased stability, to thin wheels which demands high level of balance skill). Below is a video on how these kids training bike works. The ‘fun’ factor of these training bikes is important on reinforcing practice. With the balance skill conquered, learning how to pedal is usually a breeze (wearing of safety gear applies when the child is on the training bike).

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There are also toys in the market to help a child learn how to pedal. Stationary bike is a great tool to teach a child how to pedal, without the need for parent to manually guide the pedal and chasing after a moving bike at the same time (which can cause serious strain on the parent’s back!). It is especially great for child with coordination problem who need to learn the pedaling component and balance component separately. The stationary bike is also great for children who need to shed some weight, to improve cardiovascular health and fitness.

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Cycling is a great life skill to master. With the aid of new products such as training bikes, learning how to cycle will be much easier for the parent and child.

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Disclaimer: The information and advice contained in or made available through this website is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the services of a health professional or to be a substitute for medical advice of physicians.
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