Without Training Wheels

My friend Ben taught his daughter how to ride a bike without using training wheels, and without running behind or alongside her holding on to the seat. He found her a bike that fit her well when the seat was at its highest setting, and then lowered the seat. She could touch the ground this way, and taught herself how to ride by starting herself rolling along, then picking her feet up off the ground and trying out the pedaling process. If she started to wobble, she could just put her feet down. Once she started to get it, and felt comfortable enough to take a little more risk, Ben raised the seat a bit, continuing as she got more and more confident until the seat was at the optimal height for her.

I can’t help thinking this isn’t an easier way to learn than the traditional training wheel approach. When you’ve got that extra set of wheels, you don’t have to pay such close attention to balance, and thus aren’t likely to actually get it as quickly. Given that most training wheels are also not perfectly engineered and balanced, learners have the additional challenge of keeping the bike from listing to one side or the other, depending on which training wheel is lower. This leaning causes the rider to have to compensate by tipping his or her body in the opposite direction, which means they’re not positioned properly to balance. If you keep the rider low enough to the ground, he or she gets to essentially start from scratch, and work up to balancing and pedaling on his or her own time.

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