If I told you that your child could learn to ride their bicycle without training wheels in three 1-hour sessions, you would probably roll your eyes at me or snicker in disbelief. Trust me, I know, I did the same thing when a friend called me up and said my kids could learn how to ride their bicycles in just 3 hours. After all, the previous summer we had tirelessly taken the kids out every night after dinner to ride their bikes. Even with training wheels or us holding the back of the bike, they still didn’t have the confidence to do it alone. So, my immediate thought was, there has to be a catch, right?
Here is the catch…if you are tired of trying to teach your kids to ride their bikes because you’re tired of them yelling at you, throwing their bike onto their ground in frustration, getting knee and elbow bruises, or you losing your own sanity, then keep reading! Bicycle lessons that truly teach your kids how to ride their bikes with a patent pending teaching method comprised of three steps: Fearless, Pedaling, and Safety. The company that came up with this method is called Learn3Ride™.
Learn3Ride’s mission is to teach bike riding in a safe, effective, affordable, and timely way, no matter what the level of the child or adult. Their instructors provide every student with the necessary skills that help them in understanding how to balance, steer, pedal, and ultimately ride a bicycle. Each lesson also helps build confidence in feeling how the bike moves and how they can make the bike move.
Lessons are for everyone regardless of ability to ride a bicycle. When they asked me if my kids could ride a bike without training wheels, my answer was “no.” I asked if it would take more than the three lessons since she still had training wheels? Their answer, we will have her riding her bike next week!
Ok. Now I want to preference before you read on…my kids scream, kick the bike, and every minute let me know how much they don’t like me for teaching them how to ride their bikes. If someone else can take this on, sign me up!
Our first lesson was with Rich Hatch, the creator of the program, and our cheerleader, Karen. We didn’t need to bring a bike, as they provide them. We just needed to bring a helmet. After a minute of introductions, my daughter was already on a bike learning the first step: Fearless. This was her learning how to balance the bike on a flat surface without training wheels or pedals. No pedals on the bike helps the kids feel less inclined on trying to start to pedal.
Once she felt confident on the pavement it was time to head to a grassy incline. This is where fear set in. She started to get nervous, and the word “no” started to come out. After a bit of convincing she started trying the hill. It is amazing that just a small incline can increase the speed of the bike enough to throw off balance and confidence. This is where it is key to have someone else helping. Rich and Karen were so patience with her that I didn’t need to intervene much at all. After a few falls and a few great rides down the hill, the first hour lesson was over. She had a great time and was surprised at what she had accomplished in just an hour.
The next day we came back ready to start with balance, and accomplish pedaling. I am going to be honest, my kids get very frustrated when they had mastered something the day before and then don’t start out as they finished. After a few minutes of confidence building she was back on the bike mastering balance coming down the grassy hill. She did great time and time again. Just like anything we learn, repetition is key! She went down the hill around 25 times and Fearless was mastered. Time to put on the pedals.
Oh boy. The pedals went on and now it was time to increase the speed while maintaining balance. Karen was great, making sure that she knew exactly where to have to pedals situated before she started down the hill. Initially adding the pedals seemed to through her off a bit. She was watching the pedals more than concentrating on balancing the bike, and she fell a few times. Both Rich and Karen were both patient and kind, which put her at ease. A few more times down the hill, and she mastered the pedaling and balance. Another hour done.
Our last lesson we started on the grassy incline but quickly moved to the flat pavement surface. Pedals on, balance mastered, it was now time to learn a bit about the safely and steering. As she gets on the bike, the focus is now on coming down the grass, transitioning onto the pavement and riding the bike.
The first time this happened I couldn’t believe it. I felt like such a proud mama! She did great, riding around on the pavement gently turning, and stopping like a pro. Since she had used the grassy hill for momentum, the next step was to learn how to start from a stopped position. A bit of a nudge from me or Rich and she was off and going around. Three 1-hour lessons and she went from no confidence without training wheels to riding around with out training wheels and racing other kids.
Now, you may be asking yourself if my daughter is still able to ride her bike even without the instructors around. I wanted to wait about two weeks after our lessons to write this article. I really wanted to get her out there, and see if it stuck. It DID! She is able to get onto her bike and start pedaling on her own, riding confidently down the street. I am so amazed at her confidence in her ability to ride her bike without any assistance.
If you are still on the fence with contacting Learn3Ride™ to help your child with learning how to ride a bicycle, I would say do it. If you child could ride their bike within a week instead of you being frustrated all summer, it is worth every penny! Lessons are given in both South Park and North Park throughout the summer. It is best to register for these lessons in advance as each lesson is limited to so many participants. You can find out where summer lesson are taking place at www.learn3ride.com. Make sure to register as spots are filling quickly.
For online registration in North Park and South Park, please use Allegheny County Parks’ online registration here. https://www.alleghenycounty.us/parks/program-and-event-guide.aspx
Monroeville lessons are in Monroeville Community Park West (2399 Tilbrook Rd). For more information, see http://www.monroeville.pa.us/ or call 412.856.1006.