Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels

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This is a tried and true method for teaching a child to ride a bike — without expensive equipment, hair loss, or tears.

Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels - This is a tried and true method for teaching a child to ride a bike -- without expensive equipment, hair loss, or tears.


We’ve had SIX children learn to ride a bike without training wheels. Our firstborn, of course, was our guinea pig. And as with many things, he was treated to the traditional approach.

In this case, we took off the training wheels and ran along beside, etc. It took about a week, in part because he was mad that we took off the training wheels. It was definitely a push-me, pull-me experience.

With our second son, we heard about this other method. And wow. It’s amazing.

Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels - This is a tried and true method for teaching a child to ride a bike -- without expensive equipment, hair loss, or tears.

Take off the training wheels AND the pedals.

I read about it in a magazine and told FishPapa about it. Hmmm…. let’s see.

The theory is that without pedals the kid learns to balance. He’s not so focused on pedaling to distract him from balancing. Learn the balance and then the pedaling part will be easy.

This has been amazing with the five kids we’ve used it on. A few runs down the driveway balancing and the kid is ready to get the pedals back on. Each kid has been off and riding in less than an hour.

This is a practically pain-free way of learning to ride a bike without training wheels.

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  1. This is exactly how we just taught my son, it really is the best way. He learned to balance in our back yard and once he had that he started pedaling and he had it instantly!

  2. I wonder if this works with girls. I bought a $5 bike at a garage sale and it had no training wheels. I was hoping to find some that would work but had no luck. So now I have a 7 year old daughter and a bike and she’s too afraid to ride it. We will try this and see if it works on a girl. Boys are daring by nature and will attempt something like this but I don’t know if my shy littl girl will be so bold.

    1. Kara, I learned to ride as an adult and this was the method that the teacher used. The trick is to get the seat low enough so that her feet are flat on the ground to begin with. This gives her the confidence that if she feels like she is about to fall, she can put her feet down. As she feels more comfortable, you can raise the seat.

  3. My second child (6yo) taught my third child (5yo) how to ride a bike without training wheels a few months back. He just had his brother get on HIS bike (the one without training wheels) and he held on and taught him–on our back patio–within 1-2 hours. Chances are pretty good that he’ll teach his other younger siblings, too! But if that doesn’t work, then we’ll try your method.

    It was pretty amazing to walk outside and see what they were doing together!

  4. For crying out loud! I’m a PT and had not put this together. I struggled as a kid trying to learn to ride without training wheels. My oldest will be 5 yo soon and we’ll definitely try this. It makes so much sense from a motor learning stand point. Very nice timing on this post btw.

    1. Yeah! I’m so glad “a pro” was able to chime in. Even if it was news to you… πŸ˜‰

  5. I’ve seen those balance “bikes” that they sell – I believe they are popular in Asia – Japan maybe? My kids have learned the traditional way but we never really taught them. We live on a cul-de-sac and the kids ride their bikes all of the time and use the scooter. When we saw that they were balancing on the scooter or not relying on the training wheels, we took them off. Both of my girls took off right away – we probably could have done it younger. One was 5 1/2 and one was just under 5. I think the reason it worked was just all of the practice they get riding their bike around the circle.

  6. Both of our boys learned this way. We purchased a balance bike (kinderbikeusa.com) that they started on when they were 2. They were both riding 12″ bikes with pedals and no training wheels before they turned 3. It really is amazing!

  7. I wish I had known about this method with my kids. My oldest still is not comfortable on a bike because of the whole balance issue. Don’t tell him I told you that.

  8. I’m curious what your kids ride (for fun) before they are big enough to ride without training wheels. I had one kid ride a two wheeler before they were four, but the others took longer.
    Do they ride tricycles, or those big wheel type things?


    1. @The Happy Housewife, we have never had a big wheel. Funny. My brother loved his!

      We have two different sized trikes – a micro for the tot and the bigger version for 3s and 4s. Then the boys used a 10 or 12 inch huffy with training wheels. It only lasted four kids! The nerve.

      So, now we are in the market for a training wheel bike for the girls. Last night FishChick3 commented she would like a Dora bike. So, there we have it.

  9. We are currently living in Germany and all tots have those balance bikes (no pedals and no training wheels). I think my 4 1/2 year old is ready to try without training wheels and I thought the European balance bikes were a good idea but, didn’t want to have to buy another bike. Thanks for the suggestion on just taking the pedals off of the bike he already has!

  10. I remember running alongside my older two girls but in the 8 year span between the two sets of kids, we just got old. So we did what any sane old parent would do: give the kid the bike then go inside to drink a cup of coffee. The child will come running inside within 30 minutes to say they can do it, and wouldn’t you know it?? THEY DID!! πŸ˜€ This worked with both little ones. Whew!

  11. Too cool! My three kids already know how to ride. We did it the old fashion way. It didn’t take them very long once I finally took the training wheels off, but there were many tears involved with the “I want them off, I want them back on” process. I can’t wait to pass this idea on to friends with littles.

  12. We did this too. Our oldest two were both riding a two wheeler at 4 after a few months of pushing with their feet. The third is well on her way to riding now and she’s only 3. So much easier than training wheels. We use a $5 yard sale bike and it works great so there is no need to buy a special “trainer bike” but do watch out that the bike isn’t too heavy it makes it harder for them to hold it up and balance.

    1. @Clara S., THAT is an excellent idea. I’ve seen those trainer bikes, but they don’t seem worth it unless you have ten kids and buy it with the first child. LOL. A garage sale bike is a great idea.

  13. We have 6 children. After teaching the first two with training wheels we heard about this and gave it a try. It worked great!! But we found out that some bikes are a bit more difficult to remove the pedals on than others. πŸ™‚

  14. I am TOTALLY trying this! It makes so much sense. We haven’t had any of ours learn yet so this is perfect timing.



  15. We just learned about this method a week ago. My husband has been trying to teach our oldest and after many frustrating “bike lessons” he searched on youtube how to teach someone to ride a bike, and this method was on there. He told me about it and I was skeptical, but after her learning to balance without the pedals for a few days, we put the pedals back on and she was riding it the first time she tried!! Now she is riding all over the neighborhood and is so happy! We are thinking we need to start teaching the second one now soon too…we were a little behind with the oldest because she didn’t want to learn because she was so frustrated with it.

  16. I love that idea! My son is only 4 and we just got him a big boy bike last Christmas and he’s still growing into it a bit, but I wonder if this would work for him next year?

  17. We taught ours this way too…it is an awesome tip that so few people seem to think to do. Our kids literally learned within hours how to ride a bike..Best way to teach them IMHO πŸ™‚

  18. Oh My Goodness!! I wish I’d heard this 8 years ago!! My youngest still has trouble balancing!! And he is 13!! shhhh

  19. they make toddler bikes without pedals for just this purpose! my 4-year-old is riding his “pedals bike” with no training wheels after a few months of riding his strider balance bike! stridersports.com

  20. Ahhhhhhhhh! Thank you SO much for this!!! Going to do this soon with my kids!

    What age do you train your kids?

  21. That is how we did it, balance first. But, we did not take the pedals off. We just told him to push with his feet, then pick them up and balance…about 5 minutes later he had balanced long enough to get his feet up on the pedals and he was off. Getting started is the hardest part! :o)

    1. @Tina, We just did the exact same thing for our daughter. She learned to ride this weekend. She got her balance first, then it all seemed to click at the same time. We waited too long with her because she had confidence issues, but plan to teach my son in the spring after he turns 5.