Bikeriding Baby!
May 15, 2009 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Help me teach a 1 year old how to ride a bike!

Well, maybe just ride on a bike. I am planning on taking my 1 year old daughter on bike rides. I currently have a bike equipped with an appropriate seat and a helmet for her. What other things would I need? And what other advice can experienced biking parents offer?
posted by lester's sock puppet to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a daily rider-with-one-year-old. My advice (in addition to piles of safety concerns that I'm sure you've already thought of) is never, ever pinch your daughter's chin when buckling the helmet. I did this months ago, and my son still complains whenever he sees the helmet.
posted by beniamino at 8:42 AM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

Will she wear sunglasses, or can you put a visor on her helmet? When I would take my daughter for rides, she would complain (and whine and moan, seemingly endlessly) about the sun and wind (and apparent constant stream of boulder-sized dirt particles) in her eyes, making the whole experience less enjoyable for everyone involved.

But Little Miss Squirrel was a Grade A drama queen from toddlerhood. I hope your experience will be better! The best part is when they learn to talk, and can say things like "FASTER, MOMMY! WHY CAN'T YOU GO ANY FASTER?!?!"
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:02 AM on May 15, 2009

Since your kid is only one, I might suggest investing in a Trail-a-Bike. this will get her used to sitting up, and the motion.

I also think that it's much too early to think about having her on a bike by herself, even with training wheels. For commuting and bike rides, I think that trail-a-bike is preferable, in that she gets to ride, but can't go off by herself into traffic, plus you are not held up and stressed out worrying if she'll veer off into danger.

And YOU wear a helmet also. . .really. I see SO many parents who are not helmeted, but their kids are.
posted by Danf at 9:48 AM on May 15, 2009

A few pieces of advice from a daily rider with young'uns:

1. Check out the Trail Gator, (google is your friend). This can allow you to tow your little one up inclines or hills, and then unhook her for flats or down hills where she has enough strength to self propel. It can also allow you to extend the length of a ride.

2. When my son was this age, I'd generally tow a trailer for long rides and bungee his bike onto the trailer when he wanted to ride in the trailer, and let him ride independently when he wanted to be independent. After 30 miles of this, we would both be satisfyingly tired.

3. Seconding beniamino regarding the chin-strap. My son is now 5 and hasn't been pinched by the strap for years -- and in fact he now generally buckles his own helment. But when I buckle it for him he still tells me "don't pinch me"!

I commute by bicycle daily with my son, and I really cannot say enough good things about the Trail Gator for enabling flexibility.
posted by u2604ab at 9:51 AM on May 15, 2009

People, the kid is ONE. I really don't think Lester is putting his 12 month old daughter on her own bike.

Lots of good info here. This front-mounted seat comes well recommended. Better balance and you can more easily deal with your kid.

Both wear a helmet.
posted by barnone at 10:09 AM on May 15, 2009 [2 favorites]

A lesson that I learned a long time ago from watching one of my mom's friends flip over the handlebars: never ever ever have your kid hold anything for you while riding, especially a purse with a strap that might dangle unnoticed and get caught in the wheel.
posted by MsMolly at 10:42 AM on May 15, 2009

I just read about the WeeRide Kangaroo Carrier on CoolTools. It's a seat that mounts forward of the rider and gives the baby a better view and better access by the rider. (Other than reading about it, I don't know anything about it.)
posted by ShooBoo at 12:01 PM on May 15, 2009

Be prepared for her to fall asleep. My daughter would fall asleep from the motion, causing her to lean forward rather awkwardly against her seat-belt and my back.
posted by Toto_tot at 12:36 PM on May 15, 2009

For my kids, I put a squeaker horn on the kid seat so that they had an easy distraction. Both needed a couple rides to get used to the bike. We also prepped them wearing the helmet for a time not on the bike - this eliminates one (possibly) scary new thing from the equation. When they were comfortable with the helmet, we'd load them onto the seat and walk with the bike, honking the squeaker. This had to be repeated on a few separate days before the kids were used to it. Then it was pretty easy to take them out.
posted by plinth at 12:58 PM on May 15, 2009

Seconding beniamino's suggestion to never, ever, ever, ever pinch your child's throat with the buckle of their helmet. It took us weeks to get past that hurdle.

I eventually convinced my daughter that it's impossible for me to pinch her if she's holding her breath while I put on her helmet.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 1:30 PM on May 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

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