Seriously, remove your child's training wheels, they are hindering the process of learning to ride a bicycle. Riding a bicycle consists of a few basic principles:
  • pedaling
  • steering
  • balancing
  • stopping

The most important of these principles is balancing and the least important is pedaling and with training wheels on a bike, a child only learns how to pedal ( and a few really bad habits).

It's all about balance. Without balance, a cyclist will fall over and won't have time to pedal, or steer, or stop. Unfortunately, when using training wheels, balance is never learned until after the training wheels are removed. If one learns balance first, everything elses will be a lot easier to learn.

Steering isn't learned when using training wheels? That's right. turning a bicycle left and right, especially at higher speeds, requires a cyclist to lean into turns. Since training wheels prohibit leaning over, a child will not learn how to properly navigate a bicycle.

Stop! The bike was moving and now it is not. What is the first thing a new rider should do? Put their feet on the ground. Because training wheels prohibit a bike from leaning over, one doesn't learn the importance of putting their feet on the ground when a bike is stopped and instead learns the bad habit of keeping their feet on the pedals.

A dandy horse doesn't need training wheels; teach the dandy horse method.

By removing training wheels from a bike, a new rider will need to learn to use their own legs to keep from falling over and at the same time they will learn how to balance on a bike. For propulsion, the child can simply run while seated on a bike. I shouldn't have to say it, but I will for safety sake: avoid hills when teaching a child to ride in this manner.

Happy Riding.
2009-05-22 Anonymous:
All so very true Mr. Obvious, but incomplete. A bike can be terrifying to a child, preventing them from wanting to learn. I believe the training wheels make the bike less intimidating to their short legs, lack of patience and underdeveloped muscle coordination. Once these obstacles are overcome the child normally wants the training wheels off, naturally moving to the steps you've outlined.
2009-05-22 jezra:
Anonymous, if the child can't put both heels on the ground while sitting on the bike, then the bike is too big. Short legs mean that the child needs a very small bike.
2010-03-05 Luc:
I've recently seen something that looks like a great alternative to training wheels. Seems to be the best of both worlds, although I can't speal from personal experience: http://www.cleverandeasy.com/Simply-Original/teach-kids-how-to-ride-a-bike-using-gyroscopic-wheels.html
2010-03-05 jezra:
The great alternative to training wheels is *no* training wheels. Anything that tries to augment the rider's balance should be avoided, since it is balance that is the most important part of riding a bicycle.
2010-07-02 Yasmin YasYas:
2 wheel are for girls and trianing wheel ore for boys
2010-07-03 Jezra:
What does that even mean?
2012-04-13 Char:
Erm yeah, I don't get why you'd say that Yasmin?...
Anyway, I need some help I think.
Agree with all the above re training wheels - but unfortunately my daughter has them! In brief, she's 3 but fairly tall and certainly very physical and able... (she zips about at pace with good lean steering on her mini-micro scooter since before age 2 etc)
Anyway, we were in the bike shop where I was thinking a balance bike, but she immediately showed interest instead in the pedal bike (with training wheels) and hopped on and rode it round the store, pedalling steering stopping and all...and from this the salesperson told us that we'd missed her window for the balance bike....and so proud as punch her dad there and then bought her the purple pedal bike...which she loves!
So, now thing is she loves riding it, even going quite fast but I am nervous as anything as she has had a fall going round a corner; I think probably she turned too sharply while upright and the bike fell over (outwards)...and I've seen a couple of more nearly falls when at speed she's taken a curve and I've seen some leans (inwards) where the bike looks like it nearly tripped itself over its training wheel!...
What am I to do... tell her to go slowly, especially in the turns? Or go back and purchase a balance bike and lay down the law insisting she use it instead? (of the nice purple one..) Or try and get the pedals off the purple one? (not even sure this is possible given the back-pedal braking set up there also?)...
I just don't know where to go with this now. Please help. I certainly don't want to cramp her natural ability to learn! What do I do?
(and sorry for not being so brief in the and after all).
2012-04-13 jezra:
take off the training wheels
take off the pedals
lower the seat until she can place both of her feet flat on the ground with her knees slightly bent.

There is no need to purchase anything
2012-04-16 Char:

Happens someone has now lent us a FIrstBike...which she is enjoying playing on and coasting about a little even, so yes I reckon it won't be long at all until I move to what you recommend, and then in due course give her the pedals back:
btw any guidance on when to be sure that a child has reached the stage when they're ready for the pedals?...
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