Learning to Ride a Bike

Advice to help teach your child how to ride their bike.

Learning to Ride a Bike

Learning to ride a bike is a complex task involving balance, motor skills and visual skills. There are lots of community resources that can help you teach your child how to ride their bike. It can be helpful to start with a balance bike.

If your child continues to find this challenging check our strategies for learning to ride a bike. This technique takes time, but the idea is that your child gets a sense of achievement from mastering each step one at a time. 


General Advice

  • Always follow general bike safety rules when teaching your child how to ride e.g. practising in a quiet area, wearing a helmet, bike reflectors etc.
  • Ensure your child has totally mastered one step before moving onto the next.
  • Grass is not good as it is too soft and makes pushing harder.
  • Getting good cycling weather will impact on how long it takes your child to learn to ride!
  • Take time to help the child practice and reinforce the skills. 

You will need:  

  • A bike
  • A helmet
  • A shifting spanner

1.   Lower the seat so the child can sit comfortably with both feet flat on the ground.

2.   Remove both pedals.

3.   Using a flat surface in a safe area e.g. a playground or quiet car park, get your child to propel themselves forward using a walking movement with their feet.

4.   Tell them to keep their arms fairly rigid and to look where they are going.

5.   When your child has mastered steps 3 and 4, get them to propel themselves forward using both feet at the same time (whooshing along like a skier!)

6.   When the child is competent, practice on a safe hill or a slope in a park.  As they achieve, gradually increase the distance the child goes down the slope.  Encourage them to rest their feet on the frame of the bike.

7.   Get your child to practice stopping the bike by braking and putting their feet down at the same time.

8.   When the child is freewheeling down the slope and stopping in a controlled manner, put the pedals back on.

9.   Repeat steps 6 and 7, with the child resting their feet on the pedals this time.

10.  Introduce the pedalling action.  If the child has difficulty with moving one foot then the other (reciprocal movement), try taking the pedals off and repeat step 5, but moving one foot then the other rather than both together.

It is also helpful to note groups run in your local community which can support you to achieve independent bike riding with your child:  


Community Resources

Bike for Good refurbish, repair and teach communities how to maintain bicycles; once you have the skills a bike is for good. They use the bike to do good actions, improve the environment, teach skills and improve mental and physical health.


Bike for Good Glasgow West
65 Haugh Road
G3 8TX
Tel: 0141 248 5409


Bike for Good Glasgow South
539 Victoria Road /  Langside Lane
G42 8BH
Tel: 0141 261 1609

@BikeforGoodGla    @BikeforGoodGla



Free Wheel North is a cycling development charity working towards creating a fairer, healthier society by enabling people of all ages and abilities to cycle as part of their everyday life.

Glasgow Green Cycle Centre
Templeton Street
Glasgow City Centre
G40 1AT
Tel: 0141 551 8869
@FreeWheelNorth    @freewheel_north



Drumchapel Cycle Hub are a volunteer-led community project supported by the Drumchapel Sports Hub and a community cycling club affiliated with Cycling UK.

Drumchapel Sports Centre
195b Drumry Road East
G15 8NS
Tel: 07794935547

@drumchapelcyclehub    @drum_cycle



Play Together on Pedals encourages pre-school children and their families to become active, enjoying the fun and freedom of cycling together.

Development Officer Marianne Emordy works for Cycling UK
Email [email protected]
Mobile: 07887567578

@playtogetheronpedals    @PlayOnPedals