I am now 100 percent sold on the glide bike method of learning to pedal a 2-wheeler. Too bad it took me until the third child to get here.
Here’s how it went down:
1) We took the pedals off 5-year-old Toth’s bike and let him ride it around as a glide bike. At first he fell down a lot and went really slow, but after only a few days he was getting good glides going and moving faster than I could easily walk.
2) Less than two weeks later, my husband put the pedals back on. I was annoyed, because I thought Toth wasn’t ready, but apparently Toth had asked for it. We had promised that the first place we would ride as a family once he learned was the ice cream parlor, and he was getting anxious to go.
3) Toth climbed on the bike and pushed off, glided, and then started pedaling. Just short spurts at first, but by the end of the ride he was doing whole blocks. We all rode our bikes to the ice cream shop.
4) In the ensuing days, he became more confident and pedaled more and more. He is still working on the whole “pedal backward to brake” thing.
The kid who would not go near his two-wheeler a few weeks ago, and only wanted to ride his Big Wheel, is now requesting to get his bike out of the garage for two-block trips to the park or school. I’m calling this a success!
It’s not that we didn’t know about glide bikes for our daughters. In fact, Fisher Price actually gave me a glide bike to review back when our now-10-year-old was learning. The problem was, our girls stubbornly refused to ride the glide bike. When I first received it, then-4-year-old Nutmeg already had a bike with training wheels, and the glide bike felt like a lot more work for her. Pebbles, too, was given a bike with training wheels at a young age, as a Christmas gift, and she wanted nothing to do with the glide bike. I even tried to get Toth interested in that same glide bike, but since it was pink, he was even less willing to touch it than his sisters had been.
With Toth, though, I just put my foot down and pushed against his resistance. We found his little bike on the curb two years ago, when he was 3, and it had no pedals or training wheels on it at the time. It was perfect. Unfortunately Erik caved to his request for pedals and training wheels, but I insisted he take them off again. I just stood firm and waited, and occasionally suggested that Toth try his bike. One day, with a little bribery (the ice cream parlor visit), he decided he was ready.