Remember when your parents ran behind you holding on to your seat to teach you how to ride a bike? Well, that old school way is no more! The new theory for bike riding instruction is to learn balance with NO pedals – then add pedals to ride safely. If this sounds too complicated OR your child ends up in tears after every bike riding lesson, you can leave the instruction to the kid-friendly professionals. REI Atlanta provided a complimentary group class instruction (value: $55 for non-members) to share my honest opinion with parents who tune in to the show. Keep reading for links to sign up for how to ride a bike classes and what you need to know before, during and after the class! Ask questions below in the comments and I’ll answer them.
How to Ride a Bike Classes
Before the Bike Riding Class
Register: Visit the registration page for REI outdoor cycling classes, type in your location and proximity. Classes for kids and adults are held within proximity to its 36 stores across the country. REI Membership provides discounts on classes, dividends, exclusive offers and bonuses for spending.
Required: Bring your own bike, proper clothing, helmet, water and sun protection. Remove pedals and training wheels, if possible. (We didn’t have the proper wrench at home to remove the pedals, so instructors removed it for us.)
Class size: 8 (for beginners class)
Directions to class: REI hosts how to ride a bike classes in the parking lots of area parks and schools. Directions and location are on each registration page. Our group class for beginners was at 7:30 a.m. on a Thursday at Brook Run Park in Dunwoody. Traffic wasn’t an issue and the cool morning class was a relief.
Read: The gear list (see photo above), forms, policies and liability policy are on the REI registration page.
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During the Class
Greet instructors: Tell the instructors anything a teacher or coach would need to know about instructing your child like learning differences, disabilities or personality traits. Our instructors were Clay and Heather and they were fantastic!
Listen to the terms instructor use: Heather started by teaching the kids the best ways to get on and off their bike to prevent falls. She also emphasized laying down a bike with the belt facing up to “to the sky.” Since our class only had two attendees and two instructors it was a lot like a private lesson. Heather worked with the other student and Clay worked with A.J. to coast without pedals, coast longer and touch the pedals, then finally master pedaling. Along they way, they used terms like frog and bunny hops to describe how they would lift their legs while coasting.
Take photos and videos: Keep your cameras and phones handy to capture this glorious milestone your child is reaching. Of course, I created a video look at the step-by-step instruction Clay provided A.J. although I was holding my breath for three quarters of the class because I knew he was going to fall. He did. But he got back up each time!
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Video: REI’s How To Ride A Bike for Kids
After the Bike Riding Class
Rest: Allow your children to rest for a bit before they go back to riding. We did not ride again that day. We went swimming and played basketball to mix up the day.
Update any equipment needs. For example, A.J. needs a bigger helmut. We borrowed one from REI during the class that was a better fit.
Sign up for a private lesson: Although we took a group lesson, private lessons are offered at REI. The instructors said many parents start by enrolling their children in a group lesson, then a private lesson as a refresher.
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Comment below: What questions do you have about REI’s classes for kids to learn to ride a bike?