Home < Activities < Skills 2 Ride: Pedals

Getting set up and ready to go

Setting up your bike

Setting the seat and handlebar height is important to get your child in the best position for riding. On most bikes you can adjust the height of the seat and the handlebars. You may need some tools for this – either an allen key or spanner. The handlebars should be set at a height that allows your child to be in full control; just above belly button height when sitting on the saddle is a good guide. If the handlebars are too high or too close to the body then it makes turning and balancing much harder to master. When your child is learning to pedal, they may need the seat a little higher. They should only be able to place the balls of their feet on the ground, not the whole foot. If the seat is too low there won’t be enough room for your child’s legs to spin round and it is then really difficult to push hard on the pedals.

Pedal bike check

Things to check before you ride:

  • The tyres are firm and full of air.
  • The front and back brakes work and stop the bike from moving.
  • The handlebars don’t wobble.
  • The pedals and the bits they screw into, called the cranks, are not wobbly.
  • The bike seat is not moving at all and is done up tightly.
  • Turn the chain round backwards by turning a pedal to make sure it turns smoothly.

If your bike needs a bit of fixing, a family member may be able to help. If not, there are friendly mechanics working in bike shops.

Getting on and off a bike

  • Hold the bike handlebars from the side, squeezing the brakes (if the bike has brakes).
  • Lean the bike slightly towards your body and lift your leg nearest the bike.
  • Bend your standing leg slightly while your other leg is lifted and swing it over the back of the bike seat to reach the other side
  • Hold the handlebars and squeeze the brakes (if the bike has brakes).
  • Place both feet flat on the floor and stand up.
  • Bend one leg slightly and lean the bike slightly towards the bent leg.
  • Lift your other leg, swinging it over the back of the bike and bike seat to reach the other side.
  • Practise this several times to build confidence

You can make it into a fun game by playing musical bikes together, getting on and off the bike as the music stops. Try getting on and off on both sides!

Knowing when a child is ready to try a pedal bike | Let’s get pedalling!