We’ve spent a lot of time this spring gearing up for a summer of biking. We bought two new bikes for our oldest girls, and a new helmet for Jade. We’ve fixed up the old bikes and rearranged the storage room to fit everything in. And I registered the girls for a week of Pedalheads bike camps.
I’m particularly excited to see what Jade, age 4, learns during her summer bike camp. At the end of last year, she was doing her best to keep up with her sisters on her runner bike. Any time we went out, whether we were walking to church or to drop Sunshine off at dance class, Jade wanted to ride her bike. I was amazed at how fast she could “run” on her bike, and at how well she balanced when she found a good, long downhill section.
This spring, she’s been alternating between her runner bike and her “pedaler” bike (a slightly larger bike with training wheels). In watching my girls learn to ride their bikes over the past several years, I’ve realized just how complicated this feat is. The child must figure out how to steer, pedal, balance, and stop—all at the same time. It’s a lot to figure out, which is why Lily only started riding a two-wheeler last year, at age 6.
I’m hoping that the Pedalheads bike camp will give Jade a boost of skills and confidence so that she can leave behind her training wheels this year. We’ve heard great things about Pedalheads bike camps from friends of ours. The camps are happening all around the city, so it’s easy to find a location near you. I was impressed that I was able to get all three of my older girls into classes at the same time at the same location. Sometimes coordinating classes for three kids at different ages and levels is a headache, but Pedalheads made it easy for this taxi mom.
In watching Sunshine, Jade and Lily learn how to ride, I’ve noticed three things are helpful for the skills to click. They need the right place to ride, a supportive peer group (or reason to ride), and the confidence and trust to pick up their feet and go.
The Right Place to Ride
When Sunshine was learning to ride, we lived in university family housing. There were plenty of sidewalks to ride with few or small hills. When Lily was learning to ride, we lived on the side of a big hill. There wasn’t much space to ride, unless we took all the girls’ bikes somewhere else. Now that Jade is learning to ride, we are once again in a flat, bike-friendly neighbourhood (with lots of places that we walk to, so she can ride lots).
Many of the Pedalheads bike camps happen in school parking lots—big, flat spaces where kids can practice their skills without fear. The girls have enjoyed checking out the Pedalheads bike courses at the Healthy Family Expo. I’m looking forward to seeing the courses set up for each of them at their bike camps this summer.
A Supportive Peer Group to Encourage Riding
When Sunshine was learning to ride, all her friends were little boys who were into anything with wheels. Her preschool also had outdoor biking and triking time at the start of each class. She had plenty of opportunity to ride with a group of friends, where her attempts to keep up with them helped her to worry less about the actual mechanics of what she was doing. Lily’s preschool didn’t have bikes, and she’s had fewer friends who like to ride bikes. Now that Jade is learning to ride, it’s mostly because her big sisters are on bikes and she wants to do whatever they are doing.
I think the Pedalheads bike camps will be great for all three girls because, once again, they’ll be in peer groups on bikes. Sunshine, my social butterfly, thrives in environments like this. Each of them will be riding with other kids who are about their skill levels on bikes. They’ll be able to have fun together and make friends, while also improving their cycling skills.
Confidence and Trust in Their Abilities
As a parent and a homeschool mom, I can often see that my girls can do something when they insist they can’t. It’s frustrating to know that they have the physical or mental ability to do something, if only they’d stop telling themselves that they don’t. I knew both Sunshine and Lily were ready to ride on their own long before they trusted themselves to actually do it. They both learn differently, though, so I’ve had to simply keep encouraging and providing opportunities to practice until they realize they are capable of it.
Sometimes, another teacher is more effective in helping them achieve this confidence and trust than I am. They hear it from me so often that they stop listening to it. When someone else tells them this, somehow they perk up and listen. Whether they are at gymnastics or swim lessons or bike camps, my girls tend to look up to their teachers and tell me everything their teachers told them. So I’m looking forward to seeing how the Pedalheads instructors are able to instill this confidence and trust in my young cyclists.
Register now for Pedalheads bike camps!
Drop by the website to find a Pedalheads bike camp near you and register your child. Camps are filling up quickly, so don’t delay! There are half-day and full-day camps available all summer for children ages 4 to 12, as well as private instruction and combo camps. Pedalheads combines great instructors with small class sizes for a fun-filled learning experience for your child.
Browse the class levels to see what your child can learn or what skills they can build upon. Jade is doing Newbees and I’m hoping she learns to ride without training wheels by the end of her camp. Lily is doing Level 3 because she needs to work on shoulder checking and signalling (right now she’s nervous about taking a hand off her handlebars while riding). Sunshine will be in Level 4, as I want her to learn some road skills to give us more options about where we can ride.
I’ll be updating this post as the girls do their Pedalheads bike camps, so stay tuned to find out what they learn this summer! If your children have completed a Pedalheads class, feel free to share their experience in the comments.
When did your children learn to ride a two-wheeler? Have any of your kids done a bike class?
I received a complimentary half-day bike camp in exchange for this post; all opinions expressed are my own.