Teaching Your Child with Special Needs How to Ride a Bike

little girl on bike

The Basics

Learning to ride a bike involves three basic skills; steering, pedaling and balancing. Of the three, balancing is the most difficult skill to master.

Balance Bikes

Q: Are they Really Necessary?

A: No! They are a waste of money.  A balance bike is simply a bike that has no pedals.  The rider sits on the seat with both feet on the ground with their knees slightly bent and uses their feet to scoot around.  This allows them to practice steering and balancing.

The concept is solid, but eventually your child will need to have a bicycle with pedals, so that they can learn to um…pedal! Therefore, it makes more sense to simply remove the pedals from their existing bike.  Don’t let the hype fool you.  There is no reason to purchase a balance bike.   To remove the pedals from your child’s bike follow these steps.

Adaptive Training Wheels

Q: Will my child learn how to balance if they have training wheels?

A: Yes! If used correctly adaptive training wheels such as FATWHEELS are an excellent tool for teaching balance.  Start by keeping the FATWHEELS adjusted to their lowest position.  The wheels will be touching the ground and will provide your rider with a secure experience while they practice steering, pedaling and become comfortable with the idea of riding a bike. Once you feel that they’re ready, adjust the FATWHEELS up off the ground, so that they can learn trunk control and balance skills.

If your child has a condition that makes it impossible for them to maintain balance, FATWHEELS can be left in the lowest position.   With both wheels firmly on the ground, they will have maximum stability while they enjoy the fun and freedom of biking.

It is as simple as that.  Don’t feel pressured by trends in the marketplace that are often fueled by companies trying to sell you their products.  Remember: the BEST option for you and your child when it comes to cycling is one that actually gets your child out on their bike.

Please comment here and let me know what equipment and methods have worked for you and your rider. I would love to hear your feedback. Together, we can make sure that EVERYBODY can ride!

Until next time,


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