When I was 6-years-old, my parents took me to a local bike shop to purchase my first bicycle. We didn’t have a lot of money–hardly any–but for some reason, my father wanted me to have any bike I wanted. My choice was a red Mongoose BMX. My mother tried to persuade me to get a pink Huffy, but I wanted nothing but that cool Mongoose.
We headed over to Pershing Field Park on Central Avenue in Jersey City so I could learn how to ride. My mother held onto the the seat and told me she wouldn’t let go. After only a few times around the track, I got the hang of it and soon I realized my mother was on the other side of the track and I was riding a bike all by myself. I then fell over and scraped my knee up pretty badly. But, I knew how to ride and never looked back.
It’s not so easy for most kids to learn how to ride without training wheels though. After recently taking off my 6-year-old’s training wheels, we discovered a couple of things: It wasn’t going to be so easy and the bike we bought her last year was too big.
That’s when my husband did some research and found out about this great event in NYC sponsored by Bike New York. The organization’s mission is “to promote and encourage bicycling and bicycle safety through education, public events, and collaboration with community and government organizations.” It’s NYC’s version of Bike & Walk Montclair.
Yesterday, Bike New York offered its Learn to Ride–Kids class in Manhattan. Armed with a smaller-sized bike (borrowed from a friend), a 6-year-old and her helmet, my husband drove into the city for the class.
Bike New York teaches kids to ride by using the “balance first” method, which is basically teaching a child to balance before she learns to pedal. When my daughter arrived at the class, the teachers removed her pedals and explained the method to her. She spent the next 20 minutes walking and gliding with her bike until the teachers saw she was ready to put her pedals back on. They were replaced and she started riding her bike like an old pro. Well…not exactly, but she now has the skills and just has to perfect them. See her riding in the video below.
There are several more free Bike New York classes being offered this summer. If you can’t, or don’t want to, schlep into the city, they offer an instructional video here.
Bike New York’s Learn to Ride–Kids class
Who: Kids ready to take off their training wheels. (Recommended for kids 5 and older)
What: A free class offered by Bike New York teaching kids to ride a bike.
Where: Various places in NYC Check here for details.
When: Throughout the summer.