Last weekend, my youngest child learned to ride without the help of stabilisers (training wheels in the US)! I am so pleased as it is a really important milestone in my view marking the start of a lifetime of cycling, one way or another.
Now, current wisdom dictates that kids learn to ride much faster if they can ride a balance bike first (a bicycle without pedals that you sit on and push along with your feet) rather than learning to pedal and then having the grief of balancing (or not) when the stabilisers are removed! We bought a balance bike from friends a couple of years back but could never get the youngest to ride it. She'd tootled around on her bike for several months with stabilisers attached and resited all attempts to ride with them removed.
The other week, a friend's child came to play who had only ever riden a balance bike. Both my wife and I watched amazed as he picked up a "proper" bike and pedaled away with no problems and very little wobbling! He literally had it down on his first go!
Quick as a wink, I removed the crank from my daughter's bike and told her that if she wanted to ride it, it was as a balance bike or nothing. Tough love! Within a couple of days she was scooting along on it, clearly able to balance in motion with her feet off the floor. We took the plucge and refitted the crank.
Once again, I was stunned. With a minimal effort, she got on the bike, set it rolling and then pedaled away! As easy as that and she hasn't looked back since.
So my message to you is, if you have a youngster learning to ride a bike, don't go anywhere near a set of stabilisers! Get a balance bike (or take the crank out of a regular one) and leave them to it.
This week I shall mostly be a proud Dad! :-)