What Are Training Wheels Used For?
We love biking. And as bike lovers, we want to transmit our passion to our little ones. There are several ways of doing so, and as we know (because we’ve been there too!), the first obstacle to beat is the fear of falling.
That is where our two little friends come into action. Training wheels are a pair of extra wheels that are attached to the rear wheel of a bike, to prevent the new learner from falling.
For safety reasons, they are set a little bit higher than the rear wheel, causing the biker to sway from one side to the other. This is done because, should three rear wheels (the main rear wheel of the bike, plus the training wheels attached to it) touch the ground at the same time, the weight would be shared, and the main rear wheel would lose traction and braking power.
This video by Travis of Mad Dog Cycles shows you how to put training wheels on a bike:
Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Training Wheels
Training wheels are used to prevent new bikers from falling. However, is this method an excellent way to teach them how to ride a bike? Being a good idea to make children lose their fear of getting hurt by falling, they may become too confident on them to rely on the “safety net.”
As they ride, they know that balancing to either side is not a problem, for their training wheels will save them. Thus, while training wheels help kids to learn how to pedal, they don’t teach them how to balance. Once you remove the training wheels, they will surely have a fall.
The aim of young bikers should be to develop the ability to pedal and maintain balance speed. Balance speed is the speed required to reduce the effort for balancing. At this stage, training wheels should be removed to assess their skills.
Should You Put Training Wheels on Bikes With Gears?
Here we are presented with not one, but two questions: Firstly, can you put training wheels on a bike with gears?
The answer is yes, you can. There are different types of training wheels for different types of bikes. Training wheels come in varying axle height ranges. Further, some training wheels come attached to the frame to reduce interference with derailleurs.
Secondly, there is a much more complicated situation: should you put training wheels on bikes with gears?
Here, you should take into account the learning order. Learning is a process that takes time, dedication, and discipline. Beginner bikers may find it overwhelming to learn to work the gears and balance simultaneously.
The same way you can’t expect learners to know how to pedal or to maintain balance, there is no way they will be aware of what gear they are in, or when to shift gears.
We do not recommend teaching children to ride a bike with gears before they master the art of balancing without training wheels. Therefore, we do not think it is wise to put training wheels on bikes with gears.