Clancy Briggs Balance Bike Classes
On Saturday 1st August we welcomed back our BALANCE class riders at the Doncaster Cycle Track. It was wonderful to see all their smiling happy faces. We’ve now opened more slots on this popular class due to increased demand.
Perhaps you’re thinking about signing your little one up, but you’re not sure how the classes work or what’s involved. Don’t worry, read on to find out everything you need to know about our BALANCE bike classes.
Who is the class suitable for?
Our BALANCE bike class is suitable for any child from age 18 months upwards with a cut off age of 7. For children aged 7 or older still using stabilisers, we have an alternative LEARN class to get them ready for pedalling.
Why should you learn to cycle on a balance bike first?
Balance bikes simplify what small children have to think about. When first learning, there are two main things to learn - balancing with the ability to steer and the pedalling action.
By starting to ride a balance bike first, we remove half of what they have to think about initially.
Once they’ve developed balance, it’s easier to stick some pedals on and teach them the pedalling motion and how to stop.
Why is Clancy Briggs the right academy for my child?
Riding a bike should be fun, so learning to ride has to be fun too!
As Clancy Briggs Coach, Ali Slater explains:
“We try to encourage the kids to enjoy themselves, creating a fun environment so that each group is its own little team. That sets Clancy Briggs apart. I think there’s no better way to help the kids learn to ride than getting them involved in a group with kids the same age doing the same thing. It’s really good in a group setting for the kids to see a visual example of other children demonstrating what to do.”
Does my child need his/her own bike?
Under normal circumstances we have both bikes and helmets available for any child to use with a small non-profit hire charge of £3 per session, just to cover wear and tear. Due to the Covid-19 safety regulations, we aren’t currently able to offer helmet hire, but we can still provide bikes if necessary.
You can read more about our Covid-19 safety procedures here.
What happens when you first come along?
When a child first comes to class, we make sure they have a bike without pedals to ride on.
If you have a specific balance bike that’s great, or you can just bring along a normal bike with pedals and we’ll take the pedals off for the duration of the session.
Initially we work on teaching our riders the basics, such as how to pick the bike up and get on it properly.
What happens during the lessons?
We split the lesson into a few different activities for the younger kids. One activity is always off the bike to work on gross motor skills and their balance in general. We then teach them how the off the bike activity applies to being on the bike. It’s all about developing their dynamic balance.
Ali Slater says it’s a really social experience:
“The children always make friends, even the really little ones. You can see when someone starts doing well and goes fast the others are spurred on and they all chase around to catch up, so there’s definitely an element of interaction. We encourage that all the way through, especially the off the bike stuff when we encourage teamwork”.
Do parents get involved in the lesson?
We encourage parents to be involved and help initially when we first get the kids going. Once the class group has progressed and the kids are comfortably gliding (lifting feet off floor) the parents can relax a bit!
It’s important for parents to get involved with those initial first wobbles to encourage the children along.
When will my child move up to the next class with pedals?
It really depends on how much interaction a child has had on a bike before coming to the academy. Some will be scooting around and they’ll learn within 2 or 3 sessions, but much more typical is to see improvement over 6-8 sessions.
It’s different for every child but by the end of their BALANCE experience, they will be pedalling.
Ali explains more:
“The aim is to get them to the stage where their pedals are on and they’ve had a full session just comfortably pedalling around the track. We want them to be in a place where they’ll slot right into a PEDAL class on a pedal bike after graduating with their ‘medals for pedals’ award.”
Is it necessary to practice between classes?
The fun part of riding along on a balance bike is the gliding and picking up speed. Anything that you can do to encourage them to practice and keep moving between sessions is good so that they’ll experience this more quickly.
Practice will speed up your child’s improvement in developing those basic skills and will help them to stay interested and active.