Saturday, 6 August 2011

At Lære At Cykle I Danmark!

(To Learn To Cycle in Denmark!)

I was drooling over a copy of Cyklernes By/Copenhagen City of Bikes the other day, it's a lovely book by Cecilia Vanman, with fantastic photographs by British Photographer Robin Maddock. It captures Copenhagen and its attachment to two-wheeled transport perfectly, and my bookshelf needs a copy before we leave!

Talking of two-wheeled transport, when she grows up, my 6 year old will now be able to tell her friends that she learned to ride a bike in one of the world's bike-riding capitals, thanks to her father's amazing teaching technique using a "balance implement" (a rolled up towel!), and lots of perseverance! It finally paid off, and she rode alone without stabilisers for the first time last weekend. Six is quite late to learn here, riding a bike is probably the next thing Danish children learn after walking, but we only have grass and gravel in our garden, so it's taken a while longer to get it sorted! She can now ride it quite confidently, and her little brother is champing at the bit to get started, just not on a pink bike!

Here are a few tips to get your child independently pedalling!: -
  1. Ideally the bike should be a little too small for them, this gives them more confidence as they are not too far from the ground;
  2. Get rid of the stabilisers as soon as possible. As soon as they have learned how to pedal and steer, the stabilisers have basically done their job;
  3. Use a rolled up towel and place it under both arms (as demonstrated!!), you can use this to guide your child and help give them confidence until they don't realise that you aren't holding them up with it any more;
  4. Book a chiropractor, you are going to need it;
  5. Stand back, and bathe in one of those special parenting milestones. Have tissues to hand!


  1. Lovely post. Well done to your little girl! We recently taught our Grandaughter to ride her bike without stabilisers. Great idea to use a rolled up towel! x

  2. Thank you Mama! It's a great feeling isn't it! :) xx

  3. The towel is a genius idea... have seen a bike harness in a well know kids catalogue for £25 to do the same thing... think when or if our boy decides he wants to get on his bike i will be grabbing a towel...

  4. Well done to your daughter! Pictures are great and when I told my son he got super excited to give it a try ; ) Thanks for the tips. It does seem like the children here go straight from the pram to riding a bike on their own!!

  5. @Frankie Parker. £25!!! It only took around half an hour for her to learn with a towel. I would be seriously annoyed if I paid £25 for five minutes use! Emma :)

    @Kitty - thank you! They certainly do. I think that's when she saw a toddler cycling along by themselves in Copenhagen, it kind of spurred her on! Good luck to your son, let me know if it works!!

  6. this is one tip i'm definitely going to use for my daughter, and soon. we live in the most bike-infested city in the UK, and my neighbour's 4-year old whizzes around like an absolute pro, sans stablizers!
    loved this post, emma. and the last photograph is timed to perfection :)

  7. Thanks so much Pia, good luck with it! Glad you like the last photo, I was very lucky :)

  8. Well done! The towel idea is very clever Funky Monkey can now pedal and steer so I suppose its time for those stabilsers to come off!

  9. We did it by holding the seat at the back, but a towel would give you another 6 inches of back saving!! it is a fun thing to teach them to do, child and parent tears (of frustration, pain and joy) included

  10. Yay, well done to your daughter and great you got it all on photo, we have balance bikes at the moment and the girls have really got the hang of them so hoping to skip the stabiliser bit only thing they will have to learn to pedal as the balance bikes don't have pedals

  11. Well done she has done great,i'm now going to use these tip for my daughter thanks :)

  12. @Windmill Tales - Thank you! If you think she's ready then why not? You can always put them back on again if not! :)

    @kellogsville - thank you! My back is very pleased that my husband devoted himself to this job! :)

    @Mari's World - the balance bikes are also big here, I think they really help them :)

    @Clairejustine - thank you, and good luck! Let me know how she gets on! :)

  13. Brilliant! Its such a confidence boost for them isn't it! Love the tea towel too! xx

  14. Thanks Emma! Looking forward to checking out your new site properly! xx


I love your comments - thank you :)

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