How to Get Your Kid Hooked on Biking for Life

You dream of getting your kid hooked on the two-wheeled lifestyle, but where do you start? For kids, things that adults find fun — like biking, playing an instrument, and reading — can seem like chores if they’re framed the wrong way. 

Here are some tips for how to make your kid want to ride — as opposed to making it feel like an obligation:

Don’t Do the “I Won’t Let Go!” Trick

The old-fashioned method went something like this:

  1. One day, the training wheels come off.
  2. You hop on the bike.
  3. Your dad, wide-eyed with visions of your prodigy, holds your shoulders and tells you to start pedaling.
  4. “I won’t let go!” he cries.
  5. He lets go.
  6. And suddenly, you are weightless, as untethered as the spacewalking astronaut, and look back to see your dad a million feet behind you, chanting in euphoric expectation. 
  7. You crash. Hard.

Sorry 1980s, but your method has been improved upon. 

Get your kid started in a safe place on a balance bike. If they’re too old for a balance bike, simply take the pedals off their regular bike when they’re starting to learn. Biking is all about muscle memory — no kid is going to magically “get it.” Have them pick their feet up off the ground and coast. When they can go fairly long distances without touching the ground, they’re ready for pedals.

Make It Fun

With rare exceptions, kids are not into highly disciplined practice sessions or repetitive training. To make them want something, make it fun.

That means going for low-key, fun rides around the neighborhood. It means making games out of things — games like Follow the Leader, etc. It means imparting skills and advice without lecturing. 

If your kid starts showing interest in a particular type of biking, explore it with them. Maybe you’ve got a future road biker or cross-country aficionado in the making.

Get Them a Nice Bike

Yeah, we sell bikes, but trust us when we say this: a shoddy bike isn’t fun to ride, and no fun = no passion for biking. 

Our little kids’ bikes include 12” selections like the Specialized Riprock 12 Coaster, with wide, stable 2.3” tires and an intuitive coaster brake. Kids aged 3 to 6 will love 16” selections like the Public Sprout, which sports a classic aesthetic with no cables and matching fenders.

Upgrade When They Outgrow Their Bike

With our Growth Spurt Guarantee, when your kid outgrows their bike, you can bring it in within two years of purchase and get 50% of its value to put toward the next bike. 

Keep in mind that different bikes are generally suited for different age groups:

When they start to look cramped on their bike, it’s time to take advantage of the Growth Spurt Guarantee and get that next size.

About Mike’s Bikes: Mike’s Bikes is a growing family of local bike shops, all with a singular purpose - to get as many people on bikes as possible. We locally own and operate twelve wildly successful stores in Northern California. In addition to our brick-and-mortar shops, is one of the top online bicycle retail s