For children developing their balance and coordination skills, learning to ride a bike is considered an important milestone. Not only does riding a bike help improve coordination and balance, it helps strengthen leg muscles, bones, stamina and cardiovascular development.
Once upon a time, riding a bike was a child’s rite of passage. But gone are the days when kids spend most of their time outdoors. These days computers, smartphones, television shows and video games are a dominant source of a sedentary lifestyle, leading to a rise in childhood obesity. Around 12% of school-age children in Singapore are obese, and this number continues to rise.
Keep your child healthy and active by teaching them to ride a bike early. Here are some of the best places to do it in Singapore.
Spanning 250 acres in Marina Bay in central Singapore, Gardens by the Bay is an obvious choice for teaching a child to ride a bike. Filled with impressive greenery, three waterfront gardens and a canopy of artificial trees 50-metres tall, it’s more than just an inner-city park.
East Coast Park offers 185 hectares running along the eastern coast of Singapore all the way up to Changi Village. It’s a popular place for those seeking beaches, food, greenery and a great cycle track. Being seaside, the track offers a lovely breeze to take the edge off a humid ride, and there are plenty of beautiful places to stop and rest.
Bedok Reservoir Park has an easy circuit where you’ll never find yourself more than 2.3km from the park entrance, as well as both flat surfaces and pebbled paths. This makes it perfect for teaching your child how to ride, with an added bonus of a cool breeze blowing across the reservoir.
The tranquil beach setting of Pasir Ris Park has over 7km of well-maintained track and excellent bicycle rental facilities if you don’t have your own set of wheels. There’s ample shade offered by the ancient trees and a mangrove forest for exploring nature. The designated bike paths have minimal slopes, humps and bumps, making them ideal for building new-rider confidence.
Calm and peaceful in the early morning, Lower Seletar Reservoir Park is a pleasant place for teaching kids to ride their bikes. Once the pathways get busy, you can swap out learning to ride for the fun water play area. If you want to keep riding, you can push away from the crowds at Yishun and follow the Park Connector route through the heartlands of Woodlands to Admiralty Park.
Choa Chu Kang Park is located in north-western Singapore and has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy. Why not head off down the Pang Sua Park Connector and pop into the two butterfly gardens along the way? With broad tarmac pathways, it’s ideal for a leisurely ride.
Robertson Quay is a buzzing hub of family activity with family-friendly restaurants, a village-style square and plenty of wide, paved spaces for learning how to ride a bike. Ride along the tree-lined river shore and criss-cross over the many unique and zany Robertson Quay bridges. Alternatively, you could roll out of Alexandra Linear Park to enjoy the Ulu Pandan Park Connector.
The right location really is key to making learning to ride a bike an enjoyable experience. Look for a park or field with a gentle grassy slope that’s about 50 metres long. It shouldn’t have any significant obstacles such as bumps, rocks or trees. The grass should be smooth and soft and not too tall.
If choosing a bike path, look for a wide, flat path that doesn’t have too many twists and turns. Short tracks that are less than 4km long are ideal for little legs, as you don’t want to push your child too far on their first try.
Keep it exciting and fun for your child and remember: NO PRESSURE.
Before you leave your house, take the training wheels off the bike and lower the seat so that your child can sit with their feet touching the ground. You’ll also need to make sure your child’s injury-proof and feels comfortable while riding, so always use a helmet and consider giving them pads for their knees and elbows.
Learning how to ride involves you teaching your child how to balance, pedal, steer and brake – all of which are essential skills. This is a lot to learn at once, so you may find yourself and your child becoming exhausted as you both struggle.
Instead of trying to teach all of these skills at once, you should teach your child each skill one at a time. If you do it this way, your child will be more comfortable and will likely learn much faster, giving you more time to praise and encourage.
It’s important to remember that every child is different. How fast your child will learn depends on their coordination level and personality. Get frustrated and you’ll quickly turn them off what should be a fun activity for all.