Learning To Ride a Bike

While some kids may be content sitting for an hour or more, others won’t last much longer than 20 to 30 minutes, Gardner warns. So plan on taking short rides at fi rst and see how your toddler fares.

To help keep him entertained, choose a route that offers lots of interesting sights and sounds, suggests Nicky Elsbree, who rides with her 2-year-old son, Clayton, several times a week during the summer. But avoid motor traffic. Head to a park, bike path or quiet country road. If you’re using a bike trailer, Elsbree also recommends packing some toys, drinks and snacks.

If you’re using a mounted child seat, however, your toddler shouldn’t be allowed to carry anything, because a dropped object could get caught in the spokes, potentially causing a crash. If your little one gets antsy, you can always stop and take a break, Elsbree notes.

By your child’s third or fourth birthday, she should be ready—and anxious—to try pedaling herself, says Andrew Gregory, M.D., an assistant professor of orthopedics and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. If your toddler is under age 2, start with a push or scooter trike, a pedal-less tricycle that you can push or she can “walk” forward with her feet.