Teach Your Kids How to Ride a Wheelie
This article is going to share with you one of the keys to teaching your kids how to pull a great wheelie on their bicycle. Not one of those quickie almost flipped over, slammed it down, flopping around wheelies that any dufus with a bike can occasionally do by accident. You want them to learn how to ride a controlled and smooth wheelie down the street and around the corner while people stare. A wheelie so good that other guys want to be your kid.
BEFORE YOU START - First of all wear a helmet or other protective gear. Your kid is going to crash and burn so protect them long enough to actually learn something in the process. Absolutely do not try to learn how to wheelie on a Tour de France type road bike with toe-clips….guaranteed trip to the ER if they try. Use a Mountain bike which has a longer wheelbase and will be more stable and easier to control that even a bmx bike...which obviously equals more success and fewer crashes.
POSTURE & POSITION - Keep the seat no higher than the goose-neck clamp on the handlebars. This keeps your center of gravity lower and provides leverage when actually “pulling” the front end upwards. Speaking of the seat – stay on it! If your kids stand up while trying to pull a wheelie its next to impossible to properly balance while pedaling. Once they have become a wheelie king then go for it. For now, stay seated on the bike. Keep a straight back and arms firmly extended (but not locked).
GEOMETRY - I know you hated everything about geometry in school (except the Student Teacher), but knowing the proper angles is a critical aspect of pulling this off successfully. As the front wheel raises up, your body acts a counter-balance. In order to stabilize the bike upright, the horizontal axis of your wheels (most times your nut crunching cross tube) must stay at a nearly constant angle with respect to your straight chest or back. Most beginners usually pull the handlebars back into their chest and also lean forwards which kills the wheelie. Relax and lean back.
THE SECRET - Now the secret to learning how to ride a killer wheelie is finding your child's personal balance point. That means you have to find the magic angle I discussed earlier which is unique for just them and their bike. One was is to repeatedly practice (fall) until they somehow figure it out for themselves, but this takes way too long and it’s like trying to read a book while playing ping-pong. There’s just too much going on at one time to pull up; pedal; balance; watch for traffic; try not to scream… and then consistently find and remember your magic angle. Not gonna happen dude. But here’s how you can teach them quickly, safely and easily…….ride up a tree!
Just start with their front wheel a little ways up the tree. You can even help them to balance in place. From here you can easily adjust their body position to find just the right spot (angle) that allows them to slightly teeter the front wheel lightly against the tree. Here is where they need to be while pedaling down the driveway or street... this is the magic balance point. Most beginners think that just getting the front wheel up is scary and they are going to flip over. By resting against a tree they can easily identify their balance point and also realize that the front wheel must come up almost chest high before any damage can occur. It also teaches them how to bail off the back if needed. Good luck and maybe you can learn this with them too!
Mongoose Rubberized Hardshell Bicycle Helmet (Youth)
Part Number: FBAPowerSetup26882