Learning to ride a bike can be a challenge for little ones and exasperating—and back aching—for parents. Luckily you don’t have to go it alone, as bike riding classes are available all around LA with patient teachers to help kids learn the basics.  With the help of these local bike enthusiasts your tiny cyclist will be up and on two wheels in no time, with no yelling and no tears (from parents OR kids).

photo credit: REI

REI is a great all around outdoor activity store. Not only can you find a perfectly sized bike and helmet for your future Tour de France-er, but they also off bike lessons. In REI’s two-hour class for kids 4-11, new riders learn the basics of starting and stopping, as well as the sometimes tricky task of maneuvering around obstacles. A must in case a diligent California squirrel crosses your bike path. By the end of class your tikes will be on a roll.  The cost is $50 for REI members and $70 for non-members.

Gear: Kids must bring their own bikes and helmets and closed toed shoes are required.

Manhattan Beach REI Store
1800 Rosecrans Ave.
Manhattan Beach

Santa Monica REI Store
402 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica
Online: rei.com

photo credit: Steven Stuart

Jim Wilson “The Bike Whisperer”
If you’re an exasperated parent who just can’t manage one more bike lesson that ends in tears, Jim Wilson is your man. Renowned in Los Angeles as “The Bike Whisperer,” Jim has been known to work his magic and teach kids how to ride a bike in one hour flat. You’ll be astounded as he takes your little biker from tears to gears and soon you’ll be on your way to a family ride by the nearby Santa Monica Pier. Watch Jim work his magic in this youtube video.  Fun extra: Jim also teaches skateboarding, when they’re ready to graduate to 4 wheels.

Gear: You provide your own gear.

Santa Monica
Email: jimbobikesurf@yahoo.com

photo credit: Bicycle Kitchen

Bicycle Kitchen
The Silverlake/Los Feliz area can be heavily congested with cars, so learning how to ride a bike in the city’s expanding bike lanes will definitely allow you and your little one more freedom getting around this hip hood. If teaching kids on the city streets has you stressed, bring them here.  They don’t schedule formal lessons, but their experts are happy to have you drop by for an impromptu lesson on riding or pointers on street bike safety. The Bicycle Kitchen also offers a “Earn-A-Bike” a youth outreach program for big kids, where kids 12 & up learn how to fix and build bicycles. The nearby Silver Lake Reservoir has plenty of bike paths and is the ideal place to take your kids newly learned skills out for a test run.

4429 Fountain Ave.
Online: bicyclekitchen.com

photo credit: C.I.C.L.E LA

C.I.C.L.E LA workshops
Cyclists Inciting Change thru Live Exchange, C.I.C.L.E. promotes bike riding as a healthy and sustainable transportation choice. The parking lot we call the 101 isn’t the only way to get around LA!  C.I.C.L.E LA teaches kids the importance of both sustainability and quality of life and your little cyclists will grow up seeing the value in an alternative to sitting in LA traffic.  Workshops are fitted to skill level, focusing on comfort and safety. Contact C.I.C.L.E. to find the right class for every member of the family. (Including parents!)

Gear: The Beginning Bike Handling workshop gets wobbly kids to develop stability and confidence on their bikes.  Bring your own bikes and safety gear.

Eagle Rock
Online: CICLE.org

Now your whole family is ready to take part in LA’s next CicLAvia!  Culver City Meets Venice is taking place on August 9, 2015 and the Heart of LA route is in October.  Check the CicLAvia website for details, and also to sign up for free bike safety classes for yourself, too!

Got any tips for bike riding in LA with your newbie rider?  We’d love to hear them in the comment section!

—Jenn Fujikawa

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