Frequently Asked Questions
NO. We have a fleet of high quality, ultra-lightweight children’s’ bikes from our partners at Strider Bikes USA that we use for teaching. During the first lesson, we will fit your child to an appropriate bike to use in lessons. That said, it always our goal to transition the student back to their own bike successfully, so we will begin to transition to their bike as confidence and skills develop. Many of our students will need a new/larger bike after learning, and we work with our partner brands and bike shops locally to help our Balance Riders families select the right bike for their child. So please don’t rush out to buy something- but do bring his or her bike along to the first lesson as we’ll adjust the seat height, remove pedals and training wheels, etc so your child can practice between lessons.
Helmet – These can be purchased at your local bike shop or at places like Walmart or Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Water Bottle – important as bike lessons are hard work!
Mom, Dad, Grandparents or Guardian to sign Waiver – we will have you sign a Waiver & Release. You can complete this online in advance to save time!
We will be holding classes at different park locations throughout the City of Cape Coral and Ft Myers. We plan to expand out to other locations in the near future. We will consider holding classes in other areas around the county based on demand. Feel free to contact us to discuss this in more detail.
No, this is not necessary. We learn to glide and balance first, which minimizes dramatic crashes (though everyone falls when learning to ride- it happens!). Knee and elbow pads tend to add more frustration and uncomfortable.
This is important – as the wrong clothing can be a hindrance, frustration, and even a danger when learning to ride. Students should wear closed toes sneakers (laces tied tightly!) and long socks or long pants/leggings. Socks or pants protect sensitive shins which tend to get bumped frequently by pedals. Anything overly baggy (large basketball shorts for boys, skirts for girls) can be a danger and uncomfortable. We suggest bringing a warmer layer like a sweatshirt or jacket that can be easily removed for managing changing temperatures during the winter months.
No. Parents need to stay but we recommend to keep a bit of distance to allow student and instructor to develop a rapport. Please use encouraging words to cheer your child on as they learn and practice- the development of confidence is key to success and we practice positive reinforcement and clear, firm expectations for each student. Some children will try to give up more easily or frustrate faster if they think Mom or Dad is going to “give in”… so let us handle it and maybe take some time for a walk, emails, phone, younger siblings, etc. Your child will be SO excited to show you their progress at the end of the lesson! It can be confusing to students if technique/terminology is different, so we will give parents some tips for coaching cues to use when practicing between lessons to reinforce and stay consistent. We’ll also suggest some “homework” for your child to work on – getting practice in between sessions is a huge help! Please do not allow your child to ride with training wheels between lessons – see this article for why we feel so strongly about it.
As you can imagine, it varies between children based on age, experience, fear, etc etc, but we typically find that most are riding in 1-3 lessons, and riding competently and confidently in 4-6 lessons- which is why we offer both 4 and 6 lesson packages. Remember that we are training kids to be safe and confident cyclists- which goes beyond just being able to pedal in a straight line- often skills like stopping and safety awareness can take longer to develop. Before you “check out” after the first lesson, you can opt to change the lesson package you originally booked based on how the first lesson went.
We do require credit card information to book your private lesson. Your card will not be charged until the end of the first lesson when we’ve mutually decided what the right package would be for your family. All packages must be paid in full at the first lesson. If you would prefer to pay via Venmo or cash, you may do so at the first lesson- credit card will just be used as a hold.
Stuff happens – and we get it! We just ask that you give us as much notice as possible so that we can attempt to book someone else in. A no show or cancellation with less than 24 hours notice will be counted as used towards your package of lessons and/or billed to the card on file. Remember to join our Balance Riders Facebook Group as we’ll add last-minute cancellation availability here!
Kids love riding in the rain! That said, there are days where weather conditions are not safe for lessons and we will cancel in that case. We typically do not cancel for expected weather in advance as Florida can be sunny/stormy/sunny again all in the course of an hour! If we mutually agree on the day of the lesson that conditions aren’t feasible, or if we have to call off a lesson mid-way through, you won’t “lose” that lesson and the time will be made up. However, we would kindly ask you to stick to the 24-hour cancellation policy in the event the weather conditions are suitable for riding. It’s not fair to us or our other Balance Rider families waiting on lessons to cancel that day just for the threat of rain showers. Lessons canceled inside of 24 hours will be charged and counted towards your lesson package.
We strongly recommend you book lessons well in advance, 1-2 times per week, as consistency is key to progress. Evening and weekend spots fill first so book early for the first choice! Use our online booking system to request appointments. If you’ve paid for a package, use the service type “existing customer lesson $00.00”. Remember that lesson requests require Balance Riders to confirm and accept the lesson. While we try to maintain the most accurate online calendar possible, there are instances where travel times and other conflicts won’t be accounted for accurately.
We use low-to-no traffic areas for lessons, within neighborhoods, parking lots, and public spaces, and typically utilize extra hi-vis cones to enhance visibility in the teaching area. This is one reason we will need to review your home address if you want lessons to occur at home. We maintain First Aid and CPR certifications and have a fully-stocked first aid kit available. Balance Riders maintains appropriate levels of liability insurance for the nature of the business.
COVID Procedures and Precautions
- Our instructors wear face-covering masks at all times. Riders (children) do not need to wear masks, but we ask that parents please socially distance and/or wear a mask.
- Our fleet of Strider bicycles are disinfected at all contact points between each rider, following CDC practices.
- Gel hand sanitizer is available and we will mandate use by riders before and after classes.
- We will not allow students to borrow helmets or cycling gloves, as we are not confident we can effectively sterilize soft surfaces between uses.
- Please send your child with a water bottle- being well-hydrated is important! However, water bottles left behind will be disposed of immediately.
- We teach our students to stand at a “social distance” during instruction. We’re always trying to encourage more space between riders, so this will be a welcome reinforcement! However, our focus will remain on providing high-quality, positive, and personalized bike instruction. We will not police children. If you are concerned about your child’s ability to stay distanced from others and feel that is a risk, then we would suggest private lessons at this time.
- For now, no hugs, high fives, or non-essential touches between fellow riders and/or coaches. We’re getting good at elbow bumps, waves, and air high fives!
- Please consider sending your child with tissues in their pockets or wearing a lightweight neck gaiter. Noses tend to run when riding bikes, whether sick or not. We like the lightweight neck gaiters because they can be pulled over mouth and nose for some protection from allergens in the air, and used for wiping noses or sweat.
- Please do your part by keeping sick children home from bike programs. No child who has a cough or cold symptoms, or who has had an above-normal temperature in the past 24 hours, should attend. Please follow the same rule if there is anyone else in your household who is sick, and for whom COVID-19 has not been ruled out by testing and/or is returning from travel in impacted areas. Don’t worry, we will offer liberal make-up opportunities so that all of our families can do the right thing.
- We will continue to communicate with our venue hosts and update you on any schedule changes.
While life may be anything but “business as usual” in the coming months, riding a bike can continue to provide some sense of peace and normalcy to your children and to you! Get outside and enjoy being outside with your children. Waves and smiles exchanged with other riders won’t transmit the virus and will remind us we’re all in this together. Be well and thank you for your support.