The program uses a series of adapted trainer bikes that permits the children to be successful. We create a series of small steps to allow children to get past previously insurmountable hurdles.
Researchers and experts in motor learning tell us that we are actually using a technique or process called “Proximal Zones.” The gist of all this is that a person learns a motor skill by being successful, possibly at an earlier level of challenge. We have devised a series of bikes that allows success because the bike’s dynamics have been initially tamed, making the bikes benign when the child first starts in our program. As the children enjoy some degree of success, their motor skills improve, as muscle learning is occurring. In a way it is similar to how skilled athletes develop the ability to swing at pitched balls and to hit golf balls without waiting for conscious thought processes.
Using a series of adapted trainer bikes, we move the children onto more challenging bikes as skills and confidence increase. In truth, we don’t actually teach children to ride, but rather we create an environment whereby children discover how to ride by themselves. As they discover, and improve in skills, we act so as to keep adjusting the environment and continue to challenge the children within limits that they can handle. The secret is that the children are able to be successful, and with success comes confidence and then this allows their motor skills and motor planning to improve, as well as causing fears to abate. In the process of learning to ride, the children soon execute motor reflexes that operate based on conscious thinking, thus somewhat clumsy cause and effect reactions. After a relatively brief exposure to some success in bike riding, these reflex reactions soon become subconscious, and thus bike riding enters the subconscious realm. This is why it is so easy to ride a bike once you know how, but so frightening and difficult before those reflexes and synapses are internally wired and encoded. This allows graduation onto conventional bikes without need for training wheels.