What are Balance Bikes?
Balance bikes are simply wonderful training aids used to help a child learn balance without the use of training wheels. Most of us reading this article had training wheels on our bikes when we were kids. Some may remember those training wheels being put on a bike that was much too big for us which in effect made us have to climb onto the bike like it was a horse. Once on this bike, we could barely reach the pedals and then had the uneasy feeling of rocking back and forth as the bike teetered between the training on each side of the bike. They didn’t help in learning to ride a bike, it helped get us perched on top of bike and then focused on pedaling. Don’t get wrong, learning to pedal is very important to being able to ride a pedal bike. My youngest son learned to balance on a balance bike and when he transferred we just needed to work on the pedaling.
On occasion my wife and I talk to friends or acquaintances and they say, “Our child will never learn to ride a bike”, I ask them about their situation. I ask, “What kind of bike are they on now?” Sometimes they are putting their 3 year old child on this awesome looking dirt bike that is a size or two too big. I understand the thought of getting a bike they will last a little while or a bike they can grow into, but in the learning phase – the bike must fit properly.
Balance toddler bikes are made out of metal, plastic and wood. These are purpose-built (especially for very small children, for whom normal bicycles are generally not available). To function properly and maximize the benefits, a balance bike should be small enough that the rider can walk the bike while sitting comfortably in the saddle and placing both feet flat on the ground. The rider first walks the bicycle while standing over the saddle, then while sitting in the saddle. Eventually, the rider feels comfortable enough to run and “scoot” while riding the bicycle. Before long the child will run and then raise their feet and place them on footrest (if applicable) and glide until the bike loses momentum.
Learning balance is the one obstacle in learning to ride a pedal bike. Now there is an effective and safe way to do so with a balance toddler bike.