Balance bikes for kids are hugely popular as they are so easy for small children to learn to ride quickly. The idea of a balance bike is very simple, a small bicycle frame, with the pedals removed and made in sizes small enough that even young toddlers can have fun with. They are primarily aimed at children from about two years of age, up to around five or six years old (depending on the size of the child). An adjustable saddle height enables the child to go on using the cycle until he is ready for a pedal version.
Why use balance bikes for kids?
These little bikes are designed to enable children to learn to ride a bicycle more quickly because they can do so in two stages. The first stage is learning to balance and steer without having to master pedalling. Once the child is confident on one of these toddler bikes, stage two is progression to a bicycle with pedals. Having gained experience and developed balance, this progression is a much easier step and the ‘training wheels’ stage can be eliminated.
Some experts believe that training wheels can actually hinder the “learning to ride a bicycle” process as many parents are unsure how to adjust these correctly. They also make a bicycle steer like a tricycle and children start learning to turn the handlebars in the wrong direction and then have to relearn the correct way once the training wheels are removed.
A balance bicycle need not be expensive, an ordinary small bicycle can be modified by having the pedals removed but wooden balance bikes are probably the best way for small toddlers to get started and having fun really quickly. The idea is to provide your child with a machine that is exactly the right size to enable them to sit on the saddle and walk along at the same time, being able to put their feet flat on the ground (not trying to wobble along on tip-toes).
Children get that hang of riding so quickly, by first of all being able to propel the bike forward whilst walking along and then gradually getting more confident and lifting their feet. Before very long, they are scooting along and balancing on two wheels without even thinking about it! Although balance bikes for kids are designed for children from about two years of age, some toddlers as young as eighteen months can quickly master riding them. This is another great advantage with these toddler bikes as normal cycle frames are generally not available in small enough sizes.
Balance bikes for kids are often designed without brakes to make them as simple as possible to operate. Whilst this is a huge advantage in allowing children the freedom to learn a new skill as quickly as possible, it can make them a little hard on shoe leather as children put down their toes as a braking mechanism!
Inevitably, there will be some tumbles and this is all part of the fun for children learning to ride a balance bike – so you will definitely want to make sure that you find kids bike helmets as well as knee and elbow pads to ensure an accident-free introduction to cycling for your child.
If you are thinking of buying a gift for a young child, the wide selection of balance bikes for kids available make an excellent choice for any child not old enough for a pedal version yet and completely eliminates the problem of stabilisers or trainer wheels. If you are shopping for a balance bike, you might also see them advertised as a “walker”, “running” or “training” bike. A wooden balance bike is probably the best choice for a very young child but for larger children, sturdy steel-framed models are available that will give good service and can be handed down in the family to the next budding cyclist!