Nothing beats watching your child grow from one stage to the next. And learning to ride a bike is one of these stages.
So, are you ready to introduce your kid to the amazing experience of bike riding? While it may be easy to answer this question, let’s not forget that you also need to choose the best bike for the job.
Being a life-long parent, I’ve seen and experienced several trends. But the introduction of balance bikes is one of the biggest I’ve experienced.
For generations, learning to ride a bike involved furious peddling, the training wheel wobble and of course a few falls.
But with the rampant popularization of balance bikes, that time-honored tradition maybe a thing of the past.
What is a balance bike?
Balance bikes, also referred to as pre bikes or run bikes are bikes without training wheels, crank, chain and pedals.
Young riders simply have to sit on them and propel themselves forward with their feet. Balance bikes allow your child to learn how to balance first before they can start learning how to pedal.
At the end of the day, balance translates to reduced crashes, zero tears, and a FUN experience.
Balance bikes or training wheels?
Starting this conversation is often easy. But as a bike enthusiast and a parent looking to teach your child how to start riding, it is important to consider what really matters.
Balance bikes are a trend that has taken the parenting world by storm. And the aftermath, two factions of parents: balance bikes, or training wheels?
Don’t panic; we are going to look at all the aspects of both options to simplify things for you.
The run bikes are made for children aged between 2 and 5. However, these bikes have a brand like Strider that make the seat adjustable.
With this feature, you can adjust the seat and start teaching your kid how to ride even at the age of 18 months.
On the other hand, the starting age for training wheels is at least three years.
At what age should your child stop using training wheels and a balance bike?
As soon as possible! While it might be easier for a child using a balance bike to graduate to a two-wheeled bike, as soon as your child learns to balance, take off the training wheels or at least raise them.
Balance bikes are often lightweight. In fact, some such as the TheCroco weigh as little as 4.3lbs.
So, even your 18 months old kid can easily handle a balance bike on his/her own. Though there are some recent pedal bikes for kids such as the WOOM 2 that weighs 12.3lbs, adding training wheels always end up making them heavy.
I bought my son his first balance bike when he was two at the time; I wanted him to fall in love with bike riding.
And he sure fell in love with his new bike. I think we only had a few training sessions and soon enough he was riding on his own in the backyard.
A bike with training wheels definitely requires adult supervision. You need to make sure that you adjust the training wheel to make them comfortable for your kid.
Watching my kiddo ride was an amazing experience. And getting him the balance bike was a great idea. I actually think it’s perfect for building confidence, learning balance, coordination, steering, and independence.
In essence, it is a superb invention, and it’s the first bike you should buy for your son or daughter if you really want him/her to have a fun experience.
Choosing the best balance bike
Below are simple criteria to help you choose the best balance bike for your child.
- Size: This is a crucial factor that you must get right. Is the seat fixed or adjustable? The perfect size should leave room for a slight bend in the knee. Measure your child to get an idea of the best size.
- Weight: conventionally, the bike should not weigh more than 30% of your kid’s weight.
- Tires: The tires determine traction on different surfaces and how smooth the ride will be.
- Brakes: The main source of stopping a balance bike is the rider’s feet, but having additional handbrakes improves safety.
- Turning limiters: Prevent sharp turns.
- Bearings: Determine how smooth or fast the ride is.
To read more on the best balance bikes for kids head over and read our reviews.