Gone are the days when a child has to wait until age 4 or 5 to learn to ride a 2-wheeled bike. Now, toddlers as young as 18 months can get started on a balance bike, having fun striding along until one day, like magic, they are riding! No need for tricycles or training wheels. In fact, it’s not uncommon for a 3-year-old to be able to transition from a balance bike directly to a regular 2-wheeled bike!
Toddlers begin by straddling the bike while walking along. Before they know it, they are sitting down on the seat (designed for tiny bums, of course) and using their feet to stride merrily along. Over time, little people are zooming along and balancing without even touching the ground. There’s no trying to balance…it just happens!
So, how does a balance bike differ from a regular bike?
The premise is that a smaller, lightweight, pedal-free two-wheeler is easier for little people to handle. Indeed, they typically weigh only 6 lbs and even the handgrips are made smaller for wee fingers. Seat height and handlebar height are easily adjusted to accommodate your growing child. In addition, balance bikes are virtually maintenance-free. Say goodbye to flat tires and greasy chains! The tires are tubeless and the bike is chainless.
No pedals? Where do the feet go?
Toddlers start out with their feet on the ground and as they gain confidence, they just naturally being to lift their feet as they move forward. This is actually a good thing. Their feet are closer to the ground when they need them for braking.
Where are the brakes?
Toddlers use their feet to propel themselves forward and to stop. While this may make some parents nervous, remember that their feet are usually hovering just above the ground, and they are not traveling very quickly, so stopping is not typically an issue. Having said that, a rear-brake kit can be applied to back wheel if desired.
Why not tricycles?
Tricycles can be hard to pedal and can tip over easily on uneven ground. Children typically tire before they can go very far on a tricycle, leaving the parents to push them or carry the bike on family walks. In addition, they don’t teach the child to balance. Balance bikes require less effort to operate and toddlers can go much further on their own.
Why not just use training wheels?
Training wheels don’t actually help a child learn to balance. In fact, they prevent the process of learning to balance. With balance bikes, children just naturally learn to balance. On top of this, training wheels usually end up causing the bike to lean to one side or the other, creating a false sense of security. At some point, the children still have to learn how to balance on their own.
Strider has created the perfect little balance bike to excite and entertain your toddler. They are adjustable and designed to grow with your children ages 18 months to 5 years! They come in a wide variety of bright colors and are available locally through BC Balance Bikes.
BC Balance Bikes will be attending the Birth Fair at the Cloverdale Agriplex on March 3 & 4, 2018. We will have an obstacle course set up for toddlers to test out the bikes! Please visit www.birthfair.com for more information.
PS: Don’t forget your helmet!