When first teaching their children to ride bicycles, most parents first idea is to buy a bike with training wheels, but many parents are now opting to buy balance bikes instead. There are advantages and disadvantages to both a balance bike and training wheels, although nowadays all the emphasis is on balance bikes to teach a child to ride.
Balance bikes have been gaining popularity slowly over the last few years, to the point that you’ll see more balance bikes than bikes with training wheels on playgrounds and parks.
Whilst some children seem to pick up the fundamentals of pedaling and balancing relatively quickly, for a lot of other children this can be quite difficult. This is where the balance bike helps.
Essentially, learning to ride bikes is about coordination and balance. Having your child improve these areas is crucial to learning how to cycle swiftly and securely and countless professionals now believe that balance bikes are a lot better than training wheels for developing good balance and coordination in young children.
So exactly what is a Balance Bike and what do you need to consider if you’re thinking of buying one?
Balance bikes are small bicycles that don’t have a drivetrain, pedals, or a chain, and are intended to enable toddlers and younger kids to understand how to balance and ride a bike without having to worry about the pedaling aspect.
A balance bike is a great piece of kit for a child to begin learning to cycle. They just sit on the seat with feet on the floor and push themselves along. As their self-confidence in their biking ability develops, they will begin to take their feet off the floor and gradually become more comfortable with going faster.
- Gives the child better control of the bike – The key feature that makes balance bikes so attractive is that they offer toddlers more control. Because their feet are still on the ground, they’re introduced to the world of cycling with the benefit of stability
- Enhances child’s learning progress – Balance bikes present numerous benefits to a child’s development. It helps them practice turning corners, their balance, and with obstacle avoidance.
- Separates the stages of the learning process – Children who begin learning on a bike with training wheels can sometimes be overwhelmed by many processes occurring at once (balancing, pedaling, steering) and so using a balance bike would be the perfect solution to this, as the child can learn each process without becoming overwhelmed.
So, if you’re looking for a replacement for those rusty old training wheels, a balance bike is an excellent option. Many brands of balance bikes also have a feature that enables you to gradually increase or decrease the height and length of the bike, as well as the option of attaching pedals and a chain once your child is ready to progress!