The balance bike is becoming quite popular, but you may be wondering-is it around for good or is it just a passing fad? Parents and experts alike agree on the fact that the balance bike is here to stay. Many believe it is a far better learning tool than training wheels, and children are able to learn to bike at a younger age and transition to a two-wheel bike faster. If you are torn between the nostalgia of your training wheel days and the newer, balance-focused way of learning, let us share some information to make your decision a little easier…
Let’s face it-riding a bike with training wheels is nothing like riding on two wheels. The job of training wheels is to “stabilize” a bike so a child won’t tip over. A child can ride for years on training wheels without actually learning anything about balance. The only thing they are learning is how to pedal, which is all well and good, but pedaling is not exactly rocket science. I’m pretty sure if you put a kid on a stationary bike, they could learn the science of pedaling in the space of about 20 seconds. If you were to put two children side-by-side (one who has been on training wheels for two years and one who has been on training wheels for two months) and take the training wheels off their bikes, setting them off for the first time on two wheels, do you know what will happen? Both kids will tip over and fall off their bikes. They have to learn how to ride a bike all over again, because they never really learned in the first place.
When a child begins on a balance bike, they do not become dependent on the stability of training wheels. They learn how to keep a bike from tipping over, because they are forced to balance right from the start. They are not given the false security that training wheels offer. Therefore the transition to a standard bike is much easier when they begin on a balance bike.
Children riding balance bikes are more confident than those on training wheels, because they are taking risks when they lift their feet off the ground and balance out that wobble. They feel the freedom and thrill of riding a two wheel bike, if only for a few seconds, before they need to put their feet back down on the ground again. Of course, as they become better at balancing and can coast for longer periods of time, their confidence grows and they feel pride in what they’ve learned. This confidence makes children who start out on a balance bike more courageous when they transition to a standard bike.
Most balance bikes have limited steering, or options to adjust how far they turn. This helps avoid sudden steering to one side or another, which can make even a bike with training wheels tip over, resulting in injury. The limited steering helps children learn how to properly steer a bike in a gentle, gradual motion.
Balance bikes are a fantastic learning tool for young children. When your toddler starts riding a balance bike at two years old, chances are they’ll be more than ready for a standard bike when their friends are just starting out on training wheels. They’ll also be more confident and less afraid to make that transition. Bike riding is a great family activity, and balance bikes are an option that allows even the youngest members of your family join in on the fun.
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