Are you a convert to balance bikes?
Monday, August 5, 2013
When my oldest was two years old, I encountered a very persuasive store owner at a small kids' store in Brooklyn who convinced me to give a balance bike a try. Now, a couple of kids later, I am absolutely convinced that this is the best way to teach a child to ride a bike. Because there are no training wheels, the child is forced to learn to balance the bike as they push along with their feet. I have heard many parents say that their child "didn't get it" with the balance bike and subsequently gave up on it. I almost did this as well with one of my small people, but you just have to give them time. Let them experiment and even walk around on it without actually sitting on the seat (what one of my kids did for months). They will finally figure it out and will be gliding along with their feet up in no time at all.
The one piece of advice I can offer if you decide to try a balance bike for your kids is that they also have a tricycle so that they can learn to pedal well. If they master the balance and the pedaling motion, putting it together on a real bike is a cinch. My oldest made the transition in literally 10 minutes as a 4 year-old. My twins are split on this one because of a training wheel bike (given to us as a gift) that completely captivated one of them and prevented her from really practicing on the balance bike. She is still really wobbly. In the meantime, her brother learned to zip around at lightning speed on his balance bike and is probably ready for a real bike any day now. We have had a side-by-side experiment running, and the results are pretty clear. THE BALANCE BIKE WINS, hands down.
If you are looking for a balance bike, we have loved our little Strider (pictured above). The colors are great, it is lightweight and very adjustable to perfectly fit your child. Striders run anywhere from about $88 to $120 on Amazon, depending on the day, the color and the distributor. There are a couple of Strider models... the PREbike, the ST-3 and the ST-4, though the differences strike me as minor. I think that you will be happy with any of these, so I say go for the best price! They fit riders up to 44 inches tall and 5 years old. There is even now a Strider Super for 6-10 year-olds that has a hand brake. Perfect for an older child needing to learn balance! I really can't recommend these enough.