If you’re the parent (or grandparent) of a toddler or preschooler, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the ubiquitous balancing bike. It’s not uncommon to see a balancing bike at the playground, neighborhood walk, or on a play date.
This article will teach you all you need to know about balancing bikes, whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced biker.
If you already own a balancing bike and are wondering how to inspire your child to ride or if their bike fits properly, this article has some advice for you.
Now go ahead and wipe up the spilled milk, purchase a fresh snack for the child, and continue reading.
What is a Balance Bike
Balance bikes, also known as push bikes or run bikes, are pedal-less children’s bicycles. Children can begin riding a balancing bike as soon as they can walk and have enough motor abilities (usually about 18 months).
These bikes differ from tricycles in that they have two wheels and are designed to be used as actual bicycles rather than toys. If your child is under 18 months or is just not ready for a balancing bike, consider a pre-bike or scoot-on toy.
Why Your Toddler (or Preschooler) Needs a Balance Bike
Apart from being enjoyable, a balancing bike aids in the development of gross motor skills, increases confidence and facilitates the transition to a pedal cycle. Here are some of the most compelling reasons to get a balancing bike for your child if they do not already have one.
Gross-Motor Skill Development. This is the least-mentioned but most critical reason to purchase a balancing bike. Balance bikes are one of the greatest instruments available for aiding in developing your toddler’s gross motor abilities. Balance and coordination are critical for injury avoidance, self-regulation, and groundwork for future fine motor skill development.
Additionally, balance bikes aid in developing core muscle strength and endurance.
Easy Transition to a Pedal Bike
Most of us have distinct recollections of learning to ride a bike—and not necessarily pleasant ones. Children that begin on a balancing bike typically go quickly to a pedal cycle, skipping the training wheels entirely. Toddlers who start riding a balancing bike early (18 to 24 months) are frequently riding a pedal cycle without training wheels by three.
The balancing bike teaches children about balance and motion and provides a safe introduction to learning to ride a pedal cycle.
This is the most obvious reason to get a balance bike for your child. Almost all children adore bicycles—it’s a universal child trait. If you want to provide happiness to your child and put a grin on their face, a bike will do the trick.
Exposure to the Outdoors
The wonderful thing about bicycles is that they provide an excuse to get outside. It’s challenging to get my son excited about anything as much as he is about cartoons, but he adores riding his bike. The majority of children nowadays do not spend enough time in nature, which results in various behavioral and emotional difficulties.
If you get a well-built balancing bike, it is capable of riding on the grass in a park or even on your favorite hiking trail.
Many of us spend ridiculous sums of money on toys. Most of these toys are only helpful for a season or two before being abandoned in favor of something new. Plastic toys degrade and eventually end up in landfills. On the other hand, a high-quality balancing bike may be ridden by your child for several years and then passed down to a younger sibling in good condition.
Even after a youngster has graduated to a pedal bike, they frequently continue to love riding a balancing bike at the BMX track or performing stunts in the backyard. As a result, a balancing bike is both economically and ecologically benign.
Things to Consider When Shopping for a Balance Bike
If you’re unfamiliar with balancing bikes, it’s challenging to know what to look for. Why do some bicycles cost more than others?
How do you determine which bicycle is the greatest fit for your child? There are a few things to keep in mind while buying a balancing bike.
Balance Bike Tires
Balance bike tires are classified into two broad categories: pneumatic (air) tires and solid tires composed of foam or plastic. A balancing bike with pneumatic (air) tires is advised if you can afford it.
Pneumatic tires have tubes and are similar to those used on adult bicycles. They considerably improve traction and let children ride their bikes on various terrains—through gravel, across dirt, and across the grass.
This is less critical for an 18-month-old riding about the house or on the patio—but keep in mind that they will want to ride outside sooner than you think. On the other hand, one significant advantage of foam tires is that they never fall flat. This might be a considerable benefit for individuals who do not wish to bother with bike maintenance.
Balance Bike Wheel Size
The diameter of the wheels is a primary measure of the size of the balancing bike: the smaller the wheels, the more compact the bicycle.
Toddlers will benefit from 12′′ wheels, while preschoolers will benefit from 14′′ wheels. Additionally, a few (but not many) 16-inch-wheel balance bikes are best suited for older children who have not yet mastered balancing on a balance bike.
Balance Bike Seat Height
When selecting a balancing bike, it’s critical to consider the bike’s minimum and maximum seat heights. Your child’s inseam is at least as long as the minimum seat height.
A too large bicycle for your youngster will annoy and discourage him. On the other hand, the greater the maximum seat height, the more your child’s bike can develop with them.
As a result, it is advised that you opt for a balancing bike with a minimum seat height that matches or is slightly lower than your child’s inseam to maximize the bike’s life.
No single frame material is superior–each has distinct advantages. Steel is a traditional bicycle material noted for its strength and durability.
Aluminum is a lightweight material that provides the appearance and feel of a “genuine” adult bicycle. Wood is a natural material that is both ecologically beneficial and visually beautiful. And composite frames are great for riders searching for a light, easy-to-clean, and low-maintenance bicycle.
Most balancing bikes, particularly the less expensive ones, are without brakes. This is acceptable for extremely young children, as they lack eye-hand coordination to use a hand brake. Additionally, they are not traveling at a high rate of speed and are perfectly capable of stopping with their feet.
In general, a lighter bike is preferred over a heavy one. This is particularly true for extremely little children (1 and 2 years old). A lightweight bike is always simpler to control and manage. It is advised that you get the lightest bike possible within your financial range.
Hopefully, this article has assisted you in determining if a balancing bike is the best option for your kid as they embark on their exciting path to two-wheel freedom. The key to successfully learning to ride a bike is establishing confidence via proper balance and coordination – just what balance bikes are built for. Before you know it, your kid will be comfortable pedaling on their own and getting all of the health advantages associated with cycling.
Finally, and to blow our own trumpet for a moment, a significant advantage of the balancing bike is that it can be converted into a “regular” bike by adding pedals and brakes and altering the specifically constructed frame. Therefore, whenever your child is ready for pedals, they will not need to adjust to a new bike, and you will avoid the price of purchasing one.