Balance bikes are relatively new to the scene in the UK whereas they have been widely used in Europe for some time while we have favoured stabilisers.
They are without doubt the safest, easiest and most fun way to learn to ride a bike. But that is not all they are worth. Your child will love their balance bike, it’s a means of transport, it’s their independence, it’s their fun and it is their exercise. For the parent it means easy and speedy walks through the park and on the pavement. It also means an activity on an overcast day and the perfect way for your child to acquire important gross motor skills and spacial awareness. ultimately it also means no back breaking bending over your child teaching them to ride and most importantly no stabilisers.
Start them younger. A good quality balance bike (adjustable seat post and handle bars with a brake) will last from 2½ upwards and you may find that a child will still go back to it even when they have moved onto a pedal bike. We think that the ability to brake with both feet and/or with a brake makes them one of the safest ride on means of transport for a child.
A balance bike will develop independence – they can get around on their own. They can choose their own speed and where they go. In doing so they develop spatial awareness -e.g. walking on the pavement next to a pushchair – you teach them where to stop when you get to a road. A balance bike helps coordination – steering and balance and if the bike has them, braking. When a child can glide they can balance. They can get quite a speed up when they are scooting along. A child can concentrate on this without having to worry about pedals. This means that when pedals are introduced they have already mastered the rest of it.
Put simply riding is balancing on wheels and turning the wheels where you want to go. Balance bikes shouldn’t be seen as a step towards pedals, a good quality, well-adjusted balance bike will last years. You will be amazed at what a child can do on a balance bike.
A balance bike will help a frustrated toddler to let off some steam and will give them a sense of achievement as they keep up with a sibling or a walking parent. Balance bikes open doors to many a game to keep them active, involved and occupied the traffic light game, gliding competitions etc.
Balance bikes are an early introduction to exercise and a love of the outdoors. Your child will get hot and benefit from the exercise giving endorphins from an early age an introduction to a healthier lifestyle.