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What is a Balance Bike? Ways to Teach Your Kids to Ride a Bike

Writen by Gary Johnson

Fact checked by Henry Speciale

what is a balance bike

Cycling is one of the most active skills a child can learn growing up. It gives them a sense of freedom and independence, especially when they are on their own navigating the road.

However, just like any other hobby or activity, your child needs to learn the most critical skill in cycling – balancing.

And the best way to learn this skill is using a balance bike. So, what is a balance bike? A balance bike is a good starting point for your child to learn to bike. It is a special piece of equipment that looks exactly like a regular bike but lacks a drivetrain or pedals.

What to Know About a Balance Bike

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A balance bike’s construction is rather similar to a small bike for small kids, yet without pedals and the parts attached to the pedals. Its purpose is not for cycling around but to help kids learn to balance.

Indeed, the wheels are large and go smoothly, however they do not come with stabilizers, or brakes and drivetrain.

Kids ride the bike by pushing themselves and the bike forward using their feet and not the paddle. During the process, kids learn to balance themselves when the wheels are running. They also know how to coordinate legs and arms to move the bike forwards.

What Age Are Balance Bikes for?

Children love to play and learn new things as they grow. Many parents would turn to bikes as a healthy and fun activity, especially when their children reach the age of 2.

Children between 2 to 4 years old can walk by themselves. Still, they cannot pedal immediately due to their lack of strength and balancing skills. That’s why a balance bike is a good place to start.

Cycling is the best way to develop their locomotor skills. A balance bike toddler will enhance their balance and body coordination and help improve their focus and attention. It is a comprehensive activity where they not only develop their locomotor skills but mentality as well.

There are balance bikes with brakes for kids a bit older, around 4 – 10 years old who start learning how to cycle.

Are Balance Bikes Better Than Training Wheels?

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Child’s balance bike and training wheels are two different things. Of course, they are the most recommended training bike for kids, but they have specific functions and corresponding pros and cons.

A balance bike is ideal for small kids aged two that have zero balancing skills. It is lightweight and easy to maneuver when your kids are still small.

On the other hand, training wheels work for a bit older kids, aged 3 and 4. Bikes with training wheels often have a higher seat, so the kids must already reach a certain height to ride the bike.

On an uneven surface, a balance bike is better than a bike with training wheels, and it does not wobble much. Therefore, training wheels are a much better choice if your kids are a bit older and you want to give them a little more excitement and challenge when riding a bike.

Also, if you want a bike to learn balancing for adults, you can install the training wheels.

How to Ride a Balance Bike?

Introducing balance bikes for 2 year olds is a smart decision. It is important to start them early, so they can progress easily and gain confidence along the way. However, before they can even learn to bike independently, it is essential to guide them to properly use a balance bike.

Step 1: Familiarize your kids with the bike

The key to learning a new skill is familiarization. If you want to teach your kids to use a balance bike, it is critical to explain how does a balance bike work.

There are three parts of the balance bike that they need to understand: the wheel, the saddle or seat post, and the handlebars.

You can demonstrate it yourself and show them a video about other kids that use a balance bike.

Step 2: Teach them the basics

Teach your kid how to steer a bike correctly and the correct body posture when riding the bike.

  • Standing and walking – You have to ensure that you get the correct size of the balance bike for your child. While your kid is holding the bike, ensure they can stand upright and reach the handlebars conveniently.

Make sure that your kid is comfortable with the position and the feet can properly touch the ground. If it does not, you have to check the size or dimension of the bike.

  • Sitting and walkingYou should teach your child to apply more force to push the bike through their feet and propel it forward.
  • Sitting, running, and balancing At this point, your child has already gained confidence playing and riding the balance bike. They are now more acquainted with how to steer handlebars. They have developed some techniques to push the bike forward with their legs in sitting and standing positions.
  • Progression – When you notice that your kid is now well-acquainted with the balancing bike, you can challenge them by providing a mini bike ramp or a wooden pump track.

Conclusion

Toddlers love to play outside, especially those between two to three years old. And the best way to maximize this stage of development is by teaching them to ride a balance bike.

They can also improve coordination between arms and legs. Teaching them what is a balance bike is surely the smartest thing you can do as a parent.

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