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What is a balance bike?

And the benefits of a balance bike

Traditionally, most us of learned to ride a bike by attaching training wheels to our first bike. It’s a time-honored ritual and a major childhood milestone that we all went through.  And you’re probably thinking, if it was good enough for me, then it’s good enough for my own kids. As a parent myself, I totally understand that viewpoint. But, I can show you an even better way to teach your child to ride a bike at a much earlier age, all while building their confidence, developing their balance and coordination skills, and allowing them to become even more mobile.

Training wheels do not develop these skills as well as a balance bike, because training wheels don’t really train anything. When you’re learning to ride a bike, the most important skill you need to learn is balance. Bikes with training wheels are tall, heavy and unstable, and can even wobble and tip over. This can be scary for young riders, and has the potential to cause painful injuries and fear, and shake a child’s confidence. The end results can be frustration for both kids and parents. Not true with a balance bike; balance bikes teach, training wheels do not.

A balance bike is exactly what it says it is – a balance bike. It is a bike with no pedals, which emphasizes the most important skill a child needs to learn: balance. Balance bikes are smaller and lighter than traditional pedal bikes, which makes them easier to control, even for kids as young as two. But the best part is that your kids will never need training wheels… ever. Once your child masters the balance bike, the transition to a pedal bike is seamless. 

Balance bikes are also free from any cables, chains, sprockets, pedals or protrusions that can harm your child. They are steady, stable and safe. At the first feeling of instability, your child will instinctively place both feet securely on the ground, so there are no "training-wheel wobbles" that stir up fear, hesitancy, or a dislike of bike riding. This provides your child with a sense of control. Your child will grab the handlebars, straddle the bike and walk without ever sitting down on the seat. With their feet on the ground, your child can control how fast or slow they want to go, and will also have the ability to instantly stop when needed. As your child quickly progresses, they will begin to sit down on the seat, make longer leg strides and eventually will raise their feet and glide. Then it’s your turn to catch up with them!

Children learn naturally on a balance bike… they just get it. It’s safer, they learn faster and it’s more fun. Plus, while your child is having fun, they will also be exercising. It’s a great way to get out with the family and have some fun while staying fit, starting at a very early age. In fact, they can start as young as two years old, and sometimes as early as 18 months. Balance bikes are designed for children ages 18 months - 5 years and their design makes them easy to maneuver and control, and provides your child with a safe and secure feeling. Most balance bikes come with an adjustable seat to accommodate your growing child, for a perfect fit. Amazingly, adjustable seat height can start at just 11 inches from the ground, accommodating even the shortest of legs. Once your child becomes confident on their balance bike, they will quickly learn to sit down, push with their feet and zip right along as they balance on two wheels. Training wheels can’t do this.

Now that you’ve seen the added benefits of a balance bike, you’re probably wondering, why couldn’t I just build my own balance bike by simply taking the pedals off of a regular kid’s bike? In theory, it sounds like a great idea. But you need to remember that traditional bikes are clunky and heavy. Even the smallest children’s bikes weigh at least 20 pounds, or more. For a child between the ages of 2 and 5 years, that is a lot of weight to handle. As a general rule, a balance bike should weigh no more than 30% of your child’s weight. Even with both feet firmly placed on the ground and hands gripping the handlebar, the sheer weight can easily be too much and cause the bike to topple over onto the child. The added weight also makes it much harder for the child to maneuver the bike and move forward, especially on inclines.

Balance bikes generally weighs in at less than 1/3 the weight of a comparable pedal bike with training wheels. A balance bike should be light enough for a very small child to lift over obstacles and easy for a parent to throw in the back of the car for an outing at the park.

Unlike other bikes that sit in the garage, gathering dust while your child waits to grow into them, a balance bike will get plenty of use from day one. In fact, we guarantee that your child will love their balance bike right out of the box.

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