I'm looking to get my son a bike he has two trikes one with pedals and one without, he loves the one without, but is getting too big for it. I'm considering getting him a balance bike or will this hinder his progression on to a pedal bike?

asked 19 Feb '10, 17:23

Phil%20Seller's gravatar image

Phil Seller
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I think we need a translation - balance bike? :)

(19 Feb '10, 17:34) Scott ♦♦

Balance Bikes are like regular bikes, but with no pedals, fly-wheels, or chain. You push with your feet like a ride on toy and then pick them up and coast.

We had one when we were kids, and man, was that thing fun. I'm the youngest of five kids, and we all used it inbetween the trike and bike stage. I think it probably helped, it was a lot less scary getting on a regular bike when I'd been flying around balanced on the push one for the entire summer.

link

answered 19 Feb '10, 19:03

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Neen
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Great first hand account! Now I really want to build one...

(19 Feb '10, 19:05) Adam Davis
1

That was 30-mumble-mumble, years ago, so ours was made out of steel, I think, I mean it must have been to have lasted through 5 kids, right? If you're going to build one, I'd say build that thing stuuurrdy! We loved crashing ours into stuff, trees, fences, and I can't tell you how often our Mom came outside to ask what the heck just hit the side of the house. I'd be so worried about getting hurt now, being a kid was so much fun!

(20 Feb '10, 06:41) Neen

For those who aren't aware, a Balance bike is a bicycle with no brakes or pedals. It is essentially a two wheeled scooter with a seat. Since their feet provide the motion, they are touching the ground and thus don't need training wheels. To go faster they have to learn to push with their feet, then pull them up and coast in between pushes, which teaches them to balance the moving bicycle.

However, your child will likely need to learn two skills - pedaling, and balancing. It can be very frustrating to have to learn both at once, so I'd suggest doing one at a time by using one or more of the following techniques:

  • Balance bike (Teach balance, worry about pedaling later)
  • Put the non-pedal tricycle away (teach pedaling, worry about balance later)
  • Bicycle with training wheels (teach pedaling with a little balance)

I've wanted to try it, but we've always used a regular bicycle with training wheels. Training wheels aren't supposed to touch the ground constantly - they should be adjusted up a little so the child gets feedback when they are in balance vs not in balance, and so they don't get in a position where the rear wheel is off the ground (such as over a dip in the sidewalk) while the training wheels hold the bike up.

Over time we adjusted the training wheels up and eventually they rarely use them and can have them removed.

But if I have time I'd like to build a wood balance bike for my 4 year old and see how that works out.

To answer your more explicit question - I suspect it would be like learning sign language as a baby. I don't see a reason it should hinder regular bicycling, and in fact believe it might give him more confidence since you're not changing so many things at once.

link

answered 19 Feb '10, 18:56

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Adam Davis
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A balance bike sounds like a neat idea...

(21 Feb '10, 15:17) Scott ♦♦

I got my 2 year old a run bike (aka balance bike) last summer - I can't recommend them enough! If you agree that the "balance" skill of riding a bike is more tricky than the "pedaling" skill, then it makes sense to master that before adding in the pedaling action.

Here's a great video of the run bike in action - also, be sure to note the 2.5 yr old on the real pedal bike - a run bike graduate!

link

answered 19 Feb '10, 21:20

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Kate
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Asked: 19 Feb '10, 17:23

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Last updated: 19 Feb '10, 21:20