I’ve been inspired to write this bit about balance bikes after witnessing my 4 year old nephew learn to ride a two wheeler in less than a month. He was actually riding on a 12” bike with the pedals removed and the pedals were simply replaced when he got the hang of it.
So what is a Balance Bike? It is a simple type of bike designed to teach very young children how to balance and steer. The main difference between balance bikes and regular bikes are:
- Balance bikes have no pedals: they propel themselves along by pushing the ground with their feet. That means no greasy chain to deal with.
- Balance bikes have no stabilizers: the child’s feet can always touch the ground and they can learn to balance by reaching a foot to the floor when the bike leans over.
- Balance bikes do not have brakes: this allows the child to concentrating on the most important skills of balancing and steering.
Balance bikes are often called ‘walking bikes’ or ‘running bikes’ because that’s what the child doing while sitting on the bike. What a great concept!
Benefits of a Balance Bike:
- Can be used from age 2 and onwards
- Makes balance and steering second nature.
- Develops confidence and coordination.
- Gives a natural transition to a pedal bike.
- Promotes healthy fun exercise.
And from a physiotherapist point of view, balance bike prevents back injuries! Not so much the child’s but the parent’s. You don’t have to bend over to hold your child’s (regular) bike as you run after them to help them with their balance. Now isn’t that a great concept?!