Balance Bikes

My friend from NJ has two children that learned how to ride bikes at very young ages. Her younger one, the daughter, was riding around like a pro when she was just three, peddling madly to keep up with her big brother. They had one of those expensive, wooden balance bikes, but when I asked my friend if she thought that I should get one of those to help Caleb learn how to ride a bike, she just laughed and said, “No you should get a cheap little one from the thrift store and take off the peddles.”

Well, it took me a while to take her advice. I wasn’t thrilled about the road conditions in our neighborhood. Plus only the cross streets are anything resembling flat. Even adults can’t ride a bike up our street. And I wanted to bring my brothers’ old bike from NJ rather than buy a new one. But this summer, I figured it was about time. I found a little bike at the thrift store and brought it home.

Still, I figured he was older, and maybe I could just push him and he would pedal and get the hang of it. But it didn’t really work and he wasn’t interested in doing it very much. It was hard.

So finally I took off the pedals. The one nice thing about where I live is that there are lots of slopes to learn how to coast and balance. In less than 2 weeks, we put the pedals back on, and he could ride! He wasn’t perfect of course, and sometimes he needed help getting started, but he could pedal and stay up.

You can also see the state of our roads in this picture.

Now I am totally sold on balance bikes. I think it is an excellent way to learn how to ride a bike. It’s not very hard, all you have to do is walk essentially, and coasting is natural, so you automatically learn how to balance without even trying. I’ve never been a fan of training wheels, ever since I had some on my own bike. I felt they were harder to balance on because there was all that wobbling back and forth from side to side.

So whether you buy a wooden one, or a little bike that you remove the peddles from, you should give balance bikes a try for your little one.

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6 thoughts on “Balance Bikes

  1. Balance bikes are great! My son is just starting to ride around on his. My cousin made balance bikes for both his sons out of wood. Might be a good idea for your shop down the road. 🙂

  2. I totally agree – sadly my 2 older kids have not been interested in learning to ride a bike so they were both older (5 and 8 yikes!) when they learned to ride and the guy at the bike shop suggested removing the pedals to learn. We taught them both over a week long vacation without the pedals. Now we are thinking of buying the balance bike for our not quite 2 year old so she will learn and ride at a much earlier age! Love your blog and your etsy shop items look awesome!

  3. we love love love our balance bike. our son learned to ride a bike very young. Now we are waiting for our daughter to get a bit bigger before we pull out the strider again. My niece is getting one for her birthday this month

  4. LOVE this idea. I too have seen those balance bikes but couldn’t afford it. We were going to get training wheels to put on our son’s 12″ bike that were given, but now we’re just going to remove the pedals. Thanks!

  5. Pingback: Balance Bikes vs. Training Wheels as a social commentary | Mama Made Them

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