Balance Bike Frequently Asked Questions – Posted in: Bikes – Tags: how does a balance bike work, how to teach kids to ride balance bike, what is a balance bike, what is the best age to start riding balance bike
One significant milestone for a child is learning to ride a bike. Biking is a great exercise for your kids, while they were having fun. However, before you start teaching your kids, it is best to know what type of bike you should introduce first to your child, for some are not made equally for any age kids. Before you begin your biking lesson, you first need to consider the type and size of the bike that you need to teach your child.
It is recommended that you should start with a balance bike to help you introduce the joy of biking to your kid. Let us first get some information on what a balance bike is and at what age can you start your child.
Balance Bike Basics
A balance bike is a type of bike that has no pedals. Though it has a frame, wheels, handlebar, fork, etc., this kind has no drive train. Your child needs to push off the ground with their feet to be able to move forward.
A balance bike does not have training wheels or stabilizers. The essence of balance bikes is to help your kids develop their balance and coordination before they progress to pedals.
Age Recommendation to Use a Balance Bike?
Normally, you can start incorporating a balance bike to your child at the age of 18 months to 12 years old. If a kid can walk, then it is safe to say that they can use a balance bike. Since balance bikes do not have drive trains (cranks, pedals, etc) they are much lighter and lower to the ground compared to the typical bikes for kids, hence, making it easier for your child to navigate and use it.
How Does a Balance Bike Work?
Balance bikes are made for kids to reach the ground with their feet. For them to propel, they start by pushing off the ground with their feet and moving the bike by walking. This will progress to running, gliding, or striding. You will know that your kid was able to master their balance once they are gliding independently. It means they are ready for the next big step, which is pedaling.
Balance bikes are also a good way to teach children how to properly steer by leaning the bicycle towards the corner, without the fear of them falling since their feet are on the ground. Your kid can keep going on the balance bike as long as they want, so you don’t have to rush them to start with a bike with pedals.
How to Teach Your Kids to Ride a Balance Bike
One of the good things with a balance bike is how simple and easy for your kids to ride it. They don’t need that much guidance when they start using it. To ride the balance bike, your kid will sit on the low saddle while holding on the handlebars and move the bike by pushing his feet on the ground depending on experience, they can either walk, run or glide while sitting on the bike.
Even children who lack courage can start on a balance bike by standing over the frame, in front of a saddle, and just walk normally. By letting them hold the handlebars and getting familiar with the weight and feel of the bike, it will help improve their coordination and can progress to riding while seated.
A balance bike requires minimal instruction. However, before you begin, there are a few things that you need to check:
● Find an open area that is free from rough surfaces and obstacles.
● Find a helmet that will snugly fit your kid to ensure the safety of your kid. It is also another way to maintain the confidence of your child.
● Adjust the height of the saddle to make sure that your kid’s feet are flat on the ground, with their legs straight.
● If the bike has brakes, teach your child how to use it and what it is for.
● You can give your child a gentle push if needed for them to start moving.
● Watch your kid ride the bike. Not only to monitor their safety but also to give your child the assurance that you are there supporting them.
Choosing the Right Balance Bike
There are several factors that you need to consider when choosing the balance bike that will suit your child. Let’s discuss some of them.
Balance bikes, unlike the usual kid’s bike, are sized based on inseam instead of frame or wheel size. Your child should be able to reach the ground with their feet flat on it while sitting in the saddle. To check if you have the right size, measure the inseam of your child with shoes on. It should be the same or slightly longer than the saddle of the bike. Get a bigger bike if the inseam is longer than the maximum saddle height.
Your child should also be comfortable in reaching the handlebars with their body leaning slightly forward. Your child may go faster and maintain an aggressive, forward-leaning stance on the bike if it has a longer arm reach. Balance bikes that are more upright are okay for a shorter distance but it will be difficult to maneuver it forward.
You should go for a lighter bike to help your child to push it with ease. The frames on balance bikes are usually created from wood, plastic, steel, or aluminum alloy. The best choice that you should pick for the material is the aluminum alloy as it is much lighter than that of steel and is rustproof
If you are going for the wood type, it may look cute, however, it does not come with a break. Select the one that is made of marine plywood as this will not warp and tear off when wet.
One of the significant factors when choosing a balance bike is the cost. Expensive bikes are longer-lasting and lighter, for they are using the best materials. You can even have a better price if you are going to resell them. Quality selling bikes use genuine parts that can be replaced or serviced by bicycle shops which can keep it running longer.
Cheaper bikes can help you save money, however, they fail on the build quality and detail. They are also missing some of the essential features such as air tires, brakes, and ball bearings.
Some balance bikes do not have brakes, while others have rear brakes. There are a few balance bikes that have both the front and rear brakes. Make sure that you are going to buy a balance bike that has V brakes since it is more powerful compared to side pull brakes, which ensures the safety of your child. You should also be certain that the levers of the brake are short reach so that your child can use it without any difficulty.
It is recommended that you should choose a balance bike that has wheels with air tires, hubs with steel pokes, and alloy rims. It will give your child more cushioning and grip while riding his bike. Tires that have a narrower smooth tread will roll faster while those with wide knobbly ones will provide better grip on rough surfaces. Air tires can also add confidence to your child since it can give them the comfort that they need while biking.
Your child should be comfortable riding his first bike. You need to look for a saddle that is padded rather than the plastic one. Check for the material first to make sure that it is tough and will not easily tear. When it comes to grips, choose the one that’s made of soft rubber. The best balance bikes are the ones with a ball or cartridge bearing headset, allowing the handlebars to steer or rotate freely.
What is the Best Age?
Balance bikes can help your child in their new adventure with two-wheel independence. It can build their confidence which is a significant key in learning to ride a bicycle, which helps develop coordination and good balance, the reason why balance bikes are made. The perfect age can be different for each individual child it’s best to start them as early as possible. Nowadays there are as many as four options when deciding which balance bike to introduce to your son or daughter.
The Baby Bike
10 inch Balance Bike
12 inch Balance Bike
16 inch Balance Bike
By incorporating a balance bike to your child’s training, you will soon see your kid confidently riding the bike with pedals and getting all the benefits that cycling provides.