Bicycle For Kids Alternatives You Had Never Considered Before
Are you thinking of introducing your child to the excitement and freedom of riding a bike? Teaching a child this skill is a time-honored tradition, but it has been changing with the advancements in technology and innovation. For instance, in the past decade, we have seen the introduction of what is known as a balance bike.
These are bikes with slight modifications that help your child balance, improve gross motor skills, build confidence and smoothen the transition to a pedal bike.
Deciding between the best kids bikes available
Like most people in my generation, I learned how to ride a pedal bicycle with the help of a tricycle and training wheels. I can remember clearly how much fun I had using my tricycle and how fast I got over it and onto training wheels. I became skilled at using my training wheels in a jiffy - within a few days, I could go down the walkway on my own.
I also remember the first time the stabilizers were removed – it felt like I had never been on a bicycle my entire life. My dad had to run beside me the whole time to make sure I do not fall.
Needless to say, I fell a good number of times before I got there, it was fun and free, but also scary.
A balance bike is designed to act as an easier alternative for kids to learn how to ride a bicycle earlier than it was thought possible and without all the falling normally associated with it. To remove all distractions, they come with no pedals, chain, crank or brakes. Toddlers as young as 18 months can ride these bikes by pushing themselves forward using their feet while sited. It is designed specifically for teaching kids the most vital skill needed for riding a bike – balance.
Deciding between the best kids bikes available can be a pain the neck with the debate of whether to go with a tricycle, stabilizers or a balance bicycle still hot. All the three types provide a different kind of practice for riding an actual bike, therefore, they can ride all the options if possible.
A balance bike teaches kids how to balance and steer, tricycles help children fine-tune their pedaling skills, while training wheels help children get comfortable with coaster brakes.
What are kids balance bikes?
A kids balance bike, also called pedal-less or glider bikes are a revolutionary bicycle that comes with all the features necessary to teach toddlers how to balance and steer on two wheels. By helping kids with these two basic skills, it makes it extremely easy for them when transitioning to a bicycle with pedals.
These bikes are normally very light, with both the frame and handles designed for easy gliding. Since most do not come with brakes, they are stopped by dragging both feet on the ground.
Tricycles and training wheels are cumbersome to ride in most terrains and also make it difficult to transition to a bicycle since they do not teach a child how to balance. The balance bike was invented to solve these issues, and they are doing great in this regard.
What is the better option for a little kids bike?
In case you did not know much about these little kids bikes, you will be pleased to know that they come in different types and sizes. The smallest ones are capable of fitting children as young as 1 year old, while the biggest can fit even a 12-year old, with many varying features.
Compared to tricycles and stabilizers which require much coordination and effort to operate, toddlers can jump onto these bikes and glide away. They do not need any push-bars, therefore, your kid will learn to ride all by themselves, boosting their confidence.
Deciding on your child's first bike- by age
Normally, kids can start enjoying the fun of riding a balance bike between the ages of 1 and 6 years. As a result, this would be the perfect first bicycle to get your child.
In the first stage (1-3 years), the bike allows the toddler to get acquainted with being on two wheels. Starting to develop balancing skills this soon is critical in helping them master a regular bike with ease.
In the second stage (3-5 years), your child might still require more practice before shifting to a bike with pedals. Most bikes for kids are adjustable to grow bigger or smaller in order to fit the size of the child better.
smarTrike for instance has a bike for children of all ages.
If you're looking for a bike for 3 year old
Folding balance bike
If you were looking for a bike for 3-year old, you can find a foldable bike with a simple design such as the STR7 that is meant just for that. First, these bikes come with adjustable frames, seats, and handlebars, which can fit any 3-year-old perfectly.
Due to its adjustability, your kid can grow with the bike from when they are 2 until they are 4 or 5 before going to a pedal bike. The lack of pedals makes them very easy to store and transport. Considering you might have to take your child to the park or somewhere else with space for practice, this is a bike to keep in mind.
If you're considering a bike for 4 year old
2-in-1 balance bike
If you were searching for a bike for 4-year old kids, there are models designed to keep up with your kid’s fast growth around this time such as smarTrike’s 2-in-1- bike.
It comes with an option to expand its size and capabilities as the child gets better and bigger. For instance, it comes with adjustable handlebars, seat, and frame.
When your child grows in both size and skill, the bike can be raised higher to look like a normal bike, the only thing missing would be the pedals. Raising the bike higher helps teach children how to balance on a regular bike.
The advantages of getting a bike without pedals
As we have learned already, there are many advantages that come with the act of removing pedals and tweaking the design of a bicycle to make a balance bike. These bikes without pedals make learning balancing and steering the main priority before a child can transition to a regular bike with pedals.
Learning to pedal is much simpler and comes more naturally compared to balancing. Therefore, after they master their balancing skills, they can proceed to learn how to pedal and ride a normal bike quickly and without much fuss.
Using stabilizers or training wheels has the opposite effect. Your child will learn how to pedal and steer. However, they will have to learn how to balance all over again when transitioning to a normal bicycle. Besides, if they were used to leaning on either side due to the false support offered by the training wheels, they would have to unlearn such bad habits fast before they master balancing, which can take ages.
Normally, a balance bike is very minimal and hence very light and require little effort to move, unlike training wheels and tricycles which often come with many accessories. Even a toddler can handle their bikes without any issues. Training wheels and tricycles are heavy and prone to get stuck, requiring intense adult supervision.
Cornering is a critical skill for children to master when riding a bike since it requires leaning while still maintaining balance. When using supports such as stabilizers, children do not learn how to lean when making a corner, since turning the handlebars while pedaling does the job. As a result, cornering becomes a big issue for such children when transitioning to a bike with pedals.
Moreover, a good balance bike has to be low in weight, with a low center of gravity and very little accessories. This makes it easy to lean in and corner comfortably. Besides, if the lean gets too deep, your child can simply support themselves by putting their feet down.
The cultural impact of bicycle for kids
For a long time, tricycles and bikes with training wheels were the most utilized tools for teaching children how to move on two wheels. Although they might help build the child’s ability to pedal and some fun, they do not offer much else.
These tools make children get dependent on them, and soon they start leaning on one side without noticing. They give young riders a false sense of confidence which will cause issues later when they are transitioning to a normal bike.
The balance bike is changing how kids are learning how to ride. Thanks to these new bicycles for kids, children can start learning how to ride from as early as 1 year old.
Moreover, by learning the right skills at the right time, the process becomes smooth, fun and short. It is not rare anymore to see children transitioning to pedal bikes at 3 or 4 years old after learning to ride on a glide bike.
smarTrike has you covered with the best kids bikes options
Designing the best kids bike is something that many companies have tried, but only a few have gotten it right. Through innovative and novel designs, smarTrike has ensured that there is a balance bike for every child, from the age of 6 months to 12 years old.
Introducing your child to a bicycle is one of the most exciting stages of parenting. You can make it even more fun by checking out all the alternatives that are now available as your kid’s first bike.
As shown clearly, tricycles and training wheels are not the only way of teaching children how to ride bikes. As a matter of fact, some could argue that they are the wrong way of teaching your kids to ride. You can find a balance bike in many designs and sizes, which can help children of any age learn how to learn a real bike faster and more naturally.