Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you can’t but help have noticed the waves of young kids riding around on small bikes without pedals. Either in your neighborhood, local park, or maybe even a pump track: balance bikes have turned the cycling industry on its head when it comes to bikes and training wheels. Traditionally, kids would learn with training wheels until they felt comfortable enough to go on their own. At best, kids could make the transition from training wheels over to two wheels fairly quickly and without much injury. At its worst, you’re grabbing the first aid kit and slapping on Band-Aids as soon as the training wheels came off. Balance bikes changed all of that and we’re here to tell you why.
Do you remember the first time you felt balanced on a bike? That floating or flying feeling? At least that is how it felt to me. With a balance bike, kids can learn that feeling faster. Why? The bike and the kid have more freedom to find balance. With training wheels, the bike is restricted from being able to tilt side to side. Kids will often rely on the training wheels, tilting back and forth as they pedal, to find balance. Unfortunately, between the weight and the narrow window of finding balance, this makes for a challenging way to learn. With a balance bike, kids feel that balance every time they pick their feet off the ground. Balance after all is the hardest or scariest part of learning to ride a bike!
Leveling The Playing Field
On average, kids learn to ride a bike at 5 years old and the average 5-year-old weighs about 45 pounds. A traditional bike with training wheels weighs 18-26 pounds, which is about half the weight of your average 5-year-old! Relatively speaking, this would be like an adult 150-pound adult learning how to ride a 75-pound bicycle, much heavier than even the heaviest of electric bikes. Imagine trying to pedal around an electric bike with the battery turned off. Not easy! Balance bikes weigh much less than a kid’s bike with training wheels. A Strider bike only weighs 6.7 pounds!
Why Lighter Is Better
The weight of a balance bike is a huge advantage over a traditional bike with training wheels. A lighter bike is easier to handle and maneuver, which creates a big advantage when it comes to learning. When kids feel like they can control the bike, it gives them the confidence to keep going. The light weight of the bike also causes less fatigue, which means kids can ride longer. After all, the best way to learn is by spending time in the saddle! This has also enabled kids to learn how to ride younger than ever before. Strider advertises that kids can start as young as 15 months old. Your average two-year-old weighs about 25 pounds, the same weight as your average kid’s bike with training wheels!
Getting Them Started
Whether you want to start your kids on a bike with training wheels or a balance bike, the important thing is to get them started in the first place! It is hard to deny the low cost and effectiveness of a balance bike, but if you are still unsure about the best option for your kid we are happy to chat! Shoot us an email or give us a ring.