Most adults today learned how to ride a bike starting with a tricycle, then moving up to a pedal bike with training wheels before removing the training wheels and learning to ride on two wheels. However, recent research has found that this route may not be the best way to learn. Tricycles and training wheels don’t teach kids the balance skills they need to quickly learn to ride a two wheel bicycle.
What Are Balance Bikes?
Balance bikes are two wheel bikes made without pedals, so kids can use their feet to move, stop, steer and turn around. This gives them more control and maneuverability, as well as the confidence to keep riding. “There are two parts to learning to ride a bicycle: balancing and pedaling,” explains Cadel Evans, Australian winner of the Tour de France. “Balance bikes don’t have any pedals, so kids only have to focus on one thing – balancing. This makes the learning process a whole lot easier for them.”
Why Use a Balance Bike?
Balance bikes encourage kids to use their arms and lift their legs while moving forward, which builds strength and helps them fine tune their motor skills, coordination and agility. They’re much safer than tricycles or training wheels due to their light weight and small size. Their seats are closer to the ground, so kids don’t have far to go if they fall. The small size also makes them easy to transport. They fit perfectly in the backseat of a car, and can be easily picked up when your child gets tired of riding.
With balance bikes, children can learn to ride a bike at a younger age, as young as 18 months old. Most kids learn to ride their balance bikes right away, and begin coasting with their feet up after only one week. After developing their skills on a balance bike, kids as young as three years old can begin riding a pedal bike without training wheels.
What’s Wrong with Tricycles and Training Wheels?
Tricycles are heavier, slower and harder to maneuver than balance bikes. They tip over easily during turns or on uneven surfaces, which leads to more falls. Balance bikes roll smoothly on just about any terrain, and make it easier for kids to stop and turn without assistance. This video demonstrates perfectly.
Training wheels make a bike unbalanced. The wheels tilt to one side, creating a false sense of balance. Once a child transitions to riding a bike without training wheels, they have to unlearn how to ride unbalanced and learn how to ride balanced. With a balance bike, kids begin to learn balancing skills right away. They’re much more prepared for riding a pedal bike.
About Kinderfeets Bikes
The first Kinderfeets balance bike was created by Dutch designer, Oscar Mulder. Mulder grew up in the Netherlands, where bicycling is a way of life. He wanted to share that experience with his two year old son, Sebastiaan. The name Kinderfeets is a play on the Dutch word, kinderfiets, which means “child’s bike.” All Kinderfeets bikes are handmade from sustainable birch wood or bamboo. Some of them have a unique chalkboard finish that lets kids use their creativity to decorate their bikes with chalk.
Kinderfeets Balance Bikes have innovative foot pegs, which teach children where to put their feet when riding a pedal bike, and make gliding more comfortable. They also feature adjustable seats that grow along with your child.
Kinderfeets Tiny Tot balance bikes have three wheels, like a tricycle, but without pedals. They’re designed so that children as young as one year old can ride them. Kinderfeets Tiny Tots are great because they can be converted to a two wheel balance bike as your toddler grows.
Kinderfeets Bamboo Bikes are made from high quality durable bamboo, which is stronger and heartier than most hardwood. Bamboo produces more oxygen and absorbs more carbon dioxide than trees. It takes only 3-5 years to mature, whereas hardwood takes 30-50 years. Bamboo also requires no fertilisers or chemicals to reach maturation, so it’s great for the environment.
Why We Love Kinderfeets Bikes:
- Classic bikes are made from sustainable birch wood from a replenishable source
- Bamboo bikes are made from bamboo grown in developing countries, supporting a sustainable way of living for impoverished communities
- Airless tires made of biodegradable rubber
- Chalkboard finish paint is water based and the lacquer is nontoxic
- Kinderfeets plants a tree for every bike they sell through Trees for the Future
- Recently earned the Toy Man Eco-Recognition Seal
Image Source: Kinderfeets