We’ve already written articles on why you should not use training wheels with your child and the benefits of balance bikes, so we figured it was time for a more “how-to" guide you can use to teach your child how to ride their balance bike.
By using a balance bike instead of training wheels, you are teaching your child one of the most important aspects of riding a bicycle (balancing while moving forward) before moving on to more advanced skills like pedaling and using the handbrake.
In our experience, starting kids on a balance bike leads to fewer falls, a faster learning curve, and an overall better riding experience than starting them out with training wheels.
Keep reading for how to get started!
Things You Need
- A flat, smooth paved surface (or a slight decline to give them more momentum when coasting)
- Belsize 12-Inch Balance Bike
- Properly-fitted helmet
- Knee/elbow pads and gloves (if your kid is a little nervous about falling)
Step-By-Step Instructions for Balance Bikes
- If you do not have a purpose-made balance bike, remove the pedals from a regular bicycle
- Adjust the seat so that your child’s feet are firmly planted on the ground when they are sitting down. If their heels are off the ground they may not be able to generate enough power to get started or slow down when they are going too fast
- Instruct your child to sit down and push off the grounds with their feet. A wide sidewalk or path is best for this, but if you have a more open space like a driveway or parking lot you may want to use sidewalk chalk to draw a lane for them to try to stay inside
- Once your child has mastered coasting back and forth in a straight line, it may be a good idea to introduce turning. You can take them on short rides around the block or draw in a “racetrack” with sidewalk chalk to turn it into a fun game for them to play
As your child grows and masters the balance bike, they may start looking for the next challenge.
There’s no set time for how long your child should be riding a balance bike. Some rare outliers may only need a few days or weeks of riding a balance bike before they are ready to move on to a bike with pedals, but these kids are the exception to the rule.
Thanks to the adjustable seat on the Belsize balance bike, you can adjust the seat height so the bike can grow with your child before they are ready for the next step.
Most kids will need at least several months up to a year or two before they are fully confident and ready to move on to a pedal bike.
Once your child is confident on the balance bike and ready for their next challenge, this would be a great time to consider checking out a 16-inch bicycle with pedals and handbrakes (with an adjustable seat for most kids age 3-7) or a 20-inch bicycle (for most kids age 7-10.)
If you have been using a regular bicycle with the pedals removed, you can reattach the pedals at this time and have them move on to the next stage of their bicycling journey.
By choosing Belsize for your child’s bicycle, you can rest assured that they will be riding safely in style for years to come.