Learning to ride a bike is a huge milestone in your child’s early years and it can develop into a healthy pastime they’ll enjoy for life. Balance bikes can play a significant role in developing these skills from an early age, however by their fourth birthday most children have moved on to a bike with pedals.

Balancing on two wheels is the first stage in learning to ride a bike, and balance bikes serve that exact purpose. Once a child has mastered the art of balancing and pushing themselves forward with their feet then it’s time for them to master peddling! And for parents that means scuttling madly behind their children as they embrace their new-found freedom.

Children who learn to cycle via balance bike, and not a pedal bike with stabilisers, have to learn to balance before learning to peddle. Cycling instructors agree that using a balance bike from the off is the optimum way for children to learn to cycle.

Parents can introduce their child to a balance bike from an early age. Toddlers can push themselves along and brake using their feet, while older or more confident children enjoy learning how to slow down by squeezing the brake.

Balance bikes for beginners
Children will start simply, ambling along on the bike mastering the bell, if you have one fitted, and gripping the handle bars. They will soon want to sit on the saddle and rest their weight there, once their confidence starts to build. Pushing off against the ground, lifting their feet and coasting comes next. Introduce steering by asking them to lean gently to one side and turn the handlebars.

Gaining confidence
Children who have spent hours cruising and slowing down with the soles of their (well-protected) feet will soon be ready to use the brake. Slowing down is as important as kicking off, but with some expert instruction from their parents children will soon get the hang of putting on the brake.

Which bike?
Investing a little bit more money in a higher-quality balance bike increases the likelihood that you can sell it on to recoup costs. Younger siblings or friends are also more likely to benefit from a handed-down balance bike which was built to last. You will probably wind up up carrying the balance bike home on various occasions, so buying a model you can comfortably haul around is sensible. And can your child comfortably squeeze the brake? Some bikes designed for older children will be difficult for smaller hands to control, so test the brake out before you buy.

A wealth of information about buying children’s bicycles and teaching them to ride is available at Ready, Set, Ride, here – https://www.readysetride.co.uk/buy-a-balance-or-pedal-bike

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