Balance Bikes For Kids – How a Toddler Push Bike Can Teach Your Child Balance

One of the best innovations in active toys for young children is the push bike. According to manufacturer, style, and sometimes, age appropriateness, there are various terms for this unique concept. No matter the name, though, it has been rendering obsolete the early mastery of balance, while pedaling an unstable three wheeler, or sitting too high for feet to easily reach stable ground. A young child’s play life should intertwine fun with physical skills, hence enter the push bike or trike, balance bike, walking bike, running bike, training or transition bike, all terms for bikes without pesky pedals!

As soon as a child walks, they can begin using a simple “push trike” with a 3 wheel configuration to assist balance. Some, though having four wheels, use the “trike” moniker, and are more like “ride-ons,” popular toddler scooting devices. Pedal-free, being geared to such young children, both three and four wheeled varieties promote self propulsion using legs and feet. Nonetheless, most significant for even these simplest push bikes is the absence of pedals and the lowness to the ground that characterizes all balance bikes, no matter the style, size, and age appropriateness.

It isn’t surprising that the ingenious concept of push bikes for toddlers was initially popularized and widely marketed in Europe, where bikes are more seriously used for transportation. Moreover, it wasn’t long until high quality designs emerged to accommodate a wider age range, from beginning walking, to ages 4 -6, when children transition to riding a regular pedaled two-wheeler.

These more age-versatile, pedal-free, innovations elevate “balance bike” to another level, whether with initial two wheel configurations or those able to be adjusted from three to two. The two wheel mode, perhaps, drives the terms “training” or “transition” bikes used by some manufacturers. The two wheel design easily facilitates riding preparation, without cumbersome training wheels that often cause tipping and instability, instead giving kids the confidence to learn balance, steering, and control.

Age-spanning balance bikes constructed from wood or welded steel, with adjustable frames and seats are an investment that will grow with the child from the time he/she can walk. Furthermore, an advantage of no-pedals, is that balance bikes, when compared with traditional pedaled “trikes,” or two-wheelers with training wheels, are much lighter in weight, with seats lower to the ground so that feet may be readily placed flat when stabilization is necessary.

Balance bikes, therefore, offer a natural progression of motor skills, culminating in confident, controlled balance. In the beginning, young children just take hold of the bike and walk, next sitting and using their legs and feet to go forward, then finally transitioning to pushing off and coasting. In fact, some models have footrests built onto the frame for gliding. Also, a great “take-along” feature for parents, or when paved surfaces are not handy, balance bikes can easily go into trunks or backseats, and may be used on grass, sand, gravel, dirt, even in puddles, unlikely to get stuck when feet, unhampered by pedals, are navigating close to the ground. For that same reason, they are safer, being unlikely to tip when rounding corners with the speed children favor. Safety is further enhanced without pedals, which often cause bruising and cutting or entanglement with others and subsequent spills.

Additionally, whether by initial design or adjustment, a 2-wheel configuration allows children to get comfortable with the form they will someday ride; and, to their advantage, they can do so lower to their center of gravity and without pedals that require more coordination and balance skills when perched further from the helpful ground. The no-pedals, close-to-the-ground construction allows good balance and coordination to develop, while easing worries about falling or tipping, thereby promoting learning while having fun. In a child’s world, why not propel oneself comfortably, with knees bent and feet firmly grounded, gather some speed, then graduate to coasting? When more physically mature, it will only seem natural to engage in the more complex pedaling that requires the balance and coordination already so expertly learned!