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Balance bikes: The best first bike for your toddler

October 31, 2022

A balance bike is the best first bike for your toddler because it develops gross motor skills and an easy transition to pedal bikes.

Balance bikes are currently considered worldwide as the best first bike for toddlers. A balance bike is a two-wheeled bicycle without pedals, where your toddler will use their own body strength and balance to move the bike forward. It is great fun, and once your child has mastered this, they can then move on to riding a two-wheeled pedal bike without ever needing training wheels. 

You can start your child on a balance bike from 18 months, which means a much earlier start to their biking journey. This article will discuss the benefits of balance bikes and why it is the best first bike for your toddler.

1. Gross motor skill development

The main difference between a balance bike and a traditional bike is that your child will immediately start learning how to use their body weight to balance themselves. They develop core muscle strength and stronger coordination skills by starting with a balance bike versus a traditional bike with training wheels. 

Your child has complete control because they use their feet and leg strength to propel themselves forward and secure themselves. Children become familiar with both balance and motion simultaneously. They develop their gross motor skills, and this lays a foundation for fine motor skills development.

2. Balance bikes build confidence

A balance bike will build confidence in your child because it is easy to use. Children feel more secure on their bikes because the bicycle seat is closer to the ground. Traditional bikes have a higher seat due to the pedals that need to be a certain height above the ground. This high seat feels unsettling for toddlers. Being lower to the ground will give your child more confidence to start using their bike and they will feel more independent to be able to navigate by themselves.

You child will feel in control by having their feet firmly touch the ground, so that they can decide how much they want to move. They can pick up pace as they feel more comfortable using the bike, and as they build their strength and balance, they will become more confident in their abilities and will naturally love to explore using their bike.

3. Easy transition to a pedal bike

Using a balance bike as a first bike means that the transition to a pedal bike is easier, and usually earlier, than compared to starting with a traditional three-wheeled bike. Your child will go straight from a balance bike to riding a two-wheeled bike, no training wheels needed.

The reason that the transition is easier is that your child is already familiar with how to balance. Hence, the only thing they need to learn is pushing the pedals. A child that has learned on training wheels first will usually find it quite scary and unfamiliar, especially at a young age, to coordinate how to balance once the training wheels are removed. But for your child, that has started on a balance bike, they have already developed their coordination and strength to move and manage a bike, which means the transition to pedals is smooth and only adds more fun and speed to their biking adventures.

4. Fun and exercise on a balance bike

All bikes are fun, but balance bikes are more fun. Besides riding a bike, many kids enjoy using their balance bikes to do balancing tricks that they can't do using a traditional bike. It is common to find children who have progressed to pedal bikes that still use (and love) their bikes to do tricks and play around on them for years later.

Balance bikes gives a great physical workout because they require the use of body strength and endurance and uses more muscle power than when using a traditional bike. 

5. Earlier start to bike riding

You can get your toddler started on a balance bike from the age of 18 months, as long as they are strong enough to walk and hold the bike themselves. Besides being lower to the ground, these bikes are lighter than other traditional bikes because do not have pedals and other features that add to the weight. This makes them safe for toddlers and gives them the independence and freedom to explore biking at an early age.

By Siham Arieff

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