Cycling, known by most kids as bike riding, has been part of a child’s rite of passage for decades. But for parents, questions abound. Why is bicycling good for your kids? When do you start a child on a bike? What kind of bike is the best? Answers are very much dependent on your child’s readiness and your own knowledge about cycling. Below are some questions to consider as you encourage your child to learn to this thrilling sport that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.
Why is bicycling good for your kids?
1. Bike riding is good for developing healthy bodies.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends at least sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise each day for children. Depending on the user, bike riding can provide anywhere from moderate to vigorous exercise and help children to develop strength and endurance, develop coordination skills, build healthy bones and lean muscles and reduce fat and the development of type 2 diabetes.
2. Biking benefits kids’ mental health and ability to learn.
According to the American Association of Pediatrics, physical activities such as biking have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in children. Also, biking to school tends to improve a child’s focus and concentration while there.
3. Biking can be enjoyed by the entire family.
Moms, dads, kids, grandparents and more can join in a family bike ride. Not only are the health benefits good, everyone can enjoy quality family time together. Exploring local trails or tackling new trails is fun, whether you’re challenging each other to break a family record or enjoying a leisurely ride.
4. Bike riding is an environmentally responsible form of transportation.
Before and after kids learn to drive, biking is a great way to get around. Whether riding down to a friend’s house or making the trek to school, your child is doing awesome things for the environment like reducing carbon emissions, lessening parking problems and helping to alleviate traffic congestion.
5. Bike riding is just plain fun!
So many kids have learned to bike and enjoy the thrill of the wind in their faces. The taste of independence is exciting and being able to get around without depending on parents is equally enticing. To quote John F. Kennedy, one of the most beloved U. S. Presidents, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.”
When do you start a child on a bike?
At 2-3 years, a child can learn to maneuver a balance bike, given that the handbrake is easily pressed. A tricycle or bicycle with training wheels is ideal for a child ages 4-8. Typically, a child can balance himself/herself well enough by age 5 to be able to ride a bike without training wheels. Of course, you know your child, and he or she may be ready earlier or later.
What kind of bike is best?
Once children tire of ride-on toys, a tricycle or bicycle with training wheels may be the next option. However, many of the models, although safe, are bulky and heavy. In addition, a child’s coordination skills may not be developed enough to pedal and steer at the same time, resulting in frustration.
A relatively new (and extremely popular in Europe) trend is called a balance bike. The main features of this bike are that it has a hand brake and absolutely no pedals at all.
What are the advantages of a balance bike?
1. Kids can learn to use them safely after the age of two.
With little to no instruction, kids easily figure out how to ride a balance bike. Stopping with feet or the handbrake takes a little practice, but overall, balance bike riding is an independently learned activity. Much pride and self-confidence results from successfully learning to ride, and they begin to love bike riding.
2. Balance bikes teach situational awareness.
Kids can begin to learn to use their bodies to perform tasks such as starting, stopping, turning, slowing and more. This is also a great time to teach kids basic traffic safety.
3. Balance bikes are a good, family-friendly exercise activity.
If you’ve ever slowly followed along a beginning bike rider while trying to get some exercise yourself, you know how frustrating it can be. With a child on a balance bike, you can run or power walk without a novice biker holding you back. In addition, children using a balance bike (yes, even toddlers and preschoolers) can build up to several miles of riding (and running uphill), making for a much longer time outdoors.
4. Balance bikes provide a good transition to regular bikes when the child is four or five years old.
However you go about it, learning to ride a bike fosters important relationships and is quite rewarding. Some of the Best Balance Bikes for Kids may be just right for your child. As American humor writer Mark Twain put it once:
“Learn to ride a bicycle. You will not regret it if you live.”
The Best Balance Bikes for 2019
WOOM BIKES USA Balance Bike
Woom 1 is really one of the best balance bikes for kids in the market right now. This balance bike is extremely popular on Amazon too and the reviews are very good. The ride is so smooth and good that your kids will enjoy it from day one. The Woom 1 is made in the USA and the quality is top notch!
They’ve used a very low step-through frame which is very good for the toddlers to hop on and off the balance bike. It is very lightweight too and it even has included a handbrake for stopping. The handlebars are high enough for the toddlers to balance the bike and this gives a very natural upright position for the kids.
This balance bike teaches the kids safety! Learning how to use the handbrake of a bike at an early age is essential for the transition to a pedal bike on a later stage. WOOM BIKES USA offers this balance bike with four color options but sometimes the most popular colors are out of stock on Amazon so you should check before making a buying decision.
In general, the Woom 1 is very safe and well-made product and I highly recommend it for your kids. It is definitely one of the best balance bikes for toddlers. The Woom 1 is good for age range 1.5 to 4 years.
Early Rider Classic Bike
Early Rider Classic is a really special balance bike. It is made of high-quality, water and weatherproof, marine-grade birch which is used for making boats! All this means that the balance bike is engineered to last. The ride is smooth and fun and all the kids between 2 and 4-1/2 years can enjoy it.
The front tire of the Early Rider Classic is 14 inches and the rear tire is 12 inches and they are both pneumatic. I really like the wood balance bikes because they look amazing and they are environmentally friendly. It’s very nice to teach your kids that the natural materials are always better than the artificial ones.
Unfortunately, there is also one downside of this bike. The handlebars are not height-adjustable, but it looks like this is not a big deal because the kids grow so fast. If the handlebars are high for your kid I guess that in 1-2 months they will be just perfect!
In conclusion, I have to admit that the Early Rider Classic balance bike is a really good bike made of wood and your kids will enjoy it! If you want to be environmentally-friendly use mostly natural materials this bike is a perfect choice.
Retrospec Cub Kids Balance Bike No Pedal Bicycle
Retrospec Cub Balance Bike is another great choice for good and reliable balance bike for your kid. I have to start here with the news that this is one of the best sellers on Amazon and also a very highly-rated product. I personally don’t like the frame design and the overall style of this bikes, but this is not the most important factor which you have to consider before buying a balance bike.
The tires of this balance bike are designed to be air-free which give you one benefit – they are totally maintenance free. They are very wide too which minimizes the risk of tipping over when riding on uneven paths. The construction is really very lightweight and rigid. I am positively sure that your kid won’t be able to break it and it really looks indestructible.
The handlebars here are adjustable which is a nice feature for every day growing kids. It is 480mm wide which makes it very easy to turn. The seat is also adjustable which makes this balance bike very convenient and easy to use for kids aged 2-3.
Retrospec Cub Balance Bike is a very well-made balance bike which your kids will love. You just have to read all the positive reviews on Amazon and you will be convinced easily. It’s definitely one of the best balance bikes for kids.
FirstBIKE Street Bike with Brake
Another great looking balance bike made for kids here. The award-winning German design is very distinctive and your kids will love the green color. This balance bike is very lightweight and the ride is very smooth and comfortable for the toddlers. FirstBike Street Bike is suited with child-friendly rear drum brakes which are very different from the others we have seen already. The drum is encased in the rear which makes it very safe for your child.
The balance bike is very rigid and almost impossible to break and this is very important for every kid. With its weatherproof composite frame, air tires, safe drum brake and the air tires this bike is definitely one of the strongest contenders for the crown – the best balance bike for your kids. As we mentioned the frame is a weatherproof composite frame which has no sharp edges. It also has recessed bolts which mean that when the kid falls on top of the balance bike ( which will happen all the time ) it will prevent injuries.
In conclusion, I have to say that the FirstBike Street Bike with brakes is a perfect balance bike for kids. It is available in three models with different tires – FirstBIKE street, FirstBIKE Cross and FristBIKE Limited and Racing Edition.
Haro Bikes Prewheelz 10 Balance Bike
Haro is one of the few serious bike companies which decided to enter the children bike market. This is not very common because the big money is always in the expensive bikes and not in the $100 balance bikes. Haro’s balance bike is very nicely made and the construction is of high-quality. The bike is very sturdy and it can handle a lot of abuse from your child. One of the things that we don’t like about this bike is that the bolts are exposed and your child might fall and injure on it.
The handlebar is adjustable which is nice and the tires are tubeless and very very scuff resistant. The frame is really small which means that even 18-months toddlers can learn to ride this bike. But this is also a downside because your child with outgrown it really fast. In general, this bike is very good and I recommend it for your kids. It could be the perfect Christmass present and your kids will love it.
There is also another method in which your kid would participate in cycling and eventually would love this sport. You can use the so-called – bike trailers for kids. Using them is fun and unforgettable experience for every child at this age.
I want to help 10 000 000 people around the world learn how to ride a bicycle and find the joy of cycling to work. Thank you for being a part of the Yes Cycling community.