Thinking about getting your kids a bike with training wheels or a tricycle before you buy you may want to consider a Balance Bike. This concept has been very popular in Europe for many years and like most European concepts is making inroads in the U.S. These "ride-on" toys look like small bicycles sans wheels and gears. Although some may be skeptical the idea of the balance bike is to teach a child to ride a two-wheel bicycle without the need of training wheels.
The concept is simple. Learning balance is the most critical element to learning how to ride a bicycle. The common approach to teaching a child to ride is to introduce them to a pedal bike with training wheels. Rather than teaching balance, training wheels provide children a false sense of balance. The eventual transition from training wheels to a regular bike can be difficult, frustrating and slow. A balance bike eases this transition by teaching balance the right way. Since there are no pedals, the child's feet rest firmly on the ground. This position is comfortable and allows the child to start, stop, and control speed at will. Initially the child will begin by walking the bike around at a slow speed. As they become more comfortable, they will begin to run or scoot with it. Eventually instincts will take over and they will begin to glide relying on their new found ability to balance.
More and more options for balance bikes are becoming available to parents. One brand that has become very popular in Europe and now is available in the US is the Early Rider Balance Bike. We did a comparison of the Early Rider to other balance bikes are the market and found many positive attributes that this bike had that the others didn't. I would be happy to tell you more about the Balance Bike concept and Early Rider Bikes (seen here at www.tykerider.com)