Balance Bikes are an innovative method of teaching kids how to ride a bike without relying on training wheels. Right from the start, your child will learn how to maintain balance while being aware of their surroundings and, oh yeah, having an amazing time. Check out our resources on how a balance bike can help your child master biking!
The Balance Bike Method
This is a revolutionary method for teaching children how to ride their bicycle without using training wheels. Children who learn how to ride a bicycle using the Balance Bicycle method have fewer falls, a faster learning rate, and have a better experience than with the traditional method.
What are Balance Bikes, and how do they work?
Balance bikes are bikes that have no pedals, and children push themselves along the ground with their feet, figuring out how to find their balance. Once a child has demonstrated that they can balance the bicycle consistently, they graduate to a pedaled bike.
Steps for teaching a child how to ride with a Balance Bike
Things you need:
- Flat, paved space (a slight hill can be used to help kids get some momentum on their coasting--use for downhill, not uphill)
- Balance bicycle, or a regular bicycle that has had the pedals removed
- Knee and elbow pads and bicycle gloves (optional--for children who are nervous about hurting themselves)
- Sidewalk chalk (optional)
- Remove the pedals from the bike (if using a regular bicycle)
- Lower the seat until the child’s feet are flat on the ground (if their heels are even slightly raised, they will have trouble balancing)
- Draw lines about 40’ long, and about 10-15' apart on the pavement
- Have the child push themselves along the ground with their feet, using the "lanes" as guides
- Once they have gotten the hang of that, challenge them to try coasting with their feet up
- When a child successfully coasts 20 feet about three to five times in a row (no wobbling), they can graduate to a pedaled bike
- Once children are on a pedaled bike, make sure that the seat is high enough that they aren’t hitting their knees with their chest, but they should be able to touch the ground quickly and easily with their feet.
- Before you start to practice pedaling, you should review how to brake (even kids with experience riding their bikes will forget how to brake in the excitement of pedaling by themselves)
- Hold the back of the seat (like you would with a traditional bike) to help the children get their balance, and walk with them while they find their balance while pedaling
- No need to let go of the seat without telling them--once you feel them pulling away from your hand, you can let them know that you are letting go, and they should also feel that they’ve got their balance, and will be completely okay with you letting go
- Watch them fly!
Want to see balance bikes in action? Here is a video from Bike New York about how this method works and why it is so effective: