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Thread: Balance bikes

  1. #1
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    Balance bikes

    Any tips for getting children used to their balance bike. My daughter just turned 3, and she's fearless ( I've aged 20 years in her 3), but I have a hard time getting her to pick her feet up and coast. I don't want to be pushy, but I know she can do it, and she'd love it. I've thought of giving up on it and getting her a little bike with pedals and training wheels instead.

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    Find a place where you can have her coast down a gentle slope (without hitting anything).

    Ideally, once she can balance you should try to transition her directly to a 2-wheel pedal bike without training wheels. Using training wheels can greatly delay kids ability to learn to ride a bike as they dont teach the balance skill needed to lean into turns.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ser jameson View Post
    Any tips for getting children used to their balance bike. My daughter just turned 3, and she's fearless ( I've aged 20 years in her 3), but I have a hard time getting her to pick her feet up and coast. I don't want to be pushy, but I know she can do it, and she'd love it. I've thought of giving up on it and getting her a little bike with pedals and training wheels instead.
    My best advice is to just let it come. We walk around the neighborhood and my son learned over time that he could lift his feet on hills but I never pushed him outside his comfort zone. It's super easy to push kids too hard and have them completely reject cycling. My son made the transition to a pedal bike instantly but then almost steered into a ton of cactus because he didn't understand the brakes and is now a little hesitant to ride it. We don't push him to do so and he is finally getting back on it however we have friends that did push and their son hasn't ridden his bike in a couple of years now and has no desire to join mom or dad on the trails or road or just a ride around the neighborhood.
    Try this: HTFU

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    Using training wheels can greatly delay kids ability to learn to ride a bike.
    Though I do like the balance bikes, and know that some kids can get kinda stuck on the training wheels for awhile, I think most move past them pretty quickly. If you think training wheels might get her rolling, there's no reason at all not to try it.

    Some kids will actually learn better by starting with pedaling and braking and then adding the balance aspect afterward. Hell, that's how we all did it. My son never had a scootbike, but was racing BMX by 5 and turned into a real little shredder in no time. Every kid is different, can't hurt to give her the option. Also, she's really young. Yeah, there are kids out there that get it at 3, but there are plenty that don't, or just aren't really all that interested. In the long run, whether she starts riding at 3 or at 7 has little bearing on what type of rider she turns into. (Or maybe she won't like riding at all and you're gonna have to learn how to get around on the uneven bars instead )

    Oh, and you can also take the cranks off the regular bike and get enough of the scoot-bike effect to help make the balance thing click. (I've seen this work in no time for a couple kids that couldn't ditch their trainers.) Good luck and have fun.
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  5. #5
    ilmfat
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    we had to push our oldest (now 5) a little, and we did go from balance bike to 12" kmart bike with training wheels to 20" hotrock.

    in 4 months.

    our younger daughter lacks the "persevering spirit". we finally got her on a (too big) pedal bike and she can pedal, but cant start by herself, or turn around in our driveway. she cries while she rides because she is so scared, but once she calms down and gets off the bike, she wants to get back on.

    she's a weird kid.

    she is 3 1/4 and we got her on a banshee. if i coulda got her a gremlin (now furi), i woulda, and she'd be tearin it up already. alas, when i ordered the banshee, i didnt know the furi was coming.

    Spawn Cycle Furi | Spawn Cycles - Born to Ride

    or you could call the shops in vancouver and see if anyone has a Spawn gremlin in stock.

    if i was an hour from canadialand, she'd be on a gremlin.

    stupid schwinn.

    if she dont like it, i guarantee you u can sell it for 90% of retail.

    but she'll like it.

    worst case scenario, you CAN put training wheels on the furi.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrayJay View Post
    Find a place where you can have her coast down a gentle slope (without hitting anything).

    Ideally, once she can balance you should try to transition her directly to a 2-wheel pedal bike without training wheels. Using training wheels can greatly delay kids ability to learn to ride a bike as they dont teach the balance skill needed to lean into turns.
    2 things were important to get our 3 year old rolling. She actually mastered the balance bike at 2.5 and now at almost 4 she is getting it down on how to ride her 14" bike.

    The first key with the balance bike is the fit. They need to be able to sit on the seat and have both feet touch the ground. Then we got her to learn to put her feet up by coasting down the gently slope of the driveway. A few times rolling down the driveway was all it took and she was off and coasting, but if the bike doesn't fit properly, it won't happen.

    Another big help is they learn a lot by watching. I have a BMX bike that I use to show her how daddy does it. Then I have her follow me and do what I do, once I demonstrate it first.

    The last thing is bribery. Kids love ice cream and will try almost anything for a reward. We got our 3 year old to put her head under the water willingly in swim lessons by promising a scope of ice-cream reward.

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    I been looking for a good store to buy a bike has anyone used gobalancebike.com before?

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    I know if you search for balance bikes, they end up spamming every site you're on. The "focused advertising" is out of hand.
    I see Striders, and the like pop up on Ebay all the time.
    My Strider has been thru 3-4 kids since I've had it, and I bought it at Goodwill for $20 or so. My youngest is only 1, so this thing will probably see a couple more kids learning to ride before she even gets to use it. LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by indianadave View Post
    I know if you search for balance bikes, they end up spamming every site you're on. The "focused advertising" is out of hand.
    I see Striders, and the like pop up on Ebay all the time.
    My Strider has been thru 3-4 kids since I've had it, and I bought it at Goodwill for $20 or so. My youngest is only 1, so this thing will probably see a couple more kids learning to ride before she even gets to use it. LOL
    Yeah after looking for the a place to buy one I got the same spam from strider lol. I think I gonna buy gobalancebike just because of this.

  10. #10
    ilmfat
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    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmfat View Post
    Looks nice but they don't have strider bikes which I wanted. I gonna go with gobalancebike the price is right and free shipping.

  12. #12
    ilmfat
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    My B.

    I wish Ida got one w a brake, so I'm kind of a zealot for push bikes w brakes.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmfat View Post
    My B.

    I wish Ida got one w a brake, so I'm kind of a zealot for push bikes w brakes.
    By the time they get old enough to use a hand brake, I'd probably rather have them on a real bike with the balance bike for short trips only.

    There are a ton of balance bikes on craigslist around me. Strider makes nice bikes but I wouldn't want to pony up $150 for one. I have a cheap-o from JCPenny that cost $25 and a Diamondback for $45 and my daughter loves them, but she's now ready to ride her big girl bike all the time.

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    ilmfat
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    i had my daughter on the trail @ 2 yrs old, but what held her back from really rippin it up was the lack of a brake.

    if you're just lookin for driveway/bikepath, thats cool.

    if you wanna put your kid on the trail, v-brake is the way to go.

    my 3(and 1/4) yr has such an easy time with v-brakes, i could definitely see her using them @ 2.

    we'll find out, as my daughter is a lil too small for her banshee, so ima get her a furi to use for 3 months. then my neighbor's kid turns 2 and we'll push the bounds of possibility.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

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    My youngest had a back pedal brake from his 2nd birthday (had been riding an old bike for 6 weeks by then), now at 3 he has v-brakes and that's perfect.

    IMO brakes are not really needed on balance bikes, feet do the job just fine!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmfat View Post
    i had my daughter on the trail @ 2 yrs old, but what held her back from really rippin it up was the lack of a brake.

    if you're just lookin for driveway/bikepath, thats cool.

    if you wanna put your kid on the trail, v-brake is the way to go.

    my 3(and 1/4) yr has such an easy time with v-brakes, i could definitely see her using them @ 2.

    we'll find out, as my daughter is a lil too small for her banshee, so ima get her a furi to use for 3 months. then my neighbor's kid turns 2 and we'll push the bounds of possibility.
    Quote Originally Posted by ProjectMayhem View Post
    My youngest had a back pedal brake from his 2nd birthday (had been riding an old bike for 6 weeks by then), now at 3 he has v-brakes and that's perfect.

    IMO brakes are not really needed on balance bikes, feet do the job just fine!
    Good to know! I had read a few things that said you should use pedal brakes for young kids cause they couldn't handle a hand brake until they were older, like around 5, so it's good to hear some real world experience that is not the case.

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    The caveat is v-brakes.

    I've heard some kids can handle caliper (u brakes), but I've seen plenty that couldn't get the leverage.
    crap! i gotta learn to climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ilmfat View Post
    The caveat is v-brakes.

    I've heard some kids can handle caliper (u brakes), but I've seen plenty that couldn't get the leverage.
    Side-pull brakes were awful, v-brakes are such an improvement.

  19. #19
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    Good Read about why not to use training wheels vs Balance Bikes
    No More Training Wheels: Why Balance Bikes are Better

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    Nice thread and pretty timely for me as well.

    With the weather getting better I've finally had the opportunity to take the balance bike out and pretty much have the same issues with my kid. So decided to check out this forum but really didn't expect to find a thread similar to the issue I was having.

    My kid immediately wants to put his feet up without pushing and wants me to push him. Then he loses interest pretty quickly when he either falls or realizes that I won't give him a push.

    Been kind of tempted to maybe just put him on a pedal bike with no training wheels and do trial by fire kind of deal. This way he'd be able to get the bike moving on his own.. But figure it's better to take it slow. We have been slowly making progress each time so far. Maybe three times.

    As others mentioned just let her go at her own pace and don't pressure her. The best is to have her see other kids do it. Of course where we go kids mostly ride scooters and he keeps on talking about wanting a scooter.

    I might give a gentle slope a try but am just afraid of him taking a spill.

    Good luck!

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    Also, make sure you have the seat low enough. Since they need to run, they should have a decent bend at the knee, with feet flat on the ground. Beyond that, just let them have fun. They'll get there when they're ready. The only thing I would do to encourage them along is hop on your own bike at the same time, and obviously have a lot of fun riding in small circles around them.

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    Try the record approach. Start her at one point and let her go. Thats her record. Next time see if she can beat her record with her feet up. Give her a starting point and the point that she lifts her feet up. Mark where she puts her feet down with chalk. If she is competitive you'll soon be buying a bigger bike no training wheels with pedals. Good Luck keep it fun

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmum View Post
    Of course where we go kids mostly ride scooters and he keeps on talking about wanting a scooter.
    Balance learned on a scooter carries over to bikes also. They're also good for learning the concepts of more advanced stuff like pumping, manuals, hopping and general body english. We do a good bit of skatepark riding, and my son brings both his scooter and BMX along whenever we go. He's working on dialing in bar-spins and 360s on the scooter currently; it's always been a lot less stressful to me as a parent when he's working on new moves on the scooter than if he were trying them first on his bike. Much less carnage. If your kid is showing interest, feed into it. ANYTHING that gets them on wheels is a good thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Balance learned on a scooter carries over to bikes also. They're also good for learning the concepts of more advanced stuff like pumping, manuals, hopping and general body english. We do a good bit of skatepark riding, and my son brings both his scooter and BMX along whenever we go. He's working on dialing in bar-spins and 360s on the scooter currently; it's always been a lot less stressful to me as a parent when he's working on new moves on the scooter than if he were trying them first on his bike. Much less carnage. If your kid is showing interest, feed into it. ANYTHING that gets them on wheels is a good thing.
    Thanks for the tip.

    I knew that learning to balance on bicycles translated over to scooters, and is one of the things I kept on telling him about learning to ride a bike first. But didn't know it worked the other way around too.

    It might've just been the area I grew up in, but I don't think anyone rode scooters when I was younger. So always saw bike riding as one of the essentionals to childhood.

    But I think you're right. I actually did look at scooters briefly this past weekend and will take a closer look at them.

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmum View Post
    Thanks for the tip.

    I knew that learning to balance on bicycles translated over to scooters, and is one of the things I kept on telling him about learning to ride a bike first. But didn't know it worked the other way around too.

    It might've just been the area I grew up in, but I don't think anyone rode scooters when I was younger. So always saw bike riding as one of the essentionals to childhood.

    But I think you're right. I actually did look at scooters briefly this past weekend and will take a closer look at them.

    Thanks!
    Balance is balance - it all translates. Whatever interests them and gets them moving is the right thing to do. If the kid's showing more interest in scooters than bikes right now, hit the local big-box store and grab him on a cheapy one to start out; I think you can get low end Razors for like $20. Slap a couple little ramps in the driveway and it's on.

    Scooters didn't explode in popularity until fairly recently. The kids just really seemed to take to them, as they're easier to handle than either bikes or skateboards (which also leads to them getting about the same level of respect from skaters and BMXers as rollerblades do, not that any of that matters with the little kids). Some makers have really stepped up the quality to catch up with the level of tricks kids are throwing on them in the skateparks (check out some videos of pro scooterers, prepare to be surprised). If your kid gets into it (and lots of them do) you can find some really high quality rigs out there - the one my kid got for Christmas MSRPed close to $400, believe it or not. It's actually pretty fun to mess with, though I've been bashing the hell out of my shins trying to figure out how to tailwhip it.
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