One of my kids(7 yo) stopped wanting to try riding just as she was ready to do it by herself for some reason; never could get her to explain why. (She had been using a balance bike.)
I ended up getting her a foot bike (footbikeusa) so she could get over whatever fear she had about bikes while still getting balancing practice; after a few months on that she was willing to try a regular bike again and was riding in just a few minutes.
Foot bikes are fun, but not so good up hills! We still have it and use occasionally, though I mainly use it at burning man since it is low maintenance.
oh, pegs are a GREAT idea..
My son will be 4 in Feb. and he has been pedaling on his 12" bike for almost a year. Prior to that I had him on a balance bike and I am just as happy as the rest of you that I made that decision. When you let your mind move away from what we were taught as kids and what is a "normal" way of learning how to ride a bike the balance first method totally makes sense. Balance is instinct pedaling is foreign, start with what is natural and then work the rest.
Something to keep in mind is that your kid will most likely get a lot of time learning how to pedal on other things like tricycles, etc. so they will know the basic concept. I thought I was running into problems when introducing the "pedal" bike because it was a challenge and the strider was easier. Lots of big boy talk and of course watching Daddy did the trick. It is seriously one of the biggest joys I have had in my life!
My 4 year old still is afraid of pedals. I got a trailer bike and he likes pedaling on it. Yesterday he insisted that I stop pedaling and let him pedal us down a hill. I figure he will want pedals by summer, maybe when he is 5? Bill
Got my son a 16" with training wheels after thinking I'd just be buying "twice" to get a strider then a bike. He had fun on the bike but learned all the bad habits of training wheels. I worked with him on balance and finally when he turned 5 he decided he wanted to do it himself and started riding.
My daughter now has a strider. At 2.5 she's scooting around great. I convinced my brother to get one for his sone and at 2 he was scooting and at 3 he is riding a 12" bike. The more I take my daughter out the better she gets and I'm certain she'll be riding by 3.5 as well.
It works, do it. I still think they are a bit expensive for what they are (especially when big brands are jumping in to push the price to $150 or $200!)
I'm betting we will see a giant leap in bicycle talent for the generations of kids being brought up to ride beginning with balance bikes. Both my friends' kids learned to ride a proper 2 wheeler before they were 3 years old. I'm pretty sure i my dad didn't take my training wheels off until I was 4 years old. These days i'm watching kids hit the small set of dirt jumps at our local skills park when they are only three or four!
How Kids Balance Bikes Push The Sport of Mountain Biking
My parents got my 3yo a 12" with-training-wheels bike last Christmas. I let her play with it before deciding on the balance bike... After a couple months she has pedaling and steering down, but has NO balance at all. She rides with me on the Big Dummy whenever we get, so she is used to the bike leaning for the turns and all, but can't do it by herself.
This afternoon, two boxes arrived in the mail... a Strider for my 2yo, and a Burley MyKick for the 3.5yo. Both girls are small for their age, and I definitely wanted a balance bike for the younger one. Given what I see, we will be keeping both. The 2yo could manage the height on the Burley with the seat all-the-way down, but it's too heavy to lift herself. I don't mind spending an extra $80 to have them both. (interestingly, the Burley is cheaper than the Strider... and a MUCH nicer bike. If your kids aren't <25% size like mine, I would totally check out the Burley).
As far as the 3.5yo... within 20 minutes, I looked up from helping my 2yo and saw the 3.5yo doing a two-foot push & lift and gliding about a foot. By the end of the hour, she was able to go 2-3 feet at a time, and was keeping the balance bike straight and under control as she ran around. I give her 2 months max before she moves back to the pedal bike (which will never have training wheels on it again).
Needless to say: the Balance Bike thing is worth it!
Quick update.... 4 days along, and the 3 year old is now picking up her feet and gliding over 10+ feet (including turns). Every time she gets on the bike, she is doing better.
My 2yo isn't doing much more than walking on it, but that's ok. She's still having fun. Actually, what she REALLY wants is to pick her feet up and have me push her along. I've been holding her lightly by the shoulders and having her work on steering an balance. HUGE grin on her face every time we do that. ;)
My 2 year old has spent the last 6 months on the Strider bike. He became very good at balancing, and grew tall enough to be able to reach the ground on a 'normal' 12" bike - so we picked up a Hotrock for him a month or two back. I put a 'balance buddy' handle on the back so I could keep him upright while he was learning.
It was an interesting transition - while he knew how to balance, he didn't know how to pedal. Add in the coaster brake, and most rides were an exercise in frustration for both him and me. However, after a while, it clicked, and he's successfully riding the bike now. Still working starting and stopping on his own, but you can see him ride here (sorry for the sideways video):
I don't know whether I should be happy that I have him riding before being potty trained, or if that means my priorities are all screwed up - but it's a great feeling to have my whole family riding now...
Compared to my daughter, who is the 'pure' athlete in the family, my son had a much easier and much earlier transition to riding. I credit the Strider bike for that completely. That, and his desire to chase his sister (and all the attention he gets for riding when he's so little). The Strider is well worth the investment, imo.