How to Ride a Balance Bike
Balance bikes are a great way to teach kids to balance on two wheels and lean into turns. Because the means of propulsion is something that they already know how to do, e.g. walking or running, it makes it much easier for young children to learn these skills than if they were to learn how to pedal first with training wheels or a tricycle.
The first step in teaching your child to ride with a balance bike is to make sure you are purchasing a bike that is a good fit for your child’s age, height, and weight. Once you receive the bike, make adjustments and fine tune the fit of the bike to your child’s individual needs. You will need to adjust the seat height so that your child can plant his or her feet on the ground, not just their toes. Their knees should be slightly bent so that they can push the bike forward with a walking motion. You’ll also need to adjust the handlebars to accommodate a higher or lower sitting position, so that your child can steer comfortably through turns.
Your child should wear all the same safety gear with a balance bike that they would a regular bike. This includes a helmet, knee pads, and elbow pads. Once they are safely outfitted, let them learn at their own pace. If they jump on the bike and go, great! If they are nervous and just want to walk it around a bit at first, also great! One of the best things about balance bikes is the sense of security and safety that they give your child. A big part of this security is the ability to use their feet for extra control, and it is important to let them do so.
If they do want your help to make them feel more secure, put your hand on their back and walk beside them. When the bike starts to tip, encourage them to balance but don’t steady the bike yourself. If you correct the tipping for them, they won’t learn how to balance without you there. Balance bikes are designed to be lighter and easier to manoeuver, so your child will quickly learn to balance and correct tipping, and they can always put their feet down to stop them from falling.