If you take a walk to a children toy store and see a bicycle without any pedals, don’t be confused. This is what we call as a balance bike. Have you ever heard about it? In this article, we will explain why this bike doesn’t have any pedals, the benefits of giving your children this kind of bike, and also the appropriate balance bike age.
Why it doesn’t have pedals
If you wonder, why doesn’t this bike have any pedals, then you will find the answer here. The balance bike is a bicycle specifically designed for children which aim to train the users’ balance. That is why you cannot find any pedals attached to it. This type of bike has long been used as an early cycling learning media in the countries like America, Japan, Korea and many other countries in Europe.
There are many designations for two-wheeled bikes without pedals, such as balance bike, run bike, training bike, trainer wheels, baby bike, and push bike. The materials used to make this type of bicycle are diverse, some use wood, and some other use aluminum, and even plastic. Different brands usually produce different shapes, sizes, and materials.
Better than a tricycle
Playing with balance bikes has greater benefits for training children’s balance than using a tricycle. By practicing using this toy, children no longer need a tricycle to learn to ride a bicycle. From the beginning, they will be familiar with a two-wheeled balance bike, so it does not take long to adjust to the normal bicycle in the next stage.
Initially, children will try to find ways to move this toy. Slowly but surely, from walking, then half running, until they can run on it and find their own balance point. This is what children do not get when they learn to ride on a tricycle.
This type of bike makes children able to play independently without parents having to hold the back of the vehicle. After they can ride on the bike, it will be very easy for them to transition to a bicycle with pedals. In addition, if you think that your little one is just learning the balance from this bike, then you are wrong because it can also improve their intelligence, sensory and motor sensitivity.
The right balance bike age
The balance bike is a special training vehicle suggested for children aged eighteen months to five years old. The bikes are produced in various sizes, the smallest one can be driven since the child is 18 months old. Generally, children can use this toy when they are 2 years to 5 years old.
Before purchasing one, make sure that you choose the right size, material, and form that suits your child’s needs since the balance bike is not a bicycle that can fit all sizes of children. It can be used properly if the child is able to track it with a steady movement. Usually, children who start to ride this training bike from the age of 2 years will be able to ride a normal two-wheeled bicycle with a pedal at the age of 4 years.
Usually, children aged 4 and 5 years old do not want to ride a toy bike any longer. Instead, they are ready to ride a bicycle that is more ‘complicated’ and challenging. This is understandable, considering that a 5-year-old child has a good balance and coordination which are needed to operate a conventional bicycle.
However, it is still important to keep in mind that children in this age group are at a higher risk for falls and injuries. Therefore, you should keep an eye on them and remind them of the possible dangers of biking on the highway or without head protection. Meanwhile, 6 to 12-year-old children are considered to be able to ride a bicycle better. They also have a higher level of awareness of danger and injury.
This bike is a substitute for a tricycle and training wheels (extra wheels that are attached on two-wheeled bikes). With balance and body coordination that they can learn from reading this bike, three-year-old children can immediately switch to a two-wheeled bicycle with a pedal without the help of training wheels.
Its design, which is very similar to that of a two-wheeled bike will make children adapt faster when starting to ride the normal bike. Besides, it is claimed to be easier to use either on flat surfaces or uneven ground, and even rocky surfaces. In addition, the balance bike is claimed to be more flexible and ergonomic than a tricycle. That is why children can ride it in a long distance.
There is an opinion stating that a tricycle is not efficient for children to drive long distances. Usually, it is equipped with a handle so parents can push it when the child is tired. This habit tends to make the child depend too much on his parent to drive it.
Meanwhile, children who ride a balance bike can train their motor balance and the balance on both brains – right brain and left brain. It can happen because of the synergy of all of the child’s sense aspects, and also a total coordination between eyes, hands, feet, body, and brain.
Besides, the lightweight and slim design of it will allow children to learn the balance of mastering the turning, rotating, zigzags, up and down more easily. Learning to ride this kind of bike is actually a challenging activity, in which the children learn to face obstacles and pain as they fall and rise during cycling. They will be trained to be brave, careful and have a mastery of good body movements.
All parents will agree that their children’s safety is the most important thing. Therefore, in order to maintain their safety by playing the vehicle, you should equip your little one with a helmet, gloves, elbow protector and comfortable shoes. Getting children to wear the right equipment teaches them how to play comfortably and safely, and also teach them to be disciplined.
After knowing the right balance bike age, the benefits of using it, and how to maintain your children’s safety when riding it, people usually tend to choose this type of bike instead of choosing the tricycle or a bicycle with two additional small side wheels. Whatever your choice is, it is important to consider what is best for your loved ones’ needs.