Why balance bikes are the gateway to cycling

Riding advice  |  May 13, 2021  |  Dave Bowater
Learning to ride a balance bike

Balance bikes are the perfect gateway to cycling for children from as young as 2 years old. Great for building physical confidence and developing skills, a balance bike will set your child up for a lifelong love of cycling.

Much more than simply a bike with no pedals, a balance bike is specially configured to put the rider in an upright position that is low to the ground so they can “scoot” the bike along from the saddle.

Pedalling and balancing at the same time is a relatively complex cognitive skill. It requires a coordination development that for most children occurs between the ages of 3 ½ and 4 ½ . Balance bikes make the learning process easier and more enjoyable by breaking it into two manageable parts, enabling the child to develop and master their balance and steering skills at an earlier age before moving on to a starter bike to learn pedalling when they are ready.

Children that have ridden a balance bike are very often ready to make the transition to pedals at an earlier age than those who haven’t.

We often get asked whether we would recommend stabilisers for a slightly older child who has not yet learned to ride. We don’t. Stabilisers prevent the bike from leaning, which is what your child must learn to steer. They put off the point of learning to ride until you take them off and can make learning more difficult as incorrect habits have to be unlearned. A child that has ridden with stabilisers will almost always take longer to learn to ride than one who has never ridden before. We recognise that some children do benefit from or need stabilisers. We offer them as an option on our Cnoc starter bikes, but where possible encourage against their use.

Ready to move on to pedals?

Our Rothan 12 or 14 balance bikes will take your child to the point where they are ready to balance and pedal at the same time. You will know when they have mastered balance as they will confidently lift both feet off the ground and whizz along - and they may start pestering you for a bike with pedals! These are great indicators that your child is ready for their first starter bike and take the next step on their cycling journey.

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