If you were taught to ride a bike on a traditional pedal bike with training wheels, you might be thinking that this is the obvious way to teach your own child to cycle. Of course, you can still teach a child to ride a bike in this way. Many people still do. But are you aware that balance bikes are making it much easier for young children to master the skills of cycling. The experts at Woom say that even toddlers as young as 18 months can manage to get about on a balance bike and learn the act of balancing more quickly than they ever would on a pedal bike.
So, if you are considering a balance bike for your child, don’t just rush out to buy the first one you come across. The following will give you an idea of how to choose the right one.
Think About Size
Don’t be fooled into thinking that all balance bikes are the same. Think about it, a child aged two and a child aged four are probably not going to be the same size (although there are some two year olds the same size as a four year old). What we’re saying is that you need to choose a balance bike that is the right size for your child.
When selecting a balance bike then, you need to make sure that the child’s feet can touch the ground when she sits on the saddle. Something else to consider is that these bikes will all differ, depending on the manufacturer. So, while one balance bike will have 12” wheels and a seat height of 10”-14”, another could also have 12” wheels, but a seat height of between 14” and 20”. It is important to choose a bike based on seat height so that it will provide your child with comfort and stability.
To find the right seat height range for your child, you will need to measure their inseam. You can do this by having your child stand against a wall (with her shoes on). Then you can get a measuring tape and measure from the inside of her leg, from her crotch to the floor. Alternatively, you can use a hardback book to mark the point of their crotch against the wall. Place the book between your child’s legs and move it up until it reaches her crotch area. Then measure from the top of the book to the floor.
Once you have your child’s inseam measurement, you should choose a minimum seat height that is between a half to one inch lower than this.
Weight is Important
Although size is the most important consideration when buying a balance bike for your child, the weight of the bike is also worth thinking about.
Balance bikes are lightweight in general because of the absence of pedals and drive chain. But you should make sure that the bike you buy is not made from a heavy steel as this could make it harder for your child to handle and control the bike. The tires can also affect the weight. Foam tires are lighter than air tires, but air tires provide more comfort for your child while reducing the impact she will feel. Furthermore, they provide much better traction than foam tires.
To conclude, when buying a balance bike for your child, size is the most important consideration and wheel size is not an indicator of seat height. The best balance bike for your child is the one that she can sit on comfortably and steer with ease.