Transition From Balance Bike to Pedal Bike
Long gone are the days of training wheels and nervous parents worrying over their child’s biking progress. The modern-day balance bike has made it easy to know when a child is ready to transition to the real deal, and it’s even made that fateful day a breeze.
If you think it's time to venture into a pedal bike, continue reading for tips on teaching your child to ride a bike!
Why Are Balance Bikes Revolutionary?
The first step in learning how to pedal is learning how to balance. Balance bikes are designed to teach kids the skills they need beforehand to thrive on a two-wheeled pedal bike. They’re lower to the ground and without pedals, which allows kids to push themselves at their own speed—both physically and mentally. Kids learn the most difficult skill of balancing at the beginning. That way, once they’re ready, the transition from no pedals to two pedals is a smooth and simple one.
How Kids Can Learn Pedaling
The first step in learning how to pedal is learning how to balance. If your child doesn’t have a balance bike, then start by removing the pedals from the bike. You will need to lower the bike seat so your child’s feet are flat on the ground. However, If your child is more athletic they can have their heels off up to 1 inch off the ground.
Have them walk with the bike to become familiar with balancing and steering. Once you notice they have gained more control over the bike, it’s time to try coasting with their feet up. All you need is a neighborhood street or parking lot with a slight incline. The small slope allows them to gain momentum when coasting and can help with their nerves.If your child is able to coast consistently for 15 seconds then it’s time for pedaling! There are a few different transition periods kids will fall into after adding pedals:
- Hop on and fly – This is typical of kids transitioning from balance bikes. Because these children became proficient at balancing and steering first, when they hop onto a real bike, they simply take off with their feet and learn to pedal as they go. Many parents are completely awestruck by how simple the transition can be.
- A gentle nudge – In the case that your child’s confidence becomes replaced by nervousness, a gentle supporting nudge often does the trick. Have them walk with their bike, the same way they first did when learning to ride a balance bike. This will help them realize the two aren’t so different. If your child is seeming nervous about the transition, try talking them through the new additions to their bike. If they have a new hand brake or a fancy new footrest, show them how to use these to give them the confidence they had before ditching the old balance bike! In an afternoon or two, they’ll be zooming circles around you.
- Wee bit more practice – Don’t get rid of your child’s balance bike immediately. Some kids find out they’re not ready once they’ve planted themselves on a new pedal bike and tried to take off. If you think they could use a bit more practice, you can let them know that the pedal bike will be there when they’re ready.
4 Indicators Your Child is Ready for a Normal Bike
The transition from balance bike to normal bike might seem intimidating, but that’s the beauty of this - kids basically tell you when they’re ready. Here are a few things to look for!
1. They Rarely Put Their Feet Down
2. They Pass the Cone Test
3. They're Big Enough to Handle the Pedal Bike
Some children as young as 18-24 months can get the hang of a balance bike. However, they may still be a little too small physically because a pedal bike is going to be a little bit bigger and heavier than their balance bike. Even if they rarely touch the ground with their feet, and they’ve passed the cone test, you want to ensure that they can maintain that control through the transition.
4. Their Confidence is Through the Roof
As long as you can check off the three indicators above, you can let their confidence reassure you.
Guardian Bikes: Making The Transition Safer
Most parents think about bike safety as reactive measures. Helmets, knee pads, and elbow pads are all helpful to protect your child if they’re in an accident. At Guardian Bikes, we want to expand bike safety to include proactive measures as well. That’s why we design kids’ bikes to prevent accidents before they occur with:
- SureStop brakes – Our single-lever, award-winning braking system is one of the safest braking methods available.
- Lightweight frame – It’s hard for kids to control their bike if the bike is heavier than they are. With little bikers in mind, we design our frame with lightweight, premium materials.
- Easily adjustable – We provide a sizing tool and make our bikes easily adjustable, so every kid is the perfect match for their bike.
At Guardian Bikes, we’re revolutionizing not just kids’ bikes, but the entire kids’ bike industry.