Author Topic: In praise of balance bikes.  (Read 10524 times)

In praise of balance bikes.
« on: July 19, 2012, 08:29:19 am »
A year ago, we bought our grandaughter a Isla Bikes Rothan balance bike for her third birthday.
They are beautifully made, lightweight and with good components that work with small hands.
She has used this bike a lot, gradually improving in confidence and ability.
For her fourth birthday, her parents have bought her the Cnoc 14 Isla.
I took her to the local park for some nice smooth tarmac. She took all of about 5 minutes to get the hang of pedalling and a little more practice to master moving off unaided.
I am totally convinced that her abilities, honed on the balance bike, have made the transition to a "proper" bike almost seemless.
Proud Grandad or what :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
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clarion

  • Tyke
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2012, 03:30:10 pm »
Oh absolutely.  Congrats to your g.d. :thumbsup:

And it's in the genes, you know ;)
Getting there...

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2012, 03:37:00 pm »
Awww!

The second she is old enough, myself and Rob are plotting to get his sister’s toddler a balance bike. Her parents are petrolheads, so she needs us for…balance, I suppose! She has recently started walking so it can’t be long now, eh!  ;D

(It took me aaaages to get rid of my stabilisers, my parents didn’t know any better but I wouldn’t inflict them on a kid now!)

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2012, 03:41:06 pm »
I don't think Martha has really got to grips with her balance bike yet - another Isla Rothan.
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2012, 04:14:32 pm »
(It took me aaaages to get rid of my stabilisers, my parents didn’t know any better but I wouldn’t inflict them on a kid now!)

The last time I took someone to the local park to teach them how to ride my 'bent, there was a child with stabilisers (which I suspect had recently been raised) being encouraged to balance properly.

They were just about managing it, until they looked over their shoulder, causing the stabiliser hit the ground and put the steering into trike mode.  At which point they immediately veered into the kerb and suffered a spectacular unplanned dismount.


I had to wonder how we ever managed to learn to ride with the bloody things.  Work of Stan.   :hand:
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2012, 04:59:27 pm »
Stabilisers teach bad balance habits.
Taught kid brother (5.75) to ride in an afternoon after removing the things.

TimC

  • Bike (ex)pilot
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2012, 06:07:52 pm »
(It took me aaaages to get rid of my stabilisers, my parents didn’t know any better but I wouldn’t inflict them on a kid now!)

The last time I took someone to the local park to teach them how to ride my 'bent, there was a child with stabilisers (which I suspect had recently been raised) being encouraged to balance properly.

They were just about managing it, until they looked over their shoulder, causing the stabiliser hit the ground and put the steering into trike mode.  At which point they immediately veered into the kerb and suffered a spectacular unplanned dismount.


I had to wonder how we ever managed to learn to ride with the bloody things.  Work of Stan.   :hand:

My first two-wheeled experience was when my stabilisers fell off (my Dad was a crap mechanic) on a downhill stretch in our estate. The instant demon descent went well, right up till it came to a corner. Having never learned the technique of leaning to turn, I tried turning the bars. Cue Wacky Races-type prang, with legs, wheels, arms & stuff revolving madly in a cloud of dust.

After a bit of a lower-lip wobble and a gentle feel to make sure I was in one piece, I went and did it again!

Balance bikes are definitely the way ahead.

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2012, 06:11:49 am »
I bought one each for my 2 grand daughters on their second birthday, about 4 weeks ago. 1 has already done a 1 mile trip and wanted to do it again very soon after.  The other one is still not quite so sure, but it will come.

They are definatly the way to go.

Geoff
Only those that dare to go too far, know how far they can go.   T S Elliot

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #8 on: August 10, 2012, 05:28:02 pm »
E Minor  started on a Likeabike (twelve years ago, pre Islabikes), and took to it immediately.

I'm currently helping him to build up his first road bike, based on a frame from Paul D. He'll be able to ride it tomorrow!!!!!!

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2012, 10:49:08 pm »
We bought a Lidl likealikeabike about 6 years ago. Youngest took to it around the house and had no problem transitioning to a real bike (apart from kids bikes being manufactured out of depleted unobtanium and damned hard to pedal at the best of times).
Then it went south to his two cousins (along with other hand me down bikes) and is now back in Dundee at the home of a friend for her 3yo to play on.
The ones they had on the Cycle Show with the very angled seat tube looked excellent. I liked the phrase 'balanceability' as a precursor to bikeability.

Definitely the way to go. There are several kids who 'commute' to the Uni nursery on balance bikes.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #10 on: September 05, 2012, 11:30:54 pm »
Another balance bike evangelist here.

We stripped the chainrings and pedals off a bike for our first. When we put him on regular bike he did six laps around the caravan site. I never once had to hold the bike while he was on it.

For number two we were lucky enough to get a £9.95 balance bike from Aldi (or was it Lidl) and she pulled off pretty much the same stunt, except that she was about 18 months ahead of No 1, and her first pedalling was on a fixed.

I think that having them both on the back of a trailer bike before solo pedalling really helped as well as they understood what pedalling was all about.
Rust never sleeps

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2012, 03:52:53 pm »
Tomos has Had a balance bike since he was 18 months.  He loves it and, judging by the way he scoots along on it, he should be able to move up to a pedal bike fairly easily. 

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2012, 10:37:01 pm »
Update from our grandaughter today.
She rang after school today to tell us that it had been bike day at her school. She was very proud to tell me that she was the only child in the reception class who can ride a bike without stabilisers. :thumbsup:
She then went on to ask me to explain War. I found that a bit difficult for a four year old. :-\
Welding, fabrication and light engineering available to forum members.

tonycollinet

  • No Longer a western province of Númenor
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #13 on: November 27, 2012, 07:14:03 am »
I am very sad that I didn't know about balance bikes when kids were small. I never managed to get either of them into cycling, and I'm pretty certain it is because I started too late.

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #14 on: January 26, 2013, 03:07:31 pm »
I am a team member helping to run a NW London infant and primary school cycling club with it's own off road cycling circuit. Experience has shown that children who have ridden for any time with stabilizers have great difficulty adapting to riding the same bike with the stabilizers removed even with the saddle down to allow both feet on the ground. Their sense of balance is stabilizer dependant and without them they fall off, lacking the instinct to correct off balance movement or to just put a foot down. The solution has been to convert a number of small bikes - the club has a collection of 'gifted' bikes - to balance bikes by stripping off pedals, chainsets, etc. The result is a much lighter balance bike that the child feels in complete control of as they scoot along. So the progression is; from stabilizer bike to balance bike to bike with pedals. Progress is rapid and it works every time. Your small family member can try it out at the 'Field End Flyers' Saturday morning club held at the school circuit. 

robgul

  • Cycle:End-to-End webmaster
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Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2013, 05:44:11 pm »
Our grandson who is almost 4 has had a balance bike since he was  2 (a Halfords machine) and a Pashley Pickle trike ... he loves both of them .. and is an absolute speed demon on the trike.

.. I've just bought an Islabikes 16" wheel machine that he's getting in about 3 weeks time (no stabilisers) ..... last week he was in the park with his pal (2 weeks older than him) who has an Islabike (our lad was on his trike) ... he got off the trike and asked for a go on the 2 wheeler - got on and pedalled away .. no stabilisers.  Brilliant!   

[The downside is that our son-in-law hasn't had that baptism into fatherhood that involves running along holding the back of the saddle on a two-wheeler .... he'll have to wait for his daughter (born the week before Christmas) to get cycling]

Stabilisers should declared illegal!

Rob

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #16 on: July 28, 2013, 09:38:24 pm »
Spotted in Southwark.  I thought this was so sweet

Getting there...

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #17 on: September 02, 2013, 11:51:11 pm »
My 3yo daughter has had a balance bike for 6 months and is a total demon at it now - she can really zoom around and balance amazingly well.  She enjoys it a lot.

I'm looking forward to seeing how the transition to pedal bike goes in a year or so.
Up the hills and round the bends

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #18 on: September 03, 2013, 08:39:01 am »
If you can get her on a trailer bike then that teaches pedalling. Combine that with the skills acquired on the balance bike and our experience is that the child simply pedals off when you put them on a regular bike.
Rust never sleeps

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #19 on: September 03, 2013, 09:36:52 am »
If you can get her on a trailer bike then that teaches pedalling. Combine that with the skills acquired on the balance bike and our experience is that the child simply pedals off when you put them on a regular bike.

Interesting.  We have been teaching the pedalling by putting stabilizers on for a couple of weeks, or gently pushing them to give them a bit of time to pedal before the bike stops.  Might try the followme for our third kid then.

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2015, 12:49:45 am »
We have had our son on a balance bike for 2 months now. His grandparents bought it for his second birthday. Early days but did anyone find their child just walks along with it between their legs and not actually sit down? Our lad just won't sit on it which kinda defeats the object. Should I raise the seat a bit? At the moment he can keep his feet flat on the floor without needing to sit on the seat. If he's on his toes he'd have to sit down and might learn to balance.

What do you think? How to persuade him to try it sitting?

I know I'm a little impatient, I do want him on a proper bike asap though.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2015, 10:25:10 am »
The only thing I'd say is that they learn quickest if they are having fun.  If you make it too hard, or too stressful with expectations, you'll turn them off from the idea. 

woollypigs

  • Mr Peli
    • woollypigs
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2015, 01:13:23 pm »
I taught a 3 year old girl to ride in a few steps, holding on to her before I let go. After that she zoomed/wobbled around the park with a great smile on her face. I then spend one and a half hours with her big brother who had two years on her and on stabilisers. I had to book him in for another lesson, because all he wanted to do was lean.
#bollockstobrexit

ianrauk

  • Tattooed Beat Messiah
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2015, 10:10:08 pm »


I know I'm a little impatient, I do want him on a proper bike asap though.

You're being a little impatient. Just let the little one find his own way. And he will.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2015, 01:24:40 pm »


I know I'm a little impatient, I do want him on a proper bike asap though.

You're being a little impatient. Just let the little one find his own way. And he will.

+1

Your kid is still very young.