Author Topic: In praise of balance bikes.  (Read 11425 times)

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2015, 02:14:49 pm »
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?

Yep. It can take a while for them to trust the bike to take their weight. He will. They all do.

 
Our lad just won't sit on it which kinda defeats the object. Should I raise the seat a bit?

Nope. Louis spent a year on his balance bike, then another on a pedal bike with the cranks removed (so, a balance bike with brakes). I was getting a bit frustrated and encouraged him to have a go with the pedals back on. He tried it but it was too soon: he lost his nerve and didn't want to do it. I took them back off quick smart: I didn't want to put him off cycling altogether. Then a couple of months before his 5th birthday I put the cranks and pedals back on and off he went.

Dylan (Louis' younger brother) started riding just before his 4th birthday. I put this down to his impatience - he just won't accept that he can't do anything Louis can do. He's usually right.


L'enfer, c'est les autos.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2015, 02:25:07 pm »
Balancing a bicycle isn't something you learn:  It's something you discover.

Adults and older children can be helped along with the right advice and physics knowledge, but a toddler has to do it empirically.
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #27 on: February 23, 2015, 03:25:53 pm »
Oh I am being patient. In fact most of the time he goes out on it isn't with me but during the week with grandparents or his mother. I only get the chance at the weekend due to work hours. When i do I just let him go, too busy fretting about danger around him to worry much about getting him to sit down.

I raised it an inch at the weekend and he now has to put his bum on the seat but he still takes his weight. At least he absolutely loves it and wants to take it everywhere, well either that or the little wheeled fox on a stick but mostly the bike. This week he will be visiting relatives who have a trike for him so we use that to teach pedalling, not that he found that hard to work out it is just his leg strength to get that heavy trike moving.

The one thing in his favour is we made being outdoors a big part of his life since it was a big part of ours. It gives him a love of being outside doing stuff no matter what the weather and he especially loves running around on the fells in the Lakes. He was running up and down some steep grassy fellsides at less than 18 months and was in a trailer or child seat from about 9 months (not advised by Burley or hamax but he was sitting up ok and we only did half hours at that age). Later on we did more but with hourly stops for him to run along (he doesn't walk anywhere only runs).

Anyway I can say the balance bike is a much favoured toy of his and the way he is going I suspect he will pick it up sooner or later. He certainly knows his mind so if he wasn;t enjoying it i guarantee it would never get used. We do get him to pick his feet up and we push him along. I am not sure that helps but he loves it and I get the feeling it gives some feel of balance to him. I hope so.

BTW what balance bike have you used (or your kid/grandkid)? Our is a kiddimoto, the smaller version IIRC. It was a lightweight one which for a 2 year old I thought would be better than the likes of the heavier, highly rated bikes (IIRC the islabikes one and ones from say specialized are heavier by some way).

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #28 on: February 24, 2015, 12:55:03 pm »
We had the wooden one from Evans: http://www.evanscycles.com/products/early-rider/lite-balance-bike-ec015768.

It was briliant. I was a bit anxious about the lack of brakes but over 2 years and 2 boys, inside and out, that never proved to be a problem.
L'enfer, c'est les autos.

menthel

  • Jim is my real, actual name
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #29 on: February 24, 2015, 01:20:49 pm »
Blimey, give him a chance! My son has only just managed to cycle at the age of 5 1/2 and its still a big work in progress even then! Don't push the kid too hard or too far, it will bring on the fear and they will end up not enjoying it.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #30 on: February 25, 2015, 05:35:51 pm »
Blimey, give him a chance! My son has only just managed to cycle at the age of 5 1/2 and its still a big work in progress even then! Don't push the kid too hard or too far, it will bring on the fear and they will end up not enjoying it.

See also https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=20257.0

Some kids walk at 9 months, some are more than twice that age when they take their firs steps.
If child is not ready to ride a balance bike, he's not ready.

JJ

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #31 on: February 25, 2015, 07:16:48 pm »
My 4 kids all learnt in different ways.  All started with stabilisers.  All were riding without well before their 4th birthdays.
#1 I took the stabilisers  off and ran alongside steadying him.  By the time he noticed I'd let go, it was too late.
#2 I took the stabilisers and pedals off, and we played a game of Whee! How far can you go?  Took 2 afternoons, then I put the pedals back.
#3 was nervous.  Played the same game of Whee! as his big sister, but with Mum catching at the other end.  Took 2 weekends.
#4 I took off the stabilisers, but when I took the pedals off he threw a hissy fit, so I put them back.  I turned round to shut the garage, and when I turned back, he'd pedaled off!

Balance bikes work, but so do stabilisers.  Horses for courses.  They all go like stink now.  If only they'd clean the bloody things.

Kim

  • Timelord
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #32 on: February 25, 2015, 07:36:17 pm »
Stabilisers teach you to ride a bike that suddenly turns into a trike at low speed and when turning.  You can do it, but it's a more advanced skill than balancing a bicycle (put a kid who's learned to ride on balance bikes on their friend's bike with stabilisers, and watch them lose control on the first corner, just like adults do when faced with upwrong trikes for the first time).  The advantage is they bypass the fear of falling off and get you moving, the disadvantage is they can convince you that keeping a bike upright is about balance.

I was about 7 when I learned to ride a bike, because of stabilisers and the knowledge that I was unable to balance a stationary bicycle.  By then I'd become adept at leaning to keep my bike in trike-mode at all times so the handling was predictable (which wasn't too difficult, as I was only usually allowed to ride in circles round the garden).
Careful, Kim. Your sarcasm's showing...

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #33 on: June 21, 2015, 04:16:45 pm »
FWIW: my 2p's worth......

We do 'Ditch the stabilisers' sessions with balance bikes now and then.....we tend to get the vast majority of them going in around 1.5 hrs.  Actually, I find that it's often easier with the kids than the adults as the kids have much less fear.  Kids that we do tend to be from 3 up to 10, with most around 4-6.

Ideal is a smooth surface with slight downhill slope.  Things to keep reminding them: they need to be looking ahead, where they want to go, not down at the front wheel, and they should start with two-footed scooting (so that feet both come off the ground at the same time).  If the saddle is too high they won't be able to scoot properly, if too low then they'll be kangarooing rather than balancing.

Once they can get the bike going a bit, getting them to scoot in and out of cones can sometimes help too - they stop thinking about why they can't balance and start thinking about the cones....balance then comes naturally and it's also funnerer.

It can sometimes also be better for an 'instructor' to be telling them what to do rather than a parent.....they can often pay more attention to an 'outsider'.

The issue of actually holding the child is contentious - obviously if you are a parent then you are fine, but as an instructor then you don't want to be manhandling kids!  Rather than holding them up all of the time it's better to just try to correct them when they start to lean.   

And, of course, loads of praise, make sure that they are enjoying it, never yell at them no matter how exasperated you might feel, etc etc.  If they don't enjoy they won't do.

Wowbagger

  • Dez's butler
    • Musings of a Gentleman Cyclist
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #34 on: June 22, 2015, 08:20:38 am »
I have just introduced Martha to her Bheinn 20 - she had the Rothan before and was pretty adept at balancing. This bike came in at exactly the right size for her, according to the website, but even with the saddle at its lowest, she can only just touch the ground with both sets of toes at once. She has only had one brief go on it and her confidence has not returned yet. Partly, the problem was that the children's playground, where he younger brother was playing in the sand pit, was too much of a temptation. She won't be 5 until next week so there's no rush.

I have a feeling that, once her brother, aged 2, gets on the Rothan, he will be a natural - he is a fearless climber and when he falls over he often just picks himself up again and carries on. M is very competitive and certainly won't want him doing something she can't!
Eating's a serious business. Don't bollocks around wagging your tail.

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2015, 01:57:58 pm »
My son is now happy pedalling away :) He started on a "Pukilino" indoor trike/scooter thing which isn't really a bike at all but it did get him used to steering round objects. It was only ever used indoors so it's mainly a handy mobile seat for him and footstool for us. He does still love it. I don't know if it was important to his developent as a cyclist or not, but he was using it pretty much as soon as he could walk (14 months ish).
Then a balance bike from Joe Joe Maman Bebe. Far too expensive, but I couldn't persuade SWMBO otherwise and he loved it as soon as he saw it, union jacks and all. He got that for his second birthday and was soon scooting along on it. An early downhill panic/crash did set him back a bit but it did teach him to respect speed and grass verges! He was happy freewheeling down hill with his feet up as long as it wasn't too steep (no brakes) but most happy scooting along on the flat at fast adult walking pace.

We tried a couple of goes on a trailer bike behind my mountain bike but to be honest I was never very comfortable with it. I couldn't see him but I could feel him leaning all over the place and making it very hard to steer while probably being very dangerous. We certainly never tried it in traffic. We might come back to this later on.

Now, he's 3 3/4 and his 4th birthday present was a CUDA bike in horrific Dayglow yellow and green with black and white "badger stripe" tyres. I've almost persuaded myself that it is Tour de Yorkshire colours... but no1 Son loves it to bits. He got it early and after a couple of sessions with a gentle grass slope and some careful instruction on brakes and pedals he was ready to try riding on a (very quiet) country lane. Last weekend he did a lap of York Racecourse on the cycle paths and coped really well with the extra traffic due to the Rally. He's happy uphill and down, and I'm absolutely chuffed to bits with him and his progress. We're seriously considering a trip to Dalby Forest on his fourth birthday (the family path, not the World Cup circuit :) )

This was only possible due to the balance bike, they're an absolutely fantastic invention and I can't recommend them highly enough.

One piece of advice I'd give is that if you give a child a bike with V-brakes (or probably any other brakes) don't be tempted to adjust them to perfection in a moment of Proud-Dad efficiency. The first time we tried an emergency stop from 1mph he nearly went over the bars - I un-tweaked the front brake immediately so it gives mild decceleration at full grip. He can still lock the rear brake if he tries but I'd rather he slid the back than went over the front.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2015, 02:27:17 pm »
I saw one of these in the window of the new cycle café in Hassocks at the weekend. Cute, but bonkers. Only for the terminally wealthy, or the children of pro-racers for the inevitable photo-shoot.
Rust never sleeps

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2015, 03:04:28 pm »
The Wikipedia entry on Balance Bikes has it as a fact that the first run out for a Dandy Horse was June 12th 1817.

Hmm, 200 year anniversary of two wheeled transport coming up. How should we best/most appropriately celebrate ?
Rust never sleeps

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2015, 03:44:02 pm »
There is a Dandy Chargers section in the Veteran-Cycle Club and I expect they'll be celebrating the bicentenary in style.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #39 on: June 27, 2015, 06:12:29 pm »
All three of my kids learned on balance bikes. I bought one from Germany that converted from a balance bike to a pedal bike, so they were familiar with it. They all, more or less, took off on pedals a few minutes after having the pedals fitted. It's probably still in the cellar in Budapest.
Haggerty F, Haggerty R, Tomkins, Noble, Carrick, Robson, Crapper, Dewhurst, Macintyre, Treadmore, Davitt.

Morat

  • I tried to HTFU but something went ping :(
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #40 on: July 07, 2015, 02:48:24 pm »
I saw one of these in the window of the new cycle café in Hassocks at the weekend. Cute, but bonkers. Only for the terminally wealthy, or the children of pro-racers for the inevitable photo-shoot.

Mad as it is, that's only a tenner more than JoJoMamanRipoff were selling kiddimoto Kurves for a couple of years back.
Tandem Stoker, CX bike abuser (slicks and tarmac) and owner of a sadly neglected MTB.

Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #41 on: November 07, 2015, 11:53:14 am »
I am looking for a first balance bike for #1 grandson at 14 months he is too young for the isla model, recommended from 2+ anyone recommend a stop gap
 An unbiiased opioin is that he is if course advanced for his age.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #42 on: November 07, 2015, 04:18:54 pm »
However 'advanced' a child might be, his legs at 14 months will still probably be very short.
I'm not convinced anything beyond a ride-on toddler toy is appropriate yet.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #43 on: November 09, 2015, 04:44:37 pm »
We found a Toddlebike very useful from an early age.  It's not quite a balance bike, but it gets them ready for that.  We passed ours on to another tiny forumite.
Getting there...

ianrauk

  • Tattooed Beat Messiah
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #44 on: November 14, 2015, 09:23:35 pm »
Another vote for the Toddlebike.
My boy was zooming around on his at the age of 12 months...

ianrauk

  • Tattooed Beat Messiah
Re: In praise of balance bikes.
« Reply #45 on: November 14, 2015, 09:26:48 pm »
And talking of Toddlebikes...

they are looking for people to trial the Toddlebike 2

http://www.toddlebike.co.uk/toddlebike2launch/