The traditional way to learn to ride a bike is to start with a small bike with stabilsers on it. It worked for us, so why wouldn't it work for our children?
It Was Good Enough For Me
Well there are a lot of things that worked for our generation that turned out not to be such a good idea, like strapping your baby into a carry cot on the back seat instead of carseat, or eating turkey twizzlers every day after school, so perhaps a different method for learning to ride would work better.
Stabilisers Do Not Teach Cycling
Stabilisers give children the opportunity to learn how to pedal, and that's about all. Everything else when riding a bike will be totally different once the stabilisers are removed: * The bike will move faster; * You need to use your core muscles to balance the bike; * You need to lean when steering; * The bike falls on you when you stop, if you forget to put your foot down.
Stabilisers Are Not Fun
Besides from the fact that training wheels aren't the best educational tool, they also suck the fun out of riding a bike: * They make you go really slow; * Whenever you come up to uneven ground the bike rocks scarily from side to side; * You can get beached with the stabilisers on the ground but the back wheel slightly off it, spinning around with no traction. All these interruptions to the fun of riding could put your child off cycling altogether.
Balance Bikes Give Freedom
Using a balance bike is comparable to riding a scooter. There's no learning to be done, or instructions needed: children sit on the seat and instinctively swing their legs to scoot along the floor, while using their body to balance the bike. Balance bikes glide over bumps in the road, and never need a push from mum or dad to gather momentum. Compare this effortless freedom to the stop-start ride offered by training wheels and you can see why more and more parents are turning to balance bikes for their child's first set of wheels.
Balance bikes offer young kids the opportunity to move at the same pace as the adults and older children, which is great for enjoying a family bike ride, or speeding up an on-foot commute to school.
Besides balance bikes being more fun, many have a built in safety feature for young children. When riding a regular bike fixed with training wheels, it is possible to turn the handlebar too sharply and wither come to an abrupt stop, or topple the bike over. Many training bikes are built without this full range of movement in the handlebars, so you can turn it enough to change direction, but can't swivel the bars back on themselves and crash. This is great for when young children are learning to ride, but remember when you upgrade to a regular bike, your child will need to familiarise themselves with the new range of movement in the steering.