balance bike or training wheels? - Mothering Forums

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Old 05-26-2008, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Which is better?

DD will be 3 in August. She has a tricycle, but she has a hard time with that. We visited my aunt whose little girl is 3 and has a small bike with training wheels and dd was able to ride her bike no problem and she loved it. However, I think the training wheels on that bike were even with the ground and the bikes I've seen at stores have training wheels that are a bit off the ground (so the kid can only be on one of the training wheels at once).

The balance bikes are very cool, but dd is a very cautious kid and I'm not sure if she'd actually run and glide with a balance bike. I worry she'd end up just walking with it between her legs and getting bored with it.
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Old 05-26-2008, 03:21 PM
 
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It sounds like you found a situation that works for your daughter and that seems great. We had the off the ground type of training wheels but ds was four and probably and only used them for a couple of months.
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Old 05-26-2008, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It sounds like you found a situation that works for your daughter and that seems great. We had the off the ground type of training wheels but ds was four and probably and only used them for a couple of months.
Only we can't find bikes with training wheels that are even with the ground at the stores. My aunt got hers from her friend, so she doesn't know where it came from
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Old 05-26-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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The training wheels are adjustable- you should be able to set them to be even with the ground (and, indeed, any bike you get you need to go over and make sure it's put together right and that all the things which need to be tight are tight- toy store employees are not exactly bike experts).

That said, I think the combination of having a tricycle and a balance bike is perfect, allowing the practice of both pedaling (on the tricycle), the concept of steering to go where you want, and the feel, balance, and steering of a bike (on the balance bike). And yes, at not yet three, your child will certainly walk with the bike between her legs, and may get bored, or may just LOVE doing that, and may gain confidence to go faster quickly, or may do it quite slowly; she may leave it and come back to it later. My older daughter was very careful and slow with the balance bikes at age 4-5, until she was 5y9mo and took off on it, and at 5y10m she spent three days with her pedal bike (no training wheels) and was riding like a pro. My younger daughter, at 2.5 was slowly walking the balance bike around, and before she was 3 was gliding down curved paths- I wouldn't be surprised to find that if she has time to ride the bikes this summer that she's on a pedal bike without training wheels before she's 4 (and, on the other hand, maybe she won't be). Neither one could use a tricycle with real skill (pedaling, steering purposefully) until 3.5 (older DD) and 3 (younger).

Bikes with training wheels aren't bad things, but I think balance bikes are safer and more fun, and I think that tricycles have gotten a real bum deal in recent years as being only for "babies". My 6 year old still really enjoys riding tricycles!

Unschooling mama to DD1, 11/2001
and DD2, 11/2004
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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The balance bike was very much used and loved here. It made the transition to a petal bike very smooth. Yes, they need the practice petalling but the balance bike gave my dd great confidence to ride a 2 wheeler.
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Old 05-26-2008, 05:43 PM
 
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We have all three here--a tricycle, a balance bike, and a bike with training wheels. My oldest (5 tomorrow) loves the trike and doesn't really like riding her bike with training wheels. She is pretty cautious and has taken a fall or two on the training wheels. She hasn't really tried the balance bike. My middle, a physically daring boy, just turned three, loves, loves, loves his balance bike. He started off just walking it without picking his feet up at all, but over the past month has started coasting a bit. He is improving quickly, and I almost fear that he'll be ready to ride with pedals before I'm ready for him to. (He's impulsive and has poor "keeping safe" judgement)

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Old 05-26-2008, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you make a pseudo balance bike by removing the pedals of a regular bike?
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Old 05-26-2008, 08:44 PM
 
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Have you got a scooter? That can be a great transition to a balance bike or ordinary bike.

I tried removing the pedals from my dd's little bike but it wasn't possible, I think most bigger bikes have removable pedals but lots of little ones don't unfortunately.
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:17 PM
 
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My 2 yr. old has a trike and a 12" bike with training wheels and likes to ride them both. He can pedal better (faster!) on the trike, but is rapidly improving on the training wheels. I think we'll take the training wheels off this fall or next spring.
My oldest never rode a balance bike, he went from a trike to training wheel bike and we took the training wheels off at 4 (as soon as he was tall enough for his 16" bike we bought him at 3 ).
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Old 05-26-2008, 10:24 PM
 
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I second the scooter suggestion. We got my daughter one a few weeks ago, and it has helped her balance tremendously.

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Old 05-26-2008, 11:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Maybe we'll have to try a scooter, too. thanks for the idea
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Old 05-27-2008, 12:41 AM
 
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We have had both a trike and bikes with training wheels. With the training wheels we have just moved them up (they're adjustable) as our kids have gotten more and more balanced. By the time my son wanted them off at four he wasn't really using them because they had been moved up so high. I've also found that some kids have a harder time with the pedals out front on trikes but can manage them on bikes because of being above them. It sounds like that is what worked for your daughter.
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Old 05-27-2008, 05:26 AM
 
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DS loves his trike, but I wanted him to get some practice with balance. The two-wheeled scooter has helped with that, but we also borrowed his friend's balance bike. DS had very little interest in the balance bike a few months ago around his 3rd birthday, but in the past month has really figured it out and now can run on it and kick up his feet and glide. I think in another month or two he'll be ready for a regular 2-wheeler. Could you borrow a balance bike from anyone? Seems like kids only need it for about 6 months or so once they figure it out.

Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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Old 05-29-2008, 02:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What 2-wheel scooters are small enough for a not-quite-3 year old?
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:37 AM
 
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No experience here with the training wheels but my DS has been using a balance bike for the last 2 years and LOVES IT. It still has plenty adjustment left so will be sticking with it for another year or two. I think it is a great confidence builder and much more safe than pedal bike (you literally cannot fall off it!).
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Old 05-29-2008, 05:55 AM
 
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Originally Posted by haleyelianasmom View Post
What 2-wheel scooters are small enough for a not-quite-3 year old?
The Razor scooters are very adjustable and work great for little kids. We have this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Razor-Kick-Sco...2047714&sr=8-1

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Old 05-29-2008, 08:40 AM
 
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The Razor scooters are very adjustable and work great for little kids. We have this one:

http://www.amazon.com/Razor-Kick-Sco...2047714&sr=8-1
That looks really cool- I think I may get one for my 4 year old daughter & wow- it even has hot pink!


Will it help with bike riding? She has a 2 wheeler with training wheels & really doesn't like to ride it much.

Thanks!
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Old 05-29-2008, 09:50 AM
 
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I have a question about balance bikes. My son is only 14 months old, but he is very tall and extremely active. I have a Radio Flyer trike without pedals, and he adores it. He can run with it while sitting on the seat, and even pulls his feet up to coast. He will actually seek out hills outside to coast down. I am wondering if he is too little for a balance bike. I get the feeling that he will love it so much, but I am not sure if he is too little for one. Unfortunately, there are no retailers around here that sell them, so I can't go into a store and try one. When I do finally buy one, it will have to be online.

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Old 05-29-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Will it help with bike riding? She has a 2 wheeler with training wheels & really doesn't like to ride it much.

Thanks!
I think it does because although scooting seems hard, it doesn't take long for them to perfect the scooting bit then be able to put enough energy into it that they can put both feet on the footplate. Once they can glide like that, getting on a bike is easy.

Now, my dd uses a scooting leg action to get her bike going then starts pedalling.
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Old 05-29-2008, 12:21 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
I have a question about balance bikes. My son is only 14 months old, but he is very tall and extremely active. I have a Radio Flyer trike without pedals, and he adores it. He can run with it while sitting on the seat, and even pulls his feet up to coast. He will actually seek out hills outside to coast down. I am wondering if he is too little for a balance bike. I get the feeling that he will love it so much, but I am not sure if he is too little for one. Unfortunately, there are no retailers around here that sell them, so I can't go into a store and try one. When I do finally buy one, it will have to be online.
For my kids, that would have been way too young, but it sounds like your DS is pretty advanced on this, though gliding on a 3 wheeler is obviously quite different from gliding on a 2 wheeler. You'll have to compare balance bikes-- some of them are pretty tall (like, too tall for my 3 year old!) and the whole point of it is moot if their feet can't touch the ground. There was a thread around here earlier this year comparing sizes... I'll see if I can find it.

I do recommend getting a trike with pedals so he can learn pedaling. It's a skill that seems to take some kids a lot longer than others to get the hang of.

Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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Old 05-29-2008, 01:24 PM
 
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This is the only one I found, though I'm sure there was another with actual measurements someone had taken
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ighlight=skuut

The bike we are borrowing is the Kinderbike and it does seem to be one of the smaller ones. DS loves it-- it looks just like a "real" bike!

Mommy to two boys, ages 4 and 6.

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Old 05-29-2008, 03:00 PM
 
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http://store.likeabikeusa.com/mercha...ory_Code=BIKES

This place has balancingbikes in atleast 3 different heights, it seems. Looks really cool!

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Old 05-29-2008, 09:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Pumpkin_Pie View Post
I have a question about balance bikes. My son is only 14 months old, but he is very tall and extremely active. I have a Radio Flyer trike without pedals, and he adores it. He can run with it while sitting on the seat, and even pulls his feet up to coast. He will actually seek out hills outside to coast down. I am wondering if he is too little for a balance bike. I get the feeling that he will love it so much, but I am not sure if he is too little for one. Unfortunately, there are no retailers around here that sell them, so I can't go into a store and try one. When I do finally buy one, it will have to be online.
My son started out with a balance bike (homemade out of a TINY little fisherprice bike) last yr at about 18 mths. He is now 2.5 and can ride a 2 wheeler with no training wheels. We also made a balance bike for my 4.5 yr old DD by just taking the pedals and training wheels of her bike. She is also now riding a two wheeler with not training wheels.
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