One of the first skills that parents usually teach their toddlers is learning how to ride a bike. Much like swimming or tying your shoelaces, riding a bike pretty much makes it to the list of things any kid should learn while growing up.
Do you remember how you learned how to ride a bike? Did you automatically get on a standard two-wheeled bicycle and roughed it during the learning process? Or did you start out with training wheels?
Engineered to safely help ease kids into riding a bike, training wheels have their advantages. But a new type of bike, called balance bikes (sometimes also referred to as a straddle bike), is sweeping the world by storm as a better alternative to training wheels.
What exactly are balance bikes? By their very name, balance bikes aim to first teach your child to practice and develop a firm sense of balance to prepare him for the real thing.
Designed with kids in mind, balance bikes don’t have pedals, no crankset and chain, no training wheels and are set low, close to the ground. Parents have been raving about just how quickly their kids have gotten the hang of balancing, even as fast as within three hours, that they might eventually render training wheels useless and unmarketable. Says Carl Burgwardt of the Pedaling History Bicycle Museum in Orchard Park, New York, “(Training wheels) don't teach anything. All it does is prolong the agony of learning to ride."