I was introduced to a balance bike (or at least the idea of one) for the first time two years ago. During a three week stay in Brooklyn, I saw this little 3-year old kid riding around the park on a very small bike. I was amazed and couldn't take my eyes off of him. I asked his mom how he learned to ride so young and she told me how they started him off on a balance bike. After a few months he was ready for one with pedals. I had never heard of a balance bike before, and I filed it away in my head for future reference.
But teaching the kids to ride a bike hasn't been a big priority. And now Jonah is too big for a dedicated balance bike. Back in June though, we did acquire a Classic Balance Bike
by Smart Gear for Elisabeth.
Again, not much time was was spent encouraging her to ride it until we got back from our vacation. Perhaps motivated by all his bike riding on the trip, Kelly worked with Elisabeth almost every evening. The key was she was enjoying herself and she started to really get the hang of going downhill.
After a couple of weeks, we thought she was ready to upgrade to a big girl bike and we found a great girly, pink one on Craigslist. Well, turned out she was not quite ready. She wasn't comfortable on the bigger bike and those pesky pedals were in the way. So, we regrouped, took the pedals off and made a balance bike for Jonah.
He was not very uninterested at first and after falling was even more hesitant even resistent. But, Daddy adjusted the seat and convinced him to give it another go. Well, it was a turning point. Again, the fun factor won him over. Now they both ask to go for a bike ride almost daily.
Thankfully, Jonah is not offended by the pink Barbie themed bike with frillies on the handlebars.