By Jen Wilson
I am not the most patient person. So when it comes to teaching someone a skill, I am the last person who should be asked. It took me a few years to teach my eldest daughter to ride her bike. I’d take her out to the street, run behind her holding the back of her seat, and then get extremely annoyed when she wouldn’t even try. I’d get frustrated when she wouldn’t put in the effort. She’s too much like me: she’d rather not do something than try it and fail. When she was seven or eight, she finally got it. And neither of us flipped out at the other (that time).
The aforementioned daughter got a new bike a couple weeks ago, and her old, too-small bike was fitted with training wheels and passed down to her little sister. The girls rode their bikes around in the backyard while the elder got used to her new wheels, and soon she wanted to go around the block. The younger one wanted to go, too, and I figured it was a good time to teach her the art of pedalling. It didn’t go well. She’s not exactly a calm child, and by the time we got back to the house, I was done. I was convinced that there had to be a better way.
Apparently there is! Enter the Balance Bike. Instead of placing the emphasis on learning to pedal, like a tricycle or a two-wheeler with training wheels would do, the balance bike places the emphasis on balance, steering, and coordination. The balance bike takes pedalling out of the mix so that a child can focus on balance, which actually takes much more practice than pedalling anyway.
Balance Bikes are a safer way to learn to ride. They are free from cables, chains, sprockets, pedals, or protrusions that can harm your child. Balance Bikes are steady, stable, and safe. When he or she feels unstable, your child will instinctively place both feet on the ground. There are no trike tip-overs or wobbly training wheels that cause fear, hesitancy, or a dislike of bike riding. For her own safety and my sanity, I’m pretty sure my kid needs one of these.
Balance Bikes, starting at $70, available from balancebikescanada.ca.
How did you teach your kid(s) to ride a bike? Did you use a Balance Bike? Training wheels? Lots of patience?
Jen Wilson is a married mother of three super-awesome children—two girls and a boy—who range in age from 1-11. She enjoys photography, organizing, reading, TV, and sarcasm. She drinks her coffee black and dreams of one day owning a dishwasher. You can also find her on her blog, Hey Mrs. Wilson, where she has been writing about life in Saskatchewan since 2004.