If you are a parent with young kids, you are probably anxious to get them into all the fun that two wheels have to offer. Who doesn't want their kids to enjoy that same incredible mixture of excitement, nerves, and freedom? Which brings us to the real question of training wheels or a balance bike? This has been a heated debate for the past 5 years or so, causing many arguments and even pitting parents against one another on the best way to teach the little ones to ride.
Like any great argument, there is a notable point of disagreement, which is whether to teach kids the way we all learned, training wheels, or whether to venture into the relatively new world of balance bikes. I think most of us have a lot of fond memories associated with our introduction to the bicycle, so it is easy to see how nostalgia can easily leave one thinking that the way they learned is the best or only way to go about it. But honestly haven't we really changed the way a lot of things have been done from our childhood in exchange for more efficient or favorable options? No matter how you answer these questions, balance bikes are here and they are gaining ground everyday.
So, let's look at why so many parents are putting the training wheels on the shelf and going the pedal-less route. Besides the fact that training wheels are honestly clunky and tiresome for many parents, one of the biggest arguments for the balance bike movement is safety. There is no doubt that having the child's feet right at ground level and being able to give their undivided attention to balance rather than pedaling is safer, but is it better? Are a few skinned knees and elbows really that big of a deal? Some experts say yes, focusing on the fact that fear is one of the greatest limiting factors in how quickly young riders pick up interest and ability in the bikes. By allowing kids to have their feet closer to the ground and essentially eliminating the fear element from the balancing and learning process, it seems logical that kids would get more comfortable quickly.
The other solid point in favor of the balance bike is that kids can entirely skip the training wheel phase, going straight to a 16" pedal bike, as their balance will be well developed already. This saves time and money, and has shown faster results by removing the auxiliary step of training wheels. Allowing kids to be comfortable and ride sooner is really the goal, which is why the balance bike revolution is really gaining ground.
No matter which side you are on, I think we can all agree that getting kids acquainted and comfortable with two wheels as early as possible is really optimal. It allows families to get outside, share the rules of road safety, and allow their family to stay fit and have fun together. Balance bikes are here to stay, and for good reason. So, if you are looking for the optimal way to get your young one on two wheels, a balance bike just may be your best bet.
Interested in getting a balance bike for your young one? Checkout our new selection of Muna 12" Balance Bikes today!