There are developmental milestones and there are cultural milestones for children. Developmental milestones are those that are naturally achieved no matter the culture and their significance is acknowledged universally: sitting up, first words, and first steps are among these milestones. Then there are those whose significance is culturally specific: dancing in their first recital, the first time they catch a football, and learning how to ride a bicycle. These milestones are present in a variety of cultures but they are not universal, and we tend to attach a great deal of sentimentality to them.
For me, the most significant of these childhood milestones was learning how to ride a bike. The emotions I connect with this event in my life are complex as I struggled to master this skill. I was the last among my friends to learn; this served as a source of shame for me. As my friends would speed off on their Schwinns, no training wheels in sight, I was left behind on my big wheel.
As an adult, I can look back on this and find it humorous, the image of my sad, child self, sitting on my big wheel, watching my friends disappear into the distance. But the emotions I felt are still very real to me. Thankfully, today, there are other options available, allowing us to spare our kids such an experience.
One of the most safest and fun options is that of a balance bike. Balance bikes allow children to master the skills of balancing and steering a bicycle before they incorporate the action of pedaling. By minimizing the amount of actions a child must master at one time, kids are less likely to be overwhelmed by the learning process. Instead of propelling the bike via a pedal, gear, and chain system, the bike is moved forward in a simple, gliding motion propelled by walking and pushes—eventually continuing on via weight and gravity. Unlike traditional bicycles, these bikes can balance at a low speed, which helps the budding biker feel confident while learning.
There are many options available today from a variety of manufacturers. One of our favorites is by the company Glide Bikes. While many balance bikes are made from wood, Glide Bikes balance bikes are made from lightweight, lead-free metal, making them durable and manageable for even the smallest boys and girls. Both the seat and the handlebars adjust, making the bike last as your children grow. The company has patented its slow speed geometry, which allows the bike to be balanced at speeds as low as 1.5 mph. Each bike comes with two features which are pretty unique in the world of balance bikes: kickstands and foot pegs. The foot pegs can be rotated out of the way or completely removed. Finally, each bike is covered by a lifetime warranty, so you never need to worry about the security of your purchase.
Glide Bikes offers several options to choose from. Their smallest bike, suited for the youngest of riders, is the Ezee Glider. This model is appropriate for riders as young as 18 months and can be adjusted to allow use up to 5 years of age. It offers all of the features present in the larger Glide Bikes’ models, such as removable foot pegs and adjustable handle bars. Out of the balance bikes available on the market, this one is among the slowest with its ability to balance at 1.5 MPH. It also comes with an easy to operate hand brake.
|Glide Bikes Ezee Glider in Black|
The next step up in the Glide Bikes line is the Mini Glider. This bike is best for children between 2 and 5 years of age. As with the Ezee Glider, the Mini Glider is able to balance at speeds as low as 1.5 MPH and offers all of the features standard to Glide Bikes. This bike is slightly larger than the Ezee Glider.
The largest of the Glide Bike line is the Go Glider. At 16”, this bike is suitable for riders aged 5-10 years and can support a rider weighing up to 125 pounds. This bike can balance at speeds as low as 1.5 MPH but it is also perfectly safe at higher speeds, depending on the comfort of the rider. It is also an excellent way to help a child who is learning to ride later than his or her peers build confidence. It comes with all standard Glide Bikes features.
|Glide Bikes Go Glider in Pink|
If you are looking for a way to introduce your little boy or girl to the skills required to ride a bike, Glide Bikes balance bikes are the way to go. With the options available, you are sure to find one that works for your little one.