Balance bikes, or sometimes known as runna bikes, glide bikes or pedal free bikes and I am sure there are more – are all names for a bike that has no pedals. The rider’s legs are used to propel, move and stop the bike. They are a pre-bike, that is a bike designed to be used by kids before they are ready to ride a bike.
The primary skill before you can progress to any other skill when learning to ride a bike is balance. You cannot stay upright, steer or pedal a bike unless you can first balance a bike. Hence it makes perfect sense that we perfect this skill first… arrrh here we see the beauty of the balance bike.
Say goodbye to the days of trainer wheels and the back breaking task of Mum and Dad running behind the bike balancing it, while the child focuses on pedaling. The balance bike breaks down the motor skills required to ride a bike and allows your child to focus on the skills required to learn to ride a bike in sequence. Firstly balance and steering and then when they have mastered these moving onto a bicycle to allow pedaling, braking and the skills just roll on from there. Simple really. Well it is!
The balance bike allows the child in their own time to progressively challenge themselves on the amount of balance required when using the balance bike. They start in:
Stage One: spending a lot of time with two foot contact (walking stage) progress to
Stage Two: one foot contact (running stage) then progressing to
Stage Three: no foot contact (gliding stage).
These stages are natural progressions and most children intuitively move through the stages however others may require facilitation. Most children are internally driven to get to the gliding stage, alternatively it could be called the weeeeee stage. The time to progress through these stages will be different for individual children.
Because I know what you might be thinking…. but we all learnt to ride a bike without using a balance bike? Take some time to remember your experience? Was it easy, without stress? Knowledge, time, globalisation … has given us the balance bike, embrace it, it is a wonderful aid in teaching children the skill of balance on two wheels. Balance is also essential in many other gross motor skills, like running, hopping, catching, hitting a ball and many more. Some of the neural pathways (that is the connections, the messages from our brain) established when learning to balance a bike will have flow on to these other motor skills and tasks.
get Better and goRide – Embrace the Balance Bike
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories, resources & products support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
goRide helps you find your riding SMILE. Now it’s your turn….Contact goRide. Your thoughts, comments or feedback will make us SMILE.