Switching to a Pedal Bike
The main objective of a balance bike is to teach your child to ride so that they can transition to a pedal bike. However, there is no rush. Don’t push the switch even if you think they are riding well. A pedal bike is much heavier and more difficult to manoeuver than a balance bike, and until your child has a solid grasp on balancing and steering, it will be very difficult for them to make the transition. Your child will let you know when he or she is ready to try a pedal bike, and that confidence is important for success. Practice does make perfect, after all, and practicing on a balance bike is fun!
When your child is ready, find a simple, light pedal bike for them to use. Extra features mean extra weight, which makes the bike even more difficult to control. Make sure the bike is an appropriate size for your child’s height and weight, as well. If the bike is too big or too small, it can make riding even more challenging and could discourage your child from learning. Your child should be able to plant their feet on the ground with their legs straight. Do NOT use training wheels to “supplement” a bike that is too large for your child. Training wheels create a false sense of balance that will undo all your child’s hard work in learning to ride on the balance bike.
Remember, above all, that bike riding, whether balance or pedal, is supposed to be fun! Not only will your child be getting healthy exercise, but they will be learning a skill that will provide hours of fresh-air entertainment in years to come. Consider taking your own bike out for a spin, and let your child choose which bike (balance or pedal) to accompany you on. As he or she gains more confidence on different terrain and by watching you, they will naturally transition to the pedal bike over time.