They say you never forget how to ride a bike. But have you forgotten the first time you rode your first bike? How old were you? If it was a typical bike it probably had training wheels to get you used to the bike before they were eventually taken off. I don’t even remember ever having training wheels on my bike, but I do remember falling an awful lot.
It’s better if a kid can start out with a balance bike. Manufacturers of balance bikes say that kids learn faster on them than regular bikes with training wheels. A balance bike has to be small enough so that the rider can walk the bike while sitting on it with both feet flat on the ground. The idea is that eventually they will be able to run with the bike and lift their feet off the ground while coasting. This is how they learn to balance.
Learning how to pedal and balance is a bit tricky. Training wheels only teach kids how to pedal, not how to balance, which is much harder. Kids who learn on a balance bike learn how to balance first and then learn how to combine it with pedaling. Balance bikes are safer because kids are less likely to fall off and skin their knees if they are already used to balancing on a small bike without pedals.
Balance bikes have actually been around since the late 1800s, but the new versions are sleek, lightweight and durable.
According to the National Sporting Goods Association, the number of women bike riders is up slightly, while the number of kids riding bikes is down slightly. Maybe that is because more kids are sitting at home playing computer games. But parents should be encouraging their kids to get out and get some exercise and fresh air, hopefully taking rides together.