Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rite of passage but some kids find it easier than others. We asked the experts at Mocka for their advice on helping little ones to find their balance and get moving.
Balance bikes teach kids the key skills needed to later upgrade to a pedal bike. You can start your child on a balance bike from as young as 18 months old. They are so easy to use that most kids will hit the ground running, but here are some tips from the experts at Mocka to help get everyone moving.
1 Safety first
Mocka’s balance bikes are built with safety as a priority, but be sure to grab a helmet. Your child’s head needs to be protected for the inevitable learning-curve tumbles. Make safety fun by letting your child choose one to match his personal flair.
2 Measure before you buy
Mocka’s balance bikes come in a range of sizes to ensure both safety and comfort. Before you buy, measure your child’s inner leg and refer to the sizing chart at mocka.co.nz to inform your choice. Most of Mocka’s bikes have three seat settings which can be easily adjusted as your child grows. For ultimate durability, try Mocka’s Ninja Bike which has four seat adjustments available.
3 Support their confidence in balance
Some children find getting on a bike daunting. Start by holding the bike and getting your child to hop on and off the seat. Once your child realises they can put their weight on the bike seat as they would on a normal seat, it's time to teach them how to balance - knowing that they can touch the ground with their feet at any time. Hold the bike by the seat and reassure your child that you won’t let them fall over. Balance bikes allow your child to focus on developing balance, rather than pedalling and braking, so you should be able to let go of the seat after a few tries!
4 Slow and steady wins the race
If your child is cautious about hopping on his bike, start by getting him to walk alongside it while holding both the handles. This will help him become familiar with steering. Confidence (and speed!) grows incrementally and naturally as individual children develop skills at their own pace.
5 Encourage gliding
Balance bikes give children a good level of control over their own advancement, but if your child needs a hint of direction, encourage him to glide by just pushing off with his feet to see how far he can get without stopping. It’s best to start off doing this on relatively fl at and grassy terrain, just in case he gets the wobbles. As soon as he has gliding sorted, he’ll be roaming far and wide. The next step, transitioning to a pedal bike, is easy as balance has been well-established.
FAMILY BIKE RIDES
And for when you want to journey a bit further than little legs will pedal or push themselves, try the iBert kids’ bike seat. The iBert is New Zealand's favourite front-mounted kids’ bike seat, suitable for children from ages one to four. It’s safe, comfortable, easy to install, and kids love the view.
Short Easy Bike Rides, Kennett Brothers, $24.90, kennett.co.nz; iBert kids’ bike seat, $195, bellsandwhistles.co.nz
Image at top: Mocka Ninja bike, $99.95, and Little Nutty helmets, $99.95 each, mocka.co.nz