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The Ultimate Balance Bike User Guide

There is no doubt about it, children have fun with balance bikes! This playful accessory has proven to be the perfect starting point for learning to ride a bike, but one question remains, how does the balance bike help your child master the art of balance? We therefore interviewed Steve Miller, Cycle Promotion Manager at Newport Live and Wilson Berger Cherry, our little French rider!

The balance bike is ideal for giving your child a taste of cycling since it allows your child to learn to ride in their own way and above all, at their speed. That being said, it is just as easy to transport for parents, due to its lightness. Practical and fun accessory to keep children busy on the way to the park or the beach, it has many advantages, so it is not surprising that the balance bike has become an essential item to offer to all toddlers!

The balance bike has many qualities including the fact that it seems to be a safe & effective way for your child to learn to develop a key element in the practice of cycling: balance. In order to help your child, get the best out of the practice of the balance bike we asked our French ambassador Wilson & Steve Miller, Cycles Promotion Manager at Newport, for advice on their techniques and on the different steps to follow that will allow your child to move towards a more confident and fun ride.

 

Here is a little bit of the journey of our two experts:

Steve Miller, Cycle Promotion Manager at Newport Live is the founder of the very popular program in England: The "Tots Cycling Program" which aims to bring together a community of balance bike riders. This initiative was created 6 years ago and has chosen to think bigger by partnering with the Frog brand, allowing 40 children to ride & have fun finding balance on our Tadpole every Sunday in Wales National Velodrome in Newport.

Wilson Berger Cherri, Ambassador of the Frog brand in France  is certainly as charming as an ambassador can be! But behind this cherubic smile hides a determined little balance bike rider who has won many races in the past thanks to his remarkable mastery of the balance bike. His cycling journey began at the age of 18 months and there is no denying that he was able to feel at ease from day one, like a fish in water.

Why practice the balance bike?

Biking is a complex task in terms of coordination for a child, including balance, pedaling, handling and braking. Traditionally, practice has been to know how to pedal first with the wheels and then learn to balance by removing them. Today we have come to realize that it is better to learn balance first and then pedaling afterwards.

As Steve explains to us:

“Balance is a key skill to make learning to cycle easier and more successful. If your child's foot slips off the pedal as he learns, being able to balance will give him enough time to put his foot back on the pedal and restart without having to stop.

Balance allows any cyclist to keep his momentum in the event that it is called into question. It is one of the essential skills for any cyclist, thus allowing a better grip & a better insurance on the bike.  

 

What skills are developed with the balance bike?

Clearly, the balance bike is a fun way to introduce your child to the bike, and starting early can help in a number of ways. As Steve explains to us, the balance bike is a powerful way to promote "Self-confidence, reduce the fear of falling and it hurts!" and help to "develop as early as possible motor and essential skills useful for other activities of daily living”.

Children will feel more confident on their balance bikes because they have control of their ride. With both feet touching the ground, they feel secure when they are at the controls while seated in the seat. With better control, kids can explore and push the limits at their own speeds while enjoying the ability to choose their cruising speeds! This coordination training from an early age allows them to develop their motor and cognitive skills. A renowned Swiss psychologist, Jean Piaget, remarked through his research on the development of children "Play is at the heart of childhood". His research guides our development and is known to be a pioneer in learning how to educate children through play. As a strong advocate of "developing children's creativity", he tells us “Children need a long uninterrupted period of play and exploration “. His research reinforced this feeling those children need to learn on their own, which applies very well to what the practice of the balance bike releases in young cyclists.

 

At what age should you start riding a balance bike?

Every child is different and it is therefore important to adapt to their level. Some children walk after 9 months, others much later. It is essential that the child knows how to walk before starting the balance bike! Our range of balance bikes is suitable for all children aged 1 to 4, so you can be sure to find what you are looking for in our range.

For older children, our range of Junior Bikes gives more flexibility since by removing the pedals, the bike becomes a balance bike and by adding them it becomes a junior bike again. As Steve explains, there is no age to start the bike:

“We had sessions with 18-month-old children but for some time now we have been seeing two-year-old children joining our classes. We allow younger children on condition that the parents stay close to them during the exercises. It is often the case that it is on the initiative of parents that children under two years of age come to these lessons to try out the balance bike.”

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