Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Best Way To Learn to Ride A Bike (And Then What We Did)

My friend had a pedal-free “balance bicycle” that her toddler used.  The kid could barely walk but she would scoot around like a mini Dale Earnhardt.  Apparently balance bikes are all the rage in Germany.   The beauty, my friend explained, is that having learned to balance on their behinds, the kids effortlessly transition to two wheel bicycles avoiding the whole troublesome training wheel stage.   This is the best way to learn how to ride a bike.  Just not for my kids.

To make a pedal-free bike, you can just temporarily remove the pedals from a regular child’s bike.   However, to give my child the utmost advantage, I splurged on a beautiful, European, wooden, spoke-free, pedal-free balance bike for my daughter.  She wasn’t interested.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  She was excited for about 2 minutes, until she tried it and couldn’t balance on it.  Then she actively disliked it.   Many tears, months and arguments later, I bought her a bike with training wheels.

“What’s the hardest thing about learning to ride a bike?”
“The pavement.”  That’s the punch line I learned as a kid, but it turns out there is something harder.