When my 3 year old cycles around the park on his pedal bike we get stopped by a lot of people commenting how young he is to be riding a two wheeler, and how fantastic his balance is. Well it is all thanks to the ‘balance bike’...
We used to get stopped when he was on his balance bike too, people would watch him glide around the park and fly down hills and be amazed at his skill and balance, but most had never seen one before. I was asked if they were a new invention and so I decided to do a little research and actually they originate from the 18oo’s: the first balance bike was the Dandy Horse which was a pre-pedal bike.
If you are weighing up a balance bike vs pedal bike with stabilisers my vote defiantly falls in favour of the balance bike. It allows more freedom for off-roading, we walk in the woods a lot and there is no way Freddie would have been able to ride over the rough terrain we encounter with stabilisers. The obvious advantage is that it has taught him to balance and - as soon as he had mastered that he got straight on a pedal bike.
In our experience if you get a balance bike make sure that your toddlers feet are flat on the floor when he sits on the seat and if you can muster up the cash get one with a break, it means the transition to pedal bike is a little easier as he will have learnt how to break with his hands as well as his feet.
We used a Puky balance bike and have moved on to the Puky pedal bike
You can read our review of Puky bikes here with videos (coming soon)