Parenting Hack: Preschoolers on Two-Wheel Bikes

Tuned In parents - parenting tips and hacks for bike training

Did you know your child is capable of riding a two-wheel bike (no training wheels) as early as age four? The beautiful part is this parenting hack from a savvy single dad in California focuses more on playing than training, yet kids learn to ride in a fraction of the time!

Training Wheels vs. Balance Bike

Tuned In Parents - toddler on balance bike

Most of us were introduced to bikes via training wheels. That’s how I learned; and at age seven they came off, and I began my wobbly two-wheel bike training. However, as a parent, I learned something new across the pond in Germany. Toddlers in Europe tend to skip training wheels altogether! They use balance bikes, or running bikes, without pedals, which foster balance and steering at an earlier age. When the child is ready, they add pedals, and the little ones ride tiny two-wheel bikes! It’s the cutest thing!

Tuned In Parents - two-wheel bike at 5yrsBack in Germany, when I saw my daughter’s schoolmates ride up to the Kindergarten, park their little “big kid” bikes, lock them on the racks, and stroll into school with their itty-bitty backpacks, I couldn’t believe it. It wasn’t long before I traded her training-wheel bike in for a balance bike. She didn’t require significant adjustment and she was much more mobile on the balance bike. By age five, she was riding a two-wheel bike. That’s us on the right on her fifth birthday during her first two-wheel bike ride.

Training-Wheel Bike + Balance Bike

Tuned in parent David in Pasadena shares his cool parenting hack with us. He has combined both methods with a hand-me-down balance bike and a second-hand training-wheel bike. He encouraged his then three-year-old daughter to enjoy both bikes alternately in their ample driveway and at the park. And as a result of this method, she learned to balance her weight on the balance bike and work the pedals on the training-wheel bike (while she was three, mind you). Of course she had no idea she was training to ride a two-wheel bike; she was just riding! And when she received her first two-wheel bike on her fourth birthday, her dad’s only concern was his constant need to warn her to slow down. True story. Dad couldn’t keep up with her if he wanted to. Don’t you love it?

Just to give you an idea, I trained for years on my training wheels before graduating to a two-wheel bike at age seven. Though my daughter was ready at age five, she was training exclusively on her balance bike an entire year longer than David’s daughter, who trained using both bikes. And remember, David didn’t spend more than $30 for the balance and training-wheel bikes combined (I paid approximately $80 USD for a new balance bike — no need for new; the kids will use the bikes for a short time and move on to the two-wheeler). Savvy tip all the way around.

Balance Bike in Action

For those who are not familiar with running bikes, here’s a brief YouTube video of an adorable little three-year-old rockin’ her balance bike by Sedzen.

Do you have young ones? If so, do you think they could benefit from this balance bike and training-wheel bike parenting hack? And if your child is a little older but not yet riding a two-wheel bike, perhaps a couple of weeks on a balance bike is all he or she needs! Happy riding!

Thank you for being tuned in parents and a special thanks to David in Pasadena! Your comments, suggestions, more tips, and participation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are most welcome!


-Elle C.

About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children’s book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and “make it workology,” she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

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