My DD has just turned 3, should I buy her a balance bike or a bike with stabilisers?

(19 Posts)
SavoirFaire Fri 22-Feb-13 21:59:47

My DS seems to be the only child in the world or at least in SW London who can't cope with a balance bike. We really wish we'd got him a bike with stabilisers. He doesn't have the confidence to go quickly and pick up his legs, so therefore it is very hard work indeed to go any distance on the balance bike and he gets tired and fed up. It was a real failure for us and we haven't been able to get him another bike so I guess he'll end up doing the bike thing later on. He's 4 now, but got the balance bike at 3rd birthday. He wasn't ever that keen on the scooter either.

If you can't ride a bike yourself, a word of warning...when my 2 started riding, initially I would follow on foot (so I could pick them up). Very soon, they were too fast for me, and so without a bike myself (I am no Usain Bolt) I couldn't keep up and would lose them. Not good when they whizz ahead and then fall off!

Perhaps take the opportunity to learn yourself? We have loads of fun as a family riding round Richmond Park, along the Thames, as well as using bikes for practical reasons round our part of S London. I am also taking the boys to see a bit of the Tour de France this summer....can't wait (and nor can they!!)

lolalotta Wed 20-Feb-13 19:17:25

Thank you for all your replies and sharing your experiences! My DD had a micro scooter for Xmas and LOVES it, so we have that sorted! I can't believe how quickly she became confident on that, I'm sure keeping up with her older cousins had something to do with it! wink
I am leaning towards a balance bike but am worried she won't "get it"?!? I can't actually ride a bike myself!!! shockI might leave it to her Dad to decide! Thanks ladies!

Titchyboomboom Wed 20-Feb-13 19:02:19

Balance bike! Dd, 2 yrs, is a pro!

ByTheWay1 Wed 20-Feb-13 18:54:07

Don't bother with either, go for a scooter and teach how to ride it responsibly, get all the "rules" about giving way etc over with the scooter, then they will be second nature on a bike.. - then just buy her a bike when she's ready.... Mine had theirs at 6 and just got on and started pedalling. Our school does Cycling proficiency lessons at 8, and it is nice for them to be confident on a bike by then.

... but owning and riding a bike is not actually compulsory...

13Iggis Wed 20-Feb-13 18:34:54

Got mine a bike with stabilisers for 3rd birthday, he learned to ride without them by time he was four, so I don't think one is necessarily a speedier route to independent bike riding than the other.
Balance bike would take up a lot less room in car boot!

Tailtwister Wed 20-Feb-13 18:29:35

Definitely a balance bike. DS1 had his from around 3 and it only took him a few minutes to master a pedal bike around a year later. The issue with stabilisers seems to be that they never really get a chance to find their own balance. They're always going from side to side, from one point of contact with the stabiliser wheel to the the other.

massistar Wed 20-Feb-13 16:31:56

Balance bike definitely. My DD has just turned 4 and literally got on a pedal bike and started riding it after having had a balance bike for about 18 months. No faffing, no holding the back of the bike, just got on it and went. My DH talked me into the balance bike and I thought it was all hype but now can't believe how easily she's picked up the pedalling.

Bakingtins Wed 20-Feb-13 14:42:32

Balance bike. Stabilisers teach kids that they don't have to balance in order to ride the bike and to lean on the stablisers round the corners. If you don't want to be buying a pedal bike in another year, buy one small enough that on the lowest saddle height she can put her feet flat on the floor, take the pedals and cranks off completely and use it as a balance bike for a while, then replace the pedals.
My two have had balance bikes since they were two, it takes a couple of weeks to get to grips with it then they are flying. Older one went straight onto a pedal bike at 3.5yrs in 10 mins, the only reason it wasn't sooner was he wasn't tall enough for a 14" until then. Fully expect DS2 to do the same.

iliketea Wed 20-Feb-13 14:35:02

DD tried a frienda balance bike, but couldn't manage to move at all. We got her a bike with stabilisers and she seemed to know what to do and pedals etc no problem.

I have heard that a balance bike is better at first, but I wanted something dd would actually use and enjoy rather than something she'd refuse to use and end up gathering dust.

We went straight for the normal bike with stabilisers. It worked and DS2 has been cycling without stabilisers since 3.5. DS1 thinks he's the new Wiggo...

I am sure that a balance bike would be fun, but I saw little point in getting one bike and then replacing it a few months later. Taking off stabilisers is cheaper and easier!

They also both loved scooting.

TheCountessOlenska Wed 20-Feb-13 14:20:49

I am so confused about which to get DD for her third birthday that I am now considering side-stepping the whole issue and buying her a scooter!

A lot of votes for balance bikes on this thread but I have heard tales of a lot of children who don't get on with them. Let me know what you decide OP!

Piemother Wed 20-Feb-13 09:54:19

I asked this on fb and the consensus was a regular bike which I bought and dd loves. Her Dad bought a balance bike and she's scared if it because it wobbles so she tells me

fairylightsinthesnow Wed 20-Feb-13 08:28:41

DS (3.5) has had his trad bike with stabilizers since his birthday and hasn't really got on with it (though to be fair, he hasn't been out on it at all since about October cos of the weather). He has just got really into scooting though - have you considered that? I tried him on a balance bike before we bought the other one and he just fell over a lot. Can you borrow one of each from somewhere and try him out?

FrameyMcFrame Wed 20-Feb-13 08:12:25

Balance bike. My first DC had bike with stabilisers and tookAGES to learn to ride properly.
Second DC had balance bike and was riding around unaided almost straight away

ProtectingMyNormalNickname Wed 20-Feb-13 08:01:38

Balance bike every time. Ds1 had one at 3.5 and by 4 was riding a bike. It may be short lived but we only had to hold the back of the bike with pedals for about 2 minutes before he was off pedalling a 2 wheeler on his own.

MegMogAndOwl Wed 20-Feb-13 07:52:54

Definitely get a balance bike!

I think they're brilliant. Ds had one for his 3rd birthday and was riding a pedal bike without stabilisers 9 months later.

I can't wait to get dd one, she's not 2 yet though grin

I'm not a fan of bikes with stabilisers as they dont teach balance and they're also difficult to pedal so children can get fed up as they're not getting very far. Must be frustrating when other children are whizzing around

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Tue 19-Feb-13 18:32:22

I would say get a balance bike. Stabilisers are pretty pointless.

lolalotta Tue 19-Feb-13 18:31:25

Just wondering if we have missed the "window" for her getting to grips with a balance bike and should we just go for the more traditional route? Would love your opinions! Thank you!

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