Updated October 2, 2019
Many of us recall learning to ride a bike during childhood. For the longest time a status quo existed. First a child would ride a tricycle to learn how to pedal. The next step was moving into a bike with training wheels. Once mastered the training wheels would be removed and two wheeled transportation would begin.
Great in theory, less great in practice. The biggest challenge for a child is not learning to pedal and move in a forward direction, it is balancing on two wheels.
Introducing the balance bike. Two wheels, no pedals, and a ton of fun for your child. These have been gaining in popularity for good reason. Children are more naturally able to learn to balance and coast on a balance bike, then can move straight to a bicycle. No training wheels required.
Numerous choices exist but if taking on a gravel trail some things should be kept in mind. The bike needs to be light, comfortable, and have adequate tires to withstand the elements. Cheap foam tires are definitely out and heavy steel will guarantee a disgruntled toddler behind you on the trail.
Some of our current favorites include:
The Schwinn Balance Bike is a budget friendly option that has a 4 star rating on Amazon. This bike comes with pneumatic tires and a durable steel frame. While heavy, most 3+ year olds will have no problem riding short distances on this bike.
Huffy’s Lil Cruzer is another budget friendly option that will suit most toddlers needs. Like the Banana Bike GT, this bike comes with pneumatic tires and a durable steel frame.This is one on the heaviest on the list, yet also the least expensive at roughly $60 from Academy Sports.
The Saracen Freewheel is a great option for those wanting a balance bike with pneumatic tires and handbrake for under $160. This bike is ultra durable and its over sized tires lend themselves to rougher trails. At 10.5 lbs it is a bit on the heavy side so the littlest of riders will have to push harder to keep up. Luckily a hand bell is mounted on the handlebar to alert you when your offspring falls behind.
The Yedoo TooToo is a premium balance bike that is well suited for children who wish to partake in longer rides. It offers pneumatic tires, comfortable step over height, and a hand brake. This particular bike is one of the lightest of this variety thank to an aluminum frame. The total weight comes in at 7.5 lbs at a cost of around $199