Balance bike to peddles transition?

Walls82 Posts: 126
edited October 2014 in Family & kids cycling forum
Just curious how long people waited to move their child onto to a peddle bike from a balance bike when they had the hang of it?

My (small, about to be 3 year old) son has a strider and is now coasting lifting his feet up when he picks up enough speed, and is pretty impressive with his control of the bike. - I'm itching him to buy him a peddle bike but I know its too soon really.

I realise it all depends upon the child but it would be good to get some feedback on how long after other peoples children mastered the balance bike they successfully moved on to peddles.



  • imposter2.0
    imposter2.0 Posts: 12,028
    If he can balance - he can ride. The only other limiting factor is finding a bike which will fit. By the way, it's 'pedal'.....
  • craker
    craker Posts: 1,739
    One thing you may want to practice before moving onto pedals is braking - your lo may know how to balance but if his feet are on pedals he wont have the hang of pedal - brake - feet down to bring himself to a halt.

    After numerous small but bruising offs my lo wasn't confident coasting and would put his feet down almost as soon as I'd pushed him off. It's quite hard explaining to a 4yo something as straightforward as the coordination of actions required to stop pedalling, stop the bike and foot down.

    I think I went back to square one after a few weeks as my lad was pretty stubborn about not practicing. After the promise of some Lego and another cycle of balance biking with brakes he was ready for pedalling. Once the cranks went back on he got it pretty well first time.
  • Walls82
    Walls82 Posts: 126
    One good thing about the strider is its small but the downside it has no brake to get used to. I think I may struggle to find a pedal (thanks for the correction - he's a bit young to be peddling stuff yet!) bike which is his size as well.

    I can imagine putting all the actions together is a bit like controlling a car for an adult really. I don't want to damage his confidence it took him about 6 months before he wanted to ride his strider after falling off it a few times initially.

    I think I'll do a bit of research into small pedal bikes and give him the option of both, its a fine line between being a pushy parent and putting him off for life and helping him discover something which he may love.
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    No rush.

    Agree with the above, it's really a 'fit' thing. In my experience, ultra small pedal bikes generally have bad geo and weigh a ton.

    Stay on the balance bike for a while, and then you can forgo the ultra small 12" pedal bikes and go the next level up.

    FWIW, by girls both started on pedals before their 4th birthday, and then rode balance bikes when we were walking, or pedals when we were riding, until they started school a year later. (They then self-selected to no longer ride the balance bike).
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Mike Healey
    Mike Healey Posts: 1,023
    edited October 2014
    When we teach them they usually go straight from balance bike (at the level of skill you describe) to pedalling - it usually takes one Saturday morning and often in the hour before the refreshment break.

    Once the get on the bike we:
    1. Give them a little assistance by way of a gentle push between the shoulder blades. Never push the bike because it then goes where you're pushing it, which may not be quite where the kid is steering it.
    2. They'll always look down for their pedal when getting their foot on the one they're not pushing off from. Encourage them to look forward rather than down - this may take a little while until they get their foot on the second pedal co-ordination right
    3. Difficulty in getting going from the pedal ready position may be as much due to co-ordination as strength problems. Get them into the habit at first of shouting "push/push hard!" as they set off. It gives them something to concentrate on and may help to take their mind of the difficulty of starting.
    4. We encourage them to count the number of pedal strokes they achieve before wobbling, stopping, etc. See second sentence above.

    When in doubt as to whether to use bribery or violence, hitting them with a Mars bar covers both.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • Mine started on a balance bike at 19 months and 3 months later he was on a pedal bike. He was so tiny he couldn't touch the ground for a long time. He is almost 4 now and still likes to ride a balance bike occasionally.

    So as soon as you like for the transition :)
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    THIS, is brilliant.

    Gotta love SusTrans. ...
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Levi_501
    Levi_501 Posts: 1,105
    Son had is balance at 19 months
    At 21 months he could properly ride it
    At 2 years and six months I won (on ebay) a sensibly priced Cnoc 14, he rode it straight away.
    Had I won a Cnoc earlier, he would have had it earlier.

    The most difficult thing about bikes so young is brakes. While they understand what they are for, children only understand now, not what could happen in two seconds time!