July is my very favourite time of year. Yes, I know it’s cold and rainy outside, but I get to indulge my passion for all things cycling. No, I’m not one of the lycra-set that gets up at ridiculous hours to ride a lazy 50km in the freezing cold… No, I’m the cycling fanatic that just likes to stay up late and watch the Tour De France. It’s the scenery, the camaraderie, the tactics (yes, there are tactics) and the dreams of a warmer place whilst I’m tucked up in bed watching listening to the rain.
This got me thinking. All of these elite cyclists didn’t just hop on a bike one day and become pro-riders. No. They too had to start somewhere; maybe with big-sis giving them a push start on their oversized hand-me-down bike. The wobbly wiggles terrifying them down the driveway. The dreaded early-learning stopping mechanism a.k.a. hitting the nearest wall or fence.
And of course, with my own son being 3 years old, I have been wondering about how/when to introduce him to bikes too. Like most parents, I didn’t know where to start but after some research, I found the ByK Balance bikes and they seemed to have solved the problem. No more falling off your bike at the last minute because your feet don’t reach the ground to stop. No more clutching the brake levers to find you nearly go head-over-heels.
With ByK’s especially designed light-weight frame, children sit closer to the ground, the wheel base is longer and the wheels themselves are bigger. This gives extra stability when riding, better control and much better ability to stop. That’s why we love the ByK Bikes.
Warren Key, designer of the ByK Bikes, has owned bicycle stores his whole life, so he knew that there must be a better way to design kids’ bikes. Kids’ bodies are different proportions compared to adults, so it makes sense that a bike needs to be shaped differently! ByK Bikes aren’t just adult shaped bikes in a smaller size for this reason.
Researching conventional bikes, I hadn’t realised that they were so heavy compared to children’s weight, making them hard to control, hard to start and harder to stop. I remember my days learning to ride a bike. The riding part was easy enough once I got a good push from dad. It was the stopping that got my fear levels racing! As I was racing down the driveway on my faux-BMX yelling for dad to help me stop, he was yelling for me to put my feet back on the pedals to lock the wheels! The heavy bike just wouldn’t stop!
Well, this lighter bike allows your child to easily push off to start and the ergonomic design means better manoeuvrability and handling. Balance bikes are more stable for learners so toddlers can use their feet to slow down and to stop too. Not like the old days where your feet didn’t even reach the ground on conventional bikes.
ByK Balance Bikes realise that the first stage to learning to ride is to develop the ability to achieve minimum balance speed i.e. the slowest speed you can go before stacking it!
These give toddlers and pre-schoolers the ability to ride with confidence quickly. With this ability to balance, you should also find that your child doesn’t need to use trainer wheels when they graduate to a pedal bike. A confidence booster all around.
This is the confidence I see in my son, William (nearly 3 years). He can manoeuvre the bike easily, start and stop easily and there are no pedals to make the learning process complicated. There are hand brakes for extra help too.
As a family, we love walking together. With William riding the balance bike on our walks, he can finally keep up with our walking pace, he can easily manoeuvre the footpaths and obstacles like gumnuts and cracks in the path and he can also stop quickly and easily.
William particularly loves the bell. He loves that you can “ding at people while you’re riding”. I must talk to him about that!
I am actually really surprised at how quickly he has picked up the technique. With both feet on the ground, he can walk the bike or he can coast along and enjoy the freedom that comes with biking. It didn’t take long to get used to balancing and boy, does he get some speed now! It makes me so happy to see my child learning and enjoying the outdoors and zooming around on his ByK Balance Bike.
Which Learner Bike: E-200L or E-250L?
The E-200L and E-250L Balance bikes are both designed for learner riders. They have the same essential features, only the E-200L is for 2+ years and the E-250L has larger wheels and slightly longer wheelbase and height, so is great for slightly taller and older starters (2.5+ years) children that are still learning to balance.
ByK Bikes are available from specialist cycling stores. Find a stockist near you here
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Visit http://www.bykbikes.com for more information
ByK Bikes are giving Mums Lounge readers the opportunity to win a ByK balance bike.
The winner can choose from any 4 of the ByK Balance Bike models, subject to availability.
Winner can either pick up the bike from a ByK Stockist (so it is fully assembled) as listed on the ByK Bikes website or the prize can be delivered.
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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by ByK Bikes. The author was gifted a ByK Bike for the purpose of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors own.