Bike riding and your toddler

Published by Baby Bunting on Sunday, January 27, 2019

Kids always seem to be drawn to riding bikes. Perhaps it’s because bikes give them freedom, or maybe it’s just because cycling is fun. Whatever the reason, cycling is a healthy activity that is great for fitness and can be enjoyed for many, many years, so it’s good to encourage this pastime from an early age.

Starting young

You can get into family cycling activities even with young children as there is a big range of bike seats and trailers available for babies and toddlers. Your child will love being included in a cycling outing and you will benefit from the extra cardio workout of cycling with a passenger – especially as they grow bigger and heavier!

Benefits of family cycling

Developing a love of cycling in your child will have all sorts of benefits. It encourages you to do something together in the fresh air that's low cost and fun. The benefits include a closer bond with your toddler from the shared activity, improved fitness, reduced stress and improved mental and emotional wellbeing, plus the knowledge that you’ve introduced a healthy activity to your child that can last a lifetime.

Choices for going solo

As your child grows older, they can progress to using a ‘tag-along’ bike, or you can buy them their own tricycle, training wheels or balance bike. There’s no ‘best’ choice out of all these options – it’s really down to personal choice. Your child will be extremely happy with any of these sets of wheels!

Balance bikes

Balance bikes are very popular and can be ridden by toddlers, depending on their stage of development. These bikes are small, two-wheeled bikes with no pedals, so that all kids need to do on them is balance and steer. They can teach children from about 18 months old to balance on two wheels. Many children who’ve learned on them bypass training wheels, going straight from a balance bike to a two-wheeled bike with pedals and brakes. While balance bikes are a great first step towards ‘big bikes’, they can make very young children very mobile. Safety considerations and continual supervision are crucial.

Tricycles and training wheels

Tricycles are a popular choice, and many toddlers can learn to use pedals on tricycles, with most being able to ride a tricycle well by about the age of three.
With balance bikes being available these days, not all children ride two-wheeled bikes with training wheels, but for many parents they are a tried and true option. If your child does learn to ride with training wheels, the sense of achievement they’ll feel the first time they cycle without them will be hard to beat!

Safety is paramount

Cycling can be dangerous, but there are many steps and precautions you can take to reduce risk and minimise injuries. You need to make sure the equipment is appropriate for your child and is mechanically sound and that proper safety equipment is used at all times. Helmets are compulsory for bikes and scooters and other protective gear, like wrist guards and knee pads, is recommended.
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