The many many bikes before a real bike

by Heather Flett on October 29, 2009

in Blog,Flippin' awesome (For Boys),Flippin' Sweet (For Girls),Momoirs of a Rookie Mom,Toddler

This month, Holden rode a two-wheeler for the first time. He was amazing. With his dad’s encouragement, he rode down half a block, then a block, then around the park. Before our 40 minute riding session was over, he had figured out how to start by himself. Next lesson: stopping.

Do you know the Justin Roberts song about learning to ride a bike? Taking Off My Training Wheels is funny because its so true: “started off with three wheels, then I went to four, just to get to two” (from the album Meltdown! which I love).

In our case, we went from 3 to 2 to 1 just to get back to 2.

THREE. We started Holden with a tricycle that he couldn’t pedal. Having watched many two- and three-year olds on a tricycle, I got the impression that it was hard. Have you ever tried it? I rode a big tricycle last year at the preschool bikeathon and it was frakking hard (pictured below).

Rookie Dad Alec pedals Milo on a trike. Closed course.

Rookie Dad Alec pedals Milo on a trike. Closed course.

Parents of toddlers, may I suggest the trikes with the long pole in back to allow you to push little riders up hills without straining your back? You are welcome.

TWO. The next vehicle we tried was a Skuut “wobbly bike” that Holden nicknamed because he would straddle the bike and just wobble around. The gimmick here is that the bike has no pedals so little riders can focus solely on balance. At first, he sat on the seat and sorta kinda walked with the like-bike under his bum providing little assistance. Eventually, we taught him to lift his feet by chanting “step, step, glide!” as we walked beside him.

Holden learning to master the Skuut

Holden learning to master the Skuut

As he has grown, the wobbly bike has also grown. It has 3 different heights on the seat position. Now that he has mastered it, he can cruise faster than Alec can run (faster than many bigger kids can bike). At this year’s bike rodeo, he demonstrated his prowess by swiftly gliding from the back of the bike parade to the front.

ONE. The next logical vehicle might have been a two-wheeled bike with training wheels. However, we had become firmly (and oddly) entrenched in our anti-training-wheels stance. So our next step was to buy a trail-a-bike from a friend at preschool. This one-wheeled device hooked on to Alec’s seat post to form a tandem.

As expected, the first ride was wobbly. By the end of an hour of practice, though, Holden was beyond thrilled. After riding the roads and paths hitched to Alec’s bike, his smile was so wide. I think he would do it all day if we let him.

FINALLY, TWO. Last week we found a kid-size two-wheeler at a garage sale for $3. The offer was too good to pass up. When we finally tried it, he just rode like he already knew how.

Holden riding a bike for the first time

Holden riding a bike for the first time

Yep after about two years of prep, it didn’t take much at all. ;-)

What kind of devices, tools, or tricks have you used in the effort to get your kid on wheels?

My array of tools:
- Justin Roberts Meltdown! cd on amazon
- Skuut Balance bike on amazon
- Buy a trail-a-bike
- Tonka two-wheeler (or from your neighbor for $3)

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Disclosure: None of the products were given to us for promotional consideration; however we did receive the trike and skuut as Christmas gifts. We also purchased the trailabike and two-wheeler used. Always buy new helmets.

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RookieMoms co-founder & mom to 3 boys in Berkeley, CA. Bossy big sister and project manager turned blogger helping moms enjoy their first years of motherhood. Find me on my other site on 510families.com or hiding in my minivan eating dark chocolate.

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