At the start of a child's cycling career it is all about balance.
As soon as children learn to walk, it's a great opportunity to get them interested in cycling. The best place to do this is in an environment where there are already other youngsters whizzing around on two wheels. As they watch, children become curious and want to have a go themselves. There is no point in putting children under pressure. Instead, let them decide for themselves when the right time has come for them to hop on a balance bike. With a low saddle and high handlebars, riding a balance bike is very much like walking. Slowly but surely, the steps become longer and children find themselves gliding on two wheels.
A good place to learn is on a gentle downhill slope far away from traffic and other things likely to cause stress. Even if children intuitively use their feet to brake, this is the right time to teach them how to use a hand-operated brake safely and effectively. This will make it a lot easier when they transition to a pedal bike. We strongly recommend that children always wear a helmet and gloves.
Step 1: walking
With their legs on either side of the balance bike and their hands on the handlebars, children take their first steps into the world of cycling. Children learn best by copying others, so grab the new balance bike and head to a park where other children are likely to be whizzing around.
Step 2: rolling
Now it is time for the steps to become longer – after learning to walk, it is finally time to learn to ride! After a little practice children will even be able to proudly stretch their legs into the air as they roll by.
As soon as the child spends more time running than walking with the bike between their legs, the saddle can be gradually moved up bit by bit.
Step 3: braking
Ideally, children should learn how to brake while riding a balance bike as this is the time when they can practise with their feet on the ground. The hand-operated brake on the woom balance bike prepares children for braking on a pedal bike. This – combined with balancing – means all they then need to learn is how to pedal.
To find out exactly why hand brakes are an asset to balance bikes and discover what makes a good hand brake on a balance bike, check out this article.
As soon as children are able to run with a balance bike between their legs, it is the right time to demonstrate how the brake works by picking up the bike and letting the child observe how the back wheel can be blocked by pulling the easy-to-use lever specially designed for small hands.