Spring and summer are a great time to take your children outside to play, swim, and ride bikes. Physical therapists get asked often about bikes for younger children. Recently, a new trend has evolved: strider bikes for young children. These “pre-bikes” are great alternatives to tricycles or two-wheelers with training wheels. Strider bikes teach a child the balance and coordination that is required for riding a two-wheeler without training wheels.
What is a Strider Bike?
Strider bikes are simply smaller bikes without pedals. To use the bike, the child simply sits on it similar to a normal bike, and propels themselves forward with their feet. Once a child feels comfortable and has established the balance necessary, they will lift their feet off the ground and coast for a few seconds. This is using the same muscles and coordination needed to ride a “big-kid” bike.
Why are Strider Bikes are good for Balance?
But what about the pedaling part of riding a bike? Teaching a child the pedaling motion of a bicycle is usually easier than the balance portion. Striders take the pedaling away so the child can focus on the balance part first. Once the child is coasting comfortably and safely on a strider, they are probably ready for a bike with pedals.
When is my child ready for a strider bike?
If your child is able to walk and maneuver their environment safely, then they are ready for a strider bike. They can be used between ages two and five. Some brands come with weight or height limits. If your child is too big for a strider bike, you can bring a normal bike to your local bike store and ask them to remove the pedals. My experience is that most stores are willing to do this.
A bike ride with your child (or children) is a fabulous family activity that promotes fitness and healthy lifestyles while still having fun. Strider bikes provide an enjoyable alternative to tricycles and training wheels, while also promoting gross motor development in your child.