Just before he turned two, we bought a balance bike for our son, Morgan, hoping that it would help him learn to balance and steer before riding a full-on pedal bike. This happened in spades (see video below for one of his more epic balance bike runs), however what we didn't expect were the other benefits that resulted, not only for him, but for us as parents too!
To get an idea of how good Morgan got after only six months on his balance bike, watch the video below, then read on to learn about unexpected benefits that it brought to us (his parents) as well.
No More Stroller
Hands down, this was the biggest (and most welcome) benefit, simply that we no longer had to always bring the stroller out with us for when Morgan would inevitably get tired of walking and/or we got tired of carrying him. With Morgan on a balance bike, we could go to malls, markets, walks in the park, etc. and he would happily ride around at our speed (or faster) for ages longer than if he was walking himself. This saved us the hassle of lifting the stroller out of the car, unfolding it, pushing it around everywhere (lots of fun on crowded sidewalks, up and down escalators, etc.), then folding it up again to go back into the car, only to be repeated at our next stop. HUGE win!
Freedom (For Everyone)
As I alluded to earlier, being on a balance bike meant Morgan was able to ride faster than we could walk. This effectively untethered my wife and I from him so that if, for example, we passed a toy store that he wanted to window shop at a bit longer, we could stroll ahead knowing that even if we were halfway down the block, all we had to do was call him and (assuming he chose to hear us) he could catch up quickly and easily. Likewise, if we wanted to linger somewhere, we could tell him how far he could ride ahead to look at other stores before coming back and "reporting in" on what he'd discovered. The freedom the balance bike gave all of us was another unexpected benefit that by itself made it worthwhile.
Okay, enough with all the practical reasons for why balance bikes are a great idea! The reality is that Morgan being on a balance bike also made our outings a lot more fun for him. Every little driveway or wheelchair ramp became an opportunity for a little downhill run. He rejoiced seeing smooth, newly-laid tarmac. Not only that, I know that the independence his balance bike gave him made our excursions considerably more fulfilling for him, building in him a level of confidence that he continues to exude, particularly in situations where we encourage him to "go out and explore" by himself.
Get Your Child a Balance Bike
I firmly believe that Morgan's balance bike was one of the best investments we have ever made with regard to his development, however at about $300 to buy, it was definitely a leap of faith financially. GroBikes subscription service is designed to help make balance bikes mainstream by making it more affordable for all parents of 2 - 4 year-olds to try this out for themselves. Not only have we deliberately set the price of our balance bikes low, when your son or daughter is ready to move up to a pedal bike, we will make that exchange at no additional cost for the rest of the rental period. This means that if they learn how to balance and steer quickly, they can move up to a pedal bike quickly as well, with no risk of the balance bike being a short-lived luxury. Conversely, since GroBikes has two sizes of balance bike, your child can also take a bit longer to figure things out, and they'll still be able to ride a bike that fits them without you having to purchase two balance bikes.
Click here to learn about our balance bikes and pricing.
Alternately, if this write-up and the video below haven't convinced you already, please contact us. We can't talk enough about the benefits of balance bikes and would be happy to share more of our experiences with you.