Starting a kid on a balance bike is an amazing way to give them independence and encourage outdoor adventures. Hoozar have put together a simple guide to the natural stages that kids will go through in learning to ride a balance bike.
Firstly, choose the right balance bike. Hoozar have made the Cruz 12 suitable for kids as young as 18 months or as old as 4 and 5 years of age. To get the most use out of a balance bike the best age to start is usually 18 months old. Having it around the house for toddlers to explore is very encouraging. This early exposure without any expectation can remove fear or any anxiety around the process of learning.
Secondly, the stages of mastering a balance bike are a guide only - the important thing is to follow your child's lead. In other words do not push it. Learning should be fun and things like a bell and even cycling gloves go a really long way. The Cruz 12 has a bell on every balance bike which brings added joy to the process.
Finally, safety first. Make sure that you adjust the balance bike seat to fit your kid. Tighten the handlebars and ensure they are lined up and secure. Check the brake is easy to pull back for little hands. And most importantly don't forget a helmet. It cannot be stressed enough how important a helmet is.
So, what are the natural stages in learning to ride a balance bike?
Let your kid sit on the balance bike to familiarise themselves with it - this can be indoors or outdoors. Getting your toddler to sit on the bike at different times throughout the day and making it exciting and fun is a great introduction. Make a big fuss out of the initial interaction with the balance bike.
2. Stand and walk
Typically kids will stand over the bike frame and walk the bike. Walk with your kid, supporting them so they can safely feel what is happening as they move along. Be patient. Your kid might want to walk 2 steps and get off, or maybe they want to walk for 10 minutes. Your toddler will lead you. The great thing about the Cruz 12 is how light it is. It can be carried or it can hang on the side of your buggy when little legs get tired.
3. Sit and walk
Moving through stages can vary greatly. Certainly provide them with lots of opportunity to practice, maybe join with friends who have kids going through similar learning journeys for encouragement. Eventually kids will sit on the balance bike seat and most likely continue to walk along. It is at this stage where excitement can build up. The Cruz 12 scooped seat provides comfort for little ones as well as extra stability so sitting and walking is mastered, and they quickly realise they can sit and run along.
4. Sit, run and balance
This is where kids get very excited. You should be ready to keep up with your little one because they learn to run fast very quickly! The skill that needs practice at this stage of learning is balancing with both feet off the ground. Hoozar have put a footrest on all Cruz 12 balance bikes. This allows for little feet to be tucked away safely, and then placed back on the ground with ease when necessary. It is a good idea to take your kid to some open space for practice, and also introduce them to some rules on boundaries and where it is safe to ride and where it is not.
5. Sit, run and glide
Gliding along on the balance bike is a natural step for most kids and little instruction is needed.Once at this stage it can be fun to take the balance bike to a skatepark or off road on a country trail. The Cruz 12 has 12 inch air filled tyres as a result they are perfect for all terrain providing extra cushioning and more traction.
Not all balance bikes have a brake. However, it is something that Hoozar believe important in the balance bike learning journey. The Cruz 12 range are all equipped with a rear V-brake which can be great for this final stage when kids have the hand/eye coordination to use a hand brake. It allows kids to stop faster and can save money on new shoes! Kids are also better prepared to safely stop a pedal bike when the time comes to transition.
Above all, don't rush your kid. Let them enjoy the stage they find themselves at without feeling any pressure to move on.
At Hoozar we would love to follow your kids journey as they learn to use their Cruz 12 balance bike. Share your videos or photos on our social media pages.