The Marketing Scam of Balance Bikes

How the bikes help with balance is all a con

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Balance Bikes. Image from

Childhood Memories

It was a summers day. I had taken my son off to the park to learn how to bike. I remembered my Dad doing likewise back when I was a child. I thought it’ll take some time. There’ll be tears. A bloody knee or two. Some war stories to retell with friends over dinner. I never believed it would be an impossible task.

Marketing Balance

Learn to balance first. The fundamental skill of biking.

The Difference

Balance bikes are made for your child to sit on the seat and push themselves along with their feet. This helps create stability as they learn to balance back and forth on the bike. They’re also agile, often made from lightweight material, and are easy to turn. You won’t find many children toppling over on a Balance Bike!

You Simply MUST Do It

It’s the cult-like acceptance that the Balance Bike is purer that really grinds my gears. The holier-than-thou aspirational parent seeking a better, cleaner, environmentally friendlier alternative. The new-age parent who has bought into the marketing spiel. The one that talks fondly of tofu dinners and a more spiritual entry into the world of bikes.

The Science

Sorry. Misleading title. There is no science. Here are three unproven scientific reasons why a parent needs to choose a Balance Bike:

  1. They build strength and coordination. The design of a balance bike encourages kids to use their arms and lift their legs when moving forward. This not only helps them to build up their strength, it also helps them to fine tune their motor skills, coordination and agility. Does lifting your legs really help with future biking skills? These children still need to learn how to pedal.
  2. They’re a safer way to start riding. Lower to the ground which means your child is safer when they do fall. The added bonus? They can only go as fast as they run, so no high-speed crashes. Only a handful of children were harmed in testing this theory and that was mainly because the parents allowed them to run downhill.

Please Stop Preaching

Look, there’s nothing wrong with this method of learning. Equally, training wheels are effective too. What I hate is the preaching. The fervent attitude of fresh face parents explaining why Balance Bikes are superior. I’m sorry to tell you my twinkle-eyed young mama and bearded hipster dad, they’re not. And there’s no science to prove otherwise.

How to ride a Balance bike? Note how the training wheels came back on to teach the child how to actually pedal. A simple push from the back of a bike with pedals would’ve been quicker.

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