By Justin Steiner
History has a penchant for repeating itself. Fitting then the recent popularity of balance bikes for children mimics the development of the bicycle itself, which began with an adult version of the balance bike. In the summer of 1817, Baron Karl von Drais first introduced the dandy horse in Mannheim, Germany. Lots of strange two-wheeled devices evolved between the dandy and what we now know. Fortunately for our children, they don’t have to experience all of those odd evolutionally steps along the way.
All of this is fresh on my mind thanks to having the opportunity to give the gift of cycling, or in this case shuffling, this holiday season. My girlfriend’s niece will turn two in March, so what better opportunity to get her started early!
Eva took to her Strider like a fish to water. She instantly recognized her little orange bike when we rolled it from out behind the tree, and swung a leg over it before we could even get her to open her helmet.
Seems like helmets can be struggle with kids, who sometimes aren’t stoked to put this odd thing on their head. Eva, on the other hand, loves to wear hats, so she was stoked to put on her helmet. She wore it around the house for hours Christmas day, playing with all of her other toys.
Balance bikes are gaining market traction these days, and I couldn’t be happier to see this trend continue. Seems to me that balance bikes make learning to ride a bike easier by allowing kids to focus on balance first, then learning to pedal when they’re ready. Though there seems to be little scientific research on subject, the logical progression makes good sense to me.
So, next time you have the possibility to give a child a gift, I’d strongly recommend considering giving the gift of cycling.