What size should it be? Should the child start with a balance bicycle without stabilizers or pedals? When can a child learn to ride a bicycle? We might have quite a few doubts when choosing a bicycle. Here is some advice to avoid mistakes.
If we want our child to get started in the world of bicycles but we are talking about 2 or 3 year olds, one of the best options is clearly a balance bike. These bikes are perfect for their first experience. These bicycles do not have stabilizers or pedals. The child pushes the bike with his/her legs, as if they were walking.
Once we see the child has sufficient balance and skill, he or she can change to a bicycle with stabilizers between the ages of 3 or 4, although it will depend on the child's development. This type of bike has the advantage that the wheels can be removed once we see that the child is ready to learn to ride it without help. We must not make the mistake of forcing the child to ride a bicycle before he or she is ready. Each child evolves at his or her own pace. They will tell us when they are ready to ride with two wheels.
If the child is older and he or she knows how to ride a bicycle, we must choose a bicycle according to what he or she will use it for: for riding in the city, for mountain riding or for bike parks.
The child's height is also decisive. They must be able to put their feet on the floor without difficulty. We must obviously keep changing the seat to a bigger one as the child grows. The average is every two years. The weight of the bicycle can't be too heavy, making it difficult for the child to move it.
The quality of the components is equally important, specially regarding the durability and safety: brakes, wheels, bearings, the seat, suspension...
Before allowing a child to ride alone without adult supervision, he or she must know the main traffic rules and have sufficient autonomy and responsibility to do so. Here is some advice for children using bicycles.
Finally, it is important to point out the need for safety elements such as the helmet, reflective elements, lights and knee and elbow protectors.