A popular way to teach children about bicycle riding here in Germany is to have the child first use a Laufrad, or a running bicycle. Sometimes it’s called a balance bicycle in English. Apparently, the idea is starting to catch on in the United States; here’s one website in the US where you can buy a balance bicycle:
If you’re quick, you can get an extra special deal on the Mamabargains website, for a wooden version that you can adjust as your child grows. (Special thanks go to my Mama girlfriends who pointed this one out to me, as maybe some reader here will benefit from this sale).
The Balance/Run bicycles don’t have pedals or gears and the idea is that a child first learns about balancing herself on such a bike. Then when the child is old enough to pedal, she would (in theory) have an easier time on a pedal bicycle because she’s already learned about the balancing part.
Rosebud’s Grandpa (my Dad) decided he wanted to give her a tricycle for her birthday. Rosebud’s Aunt K., an avid cyclist herself, as many of you know, sent Rosebud a super-cool bike helmet to go along with the bicycle theme (for now, Rosebud calls it her Bike Hat). As we looked around at tricycles, we didn’t really see too many tricycles that we liked and decided that a balance bicycle would be just as much fun for Rosebud. And the verdict? She LOVES it. Right now, she’s a little short for the one that we bought for her, but that hasn’t stopped Rosebud at all. She’ll certainly grow into it and will be able to use it for a long time.
Yesterday afternoon, we went over to visit Aby, one of Rosebud’s friends. Aby, who is three, recently got her own Laufrad. She was happily zooming about on her Laufrad, during one of the few moments of the day when the sun actually came out. Rosebud was tremendously jealous. She ran after Aby, crying, because she wanted on that balance bike so very badly. Then, when Rosebud saw me put the box containing her bike in the car, all she wanted was for me to open the box.
Once we got home, David put the bicycle together, while I worked on adjusting Rosebud’s bike helmet. She practically tore out of the house when I told her she was going to try out her own little balance bike. How did she do on her first try? Very well, I’d say, for someone who is just a little short yet for her Laufrad.
We made this video of her, a little more than five minutes long, showing Rosebud on her trial balance bike run:
As it was close to dinnertime, we let her play for about 15 or 20 minutes on her new bike. As you may have noticed in the video, she had no interest in coming back inside to eat dinner! And indeed, after we brought her inside, she had quite the toddler Wutanfall, or temper tantrum. Oh, the tears! The disappointment! This morning, all she wanted to do was go outside on her balance bike, despite the rain that has been falling all day. Clearly this gift is something she’ll really enjoy. I just hope that we’ll finally get enough dry weather this weekend to take her out again, because I know she is anxious and eager to play on her balance bike.