Learning to bike is a huge childhood milestone. My three year old loves his tricycle, but he really wants to be a “big boy” and requested a “big kid bike” for his birthday in April.
When buying their child’s first bike, many parents opt for a regular bike with training wheels. While training wheels are useful for minimizing the risks of traumatizing falls, they don’t help your child learn how to balance: the most important skill to acquire when learning to bike. Similarly, learning to steer a bike can be a challenge for many children, and bikes with training wheels can catch or tip over if a child turns too quickly on an uneven or bumpy surface.
Since I work in the toy industry (lucky me!), I get to see all the great new toys at Toy Fair every February. At Toy Fair, I met the two dads who started Kazam Balance Bikes, and they sent my son a cool red balance bike to try.
My son has been using his Kazam Bike for several months, and he loves his first “big kid” bike. The Kazam Balance Bike was picked as a top outdoor toy by Parents Magazine in June 2011, and I can understand why. (Disclosure: I love the Kazam bike so much that I actually started working with the company as a consultant!)
I like how my son can learn to bike safely, and at his own pace. He propels the Kazam using his feet and is learning the coordination and balance he’ll need to transition to a more challenging pedaled bike when he’s older.
Initially, he kept at least one foot on the ground at all times. But in just a few days of use, he started pushing the Kazam bike faster and holding his feet off the ground more. When he almost lost his balance, he was able to steady himself quickly by putting his feet on the ground.
I’m not particularly athletic or coordinated, and I remember having a hard time learning to bike as a kid. A few painful falls frightened me a bit, and I used training wheels for what seemed like an eternity. I wish balance bikes had been popular when I was a child because I’ve seen how easily my son is learning how to balance and bike — minus the traumatic falls and scrapes I had.
The Kazam bike has been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, in Parenting Magazine, and was the recipient of the the 2010 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and the 2010 Creative Child Magazine Ride-On Toy of the Year Award.
Visit www.kazambikes.com. You can purchase a Kazam Balance Bike for $99.95 (includes free shipping). Since your child should ALWAYS bike with a helmet, you might want to consider buying the Balance Bike and Child-Sized Helmet Package for $114.95 (includes free shipping). That’s a pretty good deal for a helmet. In fact, the helmet pictured in the photo above is not a Kazam helmet as I’d previously purchased it for $30 for use with his tricycle.