Riding a bike is a quintessential rite of passage for young kids. Some of the best childhood memories include the freedom of riding around on your own set of wheels.
Start early and your kiddo will have an appreciation for bike riding that could develop into a lifelong hobby.
Here are different options that will get your kid excited about riding around town throughout various stages of their childhood.
Give your kiddo a love for bike riding at a young age by pulling them around in a bike trailer (REI, $300 on sale). They get to see the sights and you get to fit in some exercise that doesn't involve pushing a stroller. Industry standard is for toddlers to be at least 1 year old with strong neck support. Many bike trailers can sit two kids from ages 1 to 6. Even though she's just a passenger, start getting your kid in the habit of wearing a helmet (L.L. Bean, $60).
Baby gear can be crazy expensive and we're fans of multitasking products that give you the biggest bang for your buck. This 4-in-1 Trike (Radio Flyer, $100) is the ultimate grow-with-me product. It starts out being an infant trike that a parent can push for casual strolls starting as early as 9 months and transitions to a full trike that your child can use up to 5 years old. My 1-year-old daughter just got one of these in pink for her birthday and absolutely loves it. Pair the learn-to-ride trike with a helmet (REI, $45) when your little one starts practicing on her own.
Once your kiddo is ready to make the move from three wheels to two, a balancing training bike (FirstBIKE, $144 on sale) can help make that transition. A learning bike without pedals can help your child develop a sense of balance. I was a little hesitant of this idea at first, but a friend with a 3-year-old pointed out that a learning bike can help build confidence before moving on to their first "big kid bike." Since there aren't any pedals, your kid can walk the bike while first learning the ropes and slowly start coasting. A hand brake helps them learn how to stop. With an adjustable seat, a training bike can grow with your kid from ages 2 to 5. Plus, the bike is super lightweight and is easy to toss in the car to take to the park. Add a cute bell (FirstBIKE, $9) so your kid can let people know he's coming and a rad coordinating helmet (Diapers.com, $62).
Between ages 5 to 8 years old many kids are ready for their first legit bike. Consumer Search gives the Schwinn Scorch for boys (Toys R Us, $97) and Jasmine for girls (Amazon, $121) a top rating for having both front and rear brakes — a key characteristic that's hard to come by in children's bikes. The Schwinn model got praise for having a sturdy frame and being easy to assemble. Removable training wheels help transition it to a full bike when your kid is ready. A pair of padded bike gloves (Aero Tech Designs, $20) can offer protection from inevitable spills when your kid starts riding solo. A helmet is a must at this point and your kids might be interested in one they can show off to friends like this cat bike helmet (Walmart, $19) or shark helmet (Target, $21). The biggest complaint about this model? There's no kickstand.
Note: FirstBIKE sent a free sample of their product for the purposes of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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