From the walking aid to the first real bike, children go through many stages. Learning step by step is the best way to wheel mastery.
Balancing à la Drais
Riding a wheel is the first time that balancing, which is so important in cycling, comes into play. Skilled riders are as fast as a brisk walker on flat ground; therefore, in everyday family life, the wheel is invaluable. It can be easily transported and is always at hand. Manufacturers like Puky offer different models, from mini wheels without brakes and with foam tires to off-road models with rear suspension and V-brakes. And from this you can already see: wheels are very popular. Are used for several years.
For the first real bike, size is the top priority. The child must be able to place both feet flat on the ground. Should sit completely upright in the beginning. For children's bicycles, the running wheel size in inches serves as the size measure – usually in steps of 12, 16, 20 and 24 inches. Most of the time the manufacturers give additional the minimum body size and stride length. Children's bikes should never be bought too big, for example in anticipation of an expected growth spurt.
Well protected into cycling life
A helmet is always a must for cycling. This is especially true for children -. Parents should always set a good example. Reflectors and bright clothing ensure visibility; at dusk, lights should be mounted on the wheel. But even perfectly equipped children under seven do not belong in road traffic. Compared to adults, their field of vision is smaller, distances and speeds are not yet reliably estimated. But those who have gained experience on the sidewalk, in the park, and in the play street can safely transition to the street at some point as a schoolchild.
On the bike at their own pace
Children who have ridden a running bike for a year or two learn to ride a bike almost by themselves. At some point between the ages of three and four, they combine the familiar pedaling of tricycles and Kettcars with keeping their balance, and often learn to ride a bike "secretly" in kindergarten – where there are usually plenty of vehicles. This has the advantage, in addition to both, that the child can learn at his or her own pace and only gets on the bike when he or she feels ready for it. It is counterproductive to push your child to ride a bike and perhaps overtax him or her in terms of motor skills and cognition. The result is then not seldom vehicle denial.
First try on the "Wutsch
From pedaling to the seahorse, mobility plays an important role in our children's lives. Expanding one's own radius, acting out the urge to move: This is hardly possible without vehicles. Let's start with the Bobbycar or the four-wheeled "Wutsch": These sturdy devices are fun walking aids for toddlers. Together with the tricycle, which also plays an important role in everyday life via the push bar, the two-track vehicles are usually used for the first two years of life; then they are too small and too slow.
What the sheriff wants
Today, parents with an affinity for bikes often treat their children to sporty bikes. And since the requirements of the StVZO have dropped, this is not even forbidden – but not to everyone's liking. Police traffic advisors, for example, point out the advantages of hub gears: if a child forgets to downshift when braking before an intersection, he or she can change to a lower gear while still standing; with derailleur gears, on the other hand, he or she can only slowly gain momentum and get out of the danger zone. The police also point out the advantages of fixed lighting systems: Battery lamps are often forgotten or left at home for fear of theft. By the way: Even if a dynamo light system is no longer compulsory, reflectors are still essential.
Bike training made easy
It doesn't take much at all to help children improve their bike control: traffic cones to set up a slalom course, long boards on which you have to ride a clean line, and tree slices of different sizes and thicknesses that make a great shaking track. If the right measure is taken, insecure children are not overtaxed and experienced cyclists do not get bored – then cycling training is fun for everyone.
Little technology at first
Most of the small "play bikes" do not have gears, even lights can be dispensed with in the beginning. Later you have to think more about the technology and how you want to cycle with the child: If only short distances are covered, it can be a classic children's bike with three-speed gears; if you want to go on a bike tour, a light, sporty model with derailleur gears is a good choice. Such bicycles roll with much less resistance and are easier to "handle" – the child saves energy and has more fun in the process. Features such as suspension and three chainrings can wait until little cyclists have become sporty teenagers.