Riding a bike is not only fun and great exercise, but it is also an activity the whole family can enjoy together. Learning to ride a bike is fantastic for the physical development of a toddler, but at what age should they start? Can your 2 year old ride a bike?
A 2 year old child can ride a bike. There are many types of bicycles suitable for toddlers on the market, from tricycles to balance bikes. Choosing the correct bicycle for your child will depend on their size, coordination, and physical development.
Going on a family biking expedition is a big moment for toddlers and their parents, but it can be scary. Your toddler will be able to ride a bike, depending on whether the bike is the right fit for your 2 year old. There are many riding options available for your toddler and your family if your 2 year old is not confident in their biking skills or cannot ride by themselves yet.
Can Your 2 Year Old Ride A Bike?
Generally, if a 2 year old can sit upright on a bike without leaning, then he or she should be able to ride a bike.
Your 2 year old might not master a pedal bike immediately or have the confidence to try, but there are various starter options available aimed at preparing your young one for a pedal bike, like
- Ride-on toys.
- Balance bikes.
- Training wheels.
The size of your toddler, balance, level of coordination, and physical development should be considered when choosing the correct bike.
Of course, your toddler cannot ride or learn to ride without the proper safety gear.
Make sure your 2 year old has a helmet that is not too big or too loose-fitting. The helmet should sit securely and level on your toddler’s head, about an inch above their eyebrows. Make sure the helmet is certified and complies with safety standards.
Elbow pads and knee pads can offer your child additional protection.
If your 2 year old can sit upright, balance, have decent safety gear, and has confidence, your 2 year old is ready to ride a bike.
Buy A Balance Bike Or Training Wheels For A 2 Year Old
When we were children, we learned to ride pedal bikes with added training wheels.
Nowadays, there is a new training option on the market – balance bikes.
Which option should you choose for your 2 year old?
Training Your Toddler To Ride With Training Wheels
This is the traditional way that most of us adults learned to ride a bicycle when we were little.
Training wheels can be mounted to any kid-sized bicycle to prevent your 2 year old from falling over. The added stability gives them extra security and removes the anxiety of potentially falling over.
The training wheels can be removed when your kid is brave enough to try riding without the additional support and can always be re-attached if they discover that they are not quite there yet.
However, cycling experts warn against this method of learning to ride a bike, as toddlers do not actually learn or try to balance themselves, instead leaning on the training wheels. This can cause a few extra scrapes and bruises when the training wheels are first removed, as they still have to learn to balance without the training wheels.
Teach Your Toddler To Balance With A Balance Bike
Unlike training wheels, balance bikes specifically teach 2 year old’s balancing skills. This is the preferred teaching method amongst cycling experts.
Balance bikes are small, narrow bikes without pedals. The smaller, lightweight frames are a perfect fit for your toddler, suitable for kids aged 18 months and up. Kids balance themselves with their legs.
Balance bikes allow toddlers to easily glide up and down any terrain, allowing for more freedom of movement. They can glide over rocks, sidewalks, grass, or dirt paths.
Most balance bikes are extremely durable. If you invest in a good quality balance bike, it can be passed on to future offspring or resold as a secondhand balance bike.
Why You Should Teach Your Toddler How To Ride A Bike
Knowing how to ride a bike might not be a crucial life skill, but the skills children develop through riding a bike are of the utmost importance.
Riding a bike is great for developing gross motor skills. It strengthens the muscles in the arms, legs, back, and torso. It also improves balance and coordination. Riding a bike is good for developing fine motor skills too. It also teaches endurance.
Your toddler’s full body sensory awareness will also improve with bike riding, and it gives them visual stimulation. It forces your child to pay attention and focus on what is happening around them.
The confidence your 2 year old will gain from learning how to ride a bike is valuable, and your toddler’s new ability to move by themselves will give them a sense of freedom and independence, even if mom or dad is just a few steps away.
How To Go Biking With A Toddler Who Cannot Ride
It is still possible to go out and ride a bike with a child who cannot ride a bicycle themselves.
Child bike seats are a great option for toddlers who can sit up by themselves. It is suitable for kids up to 50 pounds. It can be mounted on the bike frame, the rear rack of the bike, or even on the front frame.
These seats have harnesses to secure your child safely. Just be careful, as the movements of your toddler can affect your balance.
Bicycle trailers are lightweight trailers that you pull behind your own bike. They can carry around 40 pounds, depending on the model. They are more expensive than bike seats, but they can carry more than one toddler. They are low to the ground, giving you more stability and making balancing easier. The extra space always comes in handy.
Investing in a cargo bike is another good option and can carry massive loads. Longtail bikes allow toddlers to sit on an extended rear cargo rack over the back wheel. You can mount a child bike seat for your toddler, or they can just sit on the rack itself.
The front-loading cargo bike works just as well. Its cargo rack is located between the front wheel and the handlebars, the perfect spot for your 2 year old to sit and enjoy the road.
Just remember that even little passengers should always wear their helmets correctly.
If your 2 year old has the ability to stay upright by themselves and has good balance, he or she can ride a bike. Ride-on toys and tricycles are fun alternatives for toddlers, and balance bikes prepare them for two-wheeled bikes.
If your toddler is unable to ride a bike on their own, you can still take them biking by using a child bike seat, bicycle trailer, or buying a cargo bike. Never let your 2 year old ride a bike without safety gear or supervision.