If there was ever a kid version of the “all-American pastime, it would definitely be bike-riding. Having a bike is every kid’s first dream because it means two things: The slow beginnings of pre-teen freedom, and the ability to go wherever you want within biking (and safety!) range. For most kids, biking is a group activity and something that marks the passage of Spring, Summer, and Fall with their friends, getting together to go ride to their favorite hang-out or each other’s houses. Many a summer was spent, for most of us, with our bikes dumped on the lawns of our best friends and cycling until the sun went down. A bike is a great gift in so many more ways, though.
Biking can be a great source of exercise and its health benefits are expansive. There’s a reason that as adults, so many of us take spin classes to build muscle and burn fat. By biking, you’re obviously working your leg muscles, but you’re also strengthening your core and building up muscle your arms and back too as you lean forward and backward on the bike. The motion involved with pedaling helps improve dexterity and hand-eye coordination and tests your balance as well. For a kid, all of these things will help dramatically improve endurance and they’ll be so focused on where they’re going that they won’t even realize how much work they’re actually putting into their exercise. This is great for parents as well — It means your kids will always come home ready for a nap! Below, we’ve listed some of the top bikes out there along with all the reasons they’ve made our list…We’re sure you’ll find one that’s perfectly suited for your child’s biking needs.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Huffy Disney Frozen
- Perfect for Preschoolers
- Dynacraft Magna Throttle
- Ages 6-10
- Huffy Star Wars
- Perfect for Star Wars Fans
Criteria Used in Evaluation of the Best Kids Bikes
Bikes remain an extremely popular item to kids. They see these as cool ways to get around and to start exerting their own independence. For parents, bikes can have other benefits for a child as well. Yes, these are a mode of transportation but that are other benefits as well that come from bike riding that we took into consideration while creating this list.
With childhood obesity such a concern these days it’s important that a child gets a certain amount of physical activity each day. Bike riding is a good form of exercise that will feel like fun as a child is doing it. Bicycling is actually a good cardiovascular workout that is low impact but will promote good muscle tone throughout the entire body.
While having a bike there will be several lessons in responsibility that the child will have to learn. First, it will be how to ride the bike itself and how to handle it. Second would be the child understanding that they have to wear all required safety equipment such as a helmet that would fit properly onto their heads. Next, a child will need to understand about bike signals and how important these are when out riding their bikes. Then there will be all the other safety concerns that a child will need to follow. So, in learning all these things the child is also being given a lesson in responsibility.
Balance and Coordination
Balance and coordination is a key element to a child’s development. Riding a bike can be a great way for a kid to sharpen these two skills. These two elements will help children to obtain better muscle mass and be able to control their bodies, making it possible not only to skillfully ride a bike but to also participate in other physical activities. Also, in order to achieve good balance and coordination, a child will need to hone on cognitive skills such as:
- Hand and Eye coordination
- Concentration skills
- Motor Skills
These are just a few of the benefits a child will find that they will need in order to obtain good balance and coordination. Benefits that are not only good for riding a bike but for being able to control their bodies performance.
This one is no doubt the one component a child will love about a bike. As they grow and their bike grows, so will their independence. Suddenly they don’t need their parents to drive them to school or to a friends house, they can take their bike. Yes, this will come with a child still being able to understand that they still have to show responsibility and that they will follow certain guidelines that are put in place. But for a kid a bike represents perhaps their first glimpse at independence and being able to venture into the world on their own even if it’s just baby steps at first, the bike still represents that form of freedom.
What Determined the Ten Amazing Kiddie Bikes in Our List
For this project, choosing the top 10 bicycles for kids was relatively easy despite the fact that there are literally hundreds of such ride-on toys in the market. What we did was to look at the customer review ratings of each of these products. We had to set the bar a bit higher in this case. Usually, we only include those with at least 4.0 stars. For this project, we took only those with consumer product ratings not lower than 4.3 stars. As this is not really enough, we skimmed through the different reviews about the shortlisted bicycles for kids to get an idea of the actual performance of the toys. This gave us a glimpse of the pros and cons of each one so we can give you our best recommendations about the said bicycles.
We then considered the appropriateness of the design of the bicycle to the developmental age of children. Not all kids can master riding a bike right away. As such, features that will enable them to learn to ride a bike in a progressive manner are essential things to consider. All other features were evaluated for their contribution to the overall development of children. Safety and comfort were also overriding concerns. The structural integrity of the bicycle had to be ensured to help guarantee its safety. The different materials used in its design and construction should be sturdy, comfortable, of high quality, and safe, whenever appropriate.
The reputation of the bicycle company was also evaluated. It is very important to include only products from well-established manufacturers that have been in the industry for many years. This helps provide the peace of mind we’ll ever need about the quality and safe construction of these types of ride-on toys.
Ensuring a Safer Biking Experience for Your Child
Biking is a very fun way to enjoy the outdoors. It is particularly beneficial for children as this can have an impact on their physical, emotional, and cognitive development. However, because balance is an inherent requirement for biking, there is always a risk of falls due to a loss of balance. Hence, it is important to always consider bike safety whenever your child takes his or her bicycle for a spin. Here are some things we can teach kids about bicycle safety.
- Teach your child never to play on the road.
- Teach your child never to ride on busy streets.
- Teach your child never to ride his or her bike at night.
- Teach your child to stop whenever there are stop signs.
- Teach your child to always ride his or her bike with traffic.
- Teach your child to always stop and look before crossing any intersection or before entering any roadway.
- Teach your child how to use basic hand signals to signify their intention to other motorists in the area.
- Teach your child never to ride his or her bike without a complete protective gear including a prescribed biker’s helmet and elbow and knee pads.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What age is appropriate for a child to start to learn to ride a bicycle?
A: A child can usually start learning to ride a bike at the age of 3. On average though the most common age to have a child go from using a tricycle to a bicycle with training wheels is 5 years of age. This is usually around the age where a child will start to take an interest in the actual two wheel bike that they may see their siblings and even friends riding.
Q: Where is the best place for a child to start to learn to ride a bike?
A: Perhaps the best place for a kid to start learning the fundamentals of a bike riding would be a place that has a good clean flat surface. This would include a large flat well-paved driveway, a large unclutter patio deck, a cemented basketball court, and even a tennis court. Also remember to make sure that the area that is chosen if free of debris such as wet leaves, had no cracks or bumps and also free of traffic of any kind including pedestrians. All these can obstruct a child while they are learning to safely ride a bike. Another important thing to remember is while a child is learning to ride they need to be monitored. Some of thee bikes listed above make it easy for a parent to play an active role in their child learning to ride a bike. But regardless of the type of bike, kids need supervision and guidance on how to achieve this skill.
Q: When is it a good idea to remove the training wheels on a bicycle?
A: There is no easy answer on this one it would really come down to the child themselves. When a kid is ready they will usually tell a parent. Even if there is hesitation in doing so because as a parent you may feel like the child isn’t ready just yet especially if a child is wanting this done a year or so after getting the bike to begin with. One thing, not to do is to push a child to let go of the training wheels before they are ready. This has to be the decision of the child, even if the parent feels it might be too soon a child will never know they can do this on their own without giving it a try. A good suggestion is to put it to the test as to whether or not a child is really read. Take off just one of the training wheels than see how steady the child is with only one still intact. If all goes well with just one, than it can also be removed. Remember, if necessary the wheels can always go back on. However, eventually, it is advisable that a child learns to ride without them, because this will be the only way a child will learn how to balance themselves properly on the bike with no assistance.
Q: What if the child becomes discouraged while learning to ride a bike?
A: Learning to ride a bike isn’t easy, which might be why some kids abandon learning to do so. It can be easy to become discouraged, but to remind the child that it’s important not to give up on learning to ride a bike. Unfortunately, accidents are going to happen. Kids will lose their balance and fall. This could scare the child and even the parent a bit. But falling is a part of life, and in those moments when we fall we have to get ourselves back up and start over again.
Q: What if my kid doesn’t like wearing a helmet while riding a bike?
A: A helmet is not only a good safety precaution when riding a bike not only for kids but for adults, but for kids in some states it is also the law that they wear one while out bike riding. If a child has an issue with this because they are being stubborn, remind them that you too have to follow the law and wear a seatbelt while driving a car. If you are a cyclist yourself get a helmet to wear while you ride a bike to show the kid that you too are concerned about protecting the head against head injury. In short, lead by example for the child to follow even if they don’t like the helmet they will use it.
Q: When is it wise to allow a kid to ride their bike on the side of the street?
A: A bike lane in the street is really more designed for a more skilled bicycle rider. As for the child when they are really ready to start taking their bicycle out beyond their own yard it’s best for them to stick to the neighborhood. It is also wise for them to always ride the bike on the sidewalk. Bike lanes should only be used if the neighborhood street isn’t too congested with traffic, but this still isn’t a good idea for a less skilled individual on a bike. Eventually, when a kid becomes skilled enough to take the bike to say school there will be other challenges for them to face. Such as always being alert to what traffic is doing and to always get off the bike to walk with it in crosswalks. It will also be important for the child to make sure that they always wear their helmet when venturing out on their bikes. Keep in mind though even when riding on a sidewalk it is important for a child to be aware of cars, especially the ones that could be backing up out of driveways.
Q: Is it important to have set guidelines as to where a child is allowed to ride their bike?
A: This is definitely something that needs to be made clear to a child, especially the older and more independent they become. A child needs to understand the exact places they are allowed to ride their bike to, for example, school, the library or a friends house. They also need to be made aware of how far they are allowed to travel on the bike. Another thing that would be advisable when possible is to have a curfew time. In other words, tell the child that they should not be out on the bike after nightfall, this can be a dangerous time to be out riding a bike for anyone at any age to be doing.
Q: Can a bike be kept to be handed down to another child?
A: Definitely, when a child outgrows a bike, it can be kept for a sibling down the road to use. If the bike is kept in good condition including keeping the training wheels along with other components this is a great way to get the most value out of a bike. In fact, this is a great way to teach a kid to learn to ride on a bike that is handed down or even second hand since the bike will no doubt take a whole lot of wear and tear.
The Bottom Line
Biking is fun especially when safety in riding is ensured. While it is our job as parents to become role models for biking safety for our children, we should always start by choosing the best equipment that they will be riding on. Our 10 best kids bikes in 2018 are always a good place to start. If you would like to see more bikes, check out our guide on the best balance bikes for kids here.
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