10.30.2011

Push Bike Versuses Old School Training Wheels

Sam is off to a fast start at the lil' Belgian's Event at the 2011 DCCX cyclocross race in Washington DC

ah... the push bike
I have no dog in this fight
yet I still manage to have an opinion

push bike or training wheels?

when my boys were of the "push bike" age the options were few and far between
and those limited push bike options were all righteously expensive
so... I went "old school"
both my boys learned to ride bicycles with training wheels
each of them riding bicycles comfortably without training wheels before the age of five

it is clear to me that people have ingested the push bike flavored Kool Aid
training wheels are looked down upon by so many
but really... I am not so sure that the push bike is the ultimate answer
in fact... it may be a solution to a non-problem
it may be a cool trend that offers its own set of issues when the young rider goes to the pedal bike with coaster brake

it may be more of an issue of "this versus that" than actual one better than another
not sure if the push bike culture has more fun than the training wheel culture
and not so sure that the push bike kids learn to ride a bicycle more quickly or more easily than the kids with training wheels

in fact... I think that the push bike may offer up its own set of difficulties

the training wheel kids learn aspects of bicycle riding that push bike kids do not learn
off the top of my head
the training wheel kids learn to pedal, steer, and brake in a situation that is more similar to bicycle riding
I have seen kids transition from push bike to pedal bike... often these kids try to brake with their feet
not having the pedals and back pedaling part of their second nature

really...
the move to the bicycle with pedals involves a certain amount of growing pains
both my boys argued about taking their training wheels off
then both of my boys requested that they get put back on

learning to ride a bike can be a frustrating process for parent and child
in so many ways it is a leap of faith for the child

personally I think that the push bike could be a good transition tool
a toy for the child in addition to the the bicycle with training wheels
something brought in when the child is getting ready to transition to the pedal bike without training wheels
but... since my boys are now 7 and 10...
well... there is no opportunity for me to run any personal experiments

are push bikes better than bikes with training wheels?
the new breed would emphatically say yes
but really... I am not so sold on this
I have memories of my boys riding their bicycles with training wheels in a fashion that I would not expect from the push bike crowd

push bike is too similar to walking
that said... the kids love their scooters
and well
I am not so sure that the scooters are any faster than running for the kids

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