Bikes are a rite of passage for kids. It's their first version of (toddler-sized) thrills and independence. Our list of favorites will help you navigate the bumpy trail of options for your budding cyclist.
While your kiddos may be too small and clumsy for real bikes, let them learn to pedal and feel the wind in their hair on a Big Wheel. They sit low to the ground, which allows them to figure things out while staying a little safer. Best of all, it comes in four stylish patterns based on their favorite cartoons: Cars, Spider-Man, Disney Princesses and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
A classic Radio Flyer tricycle is the perfect in-between model for someone who is still too small to ride a full bike but who has conquered the Big Wheel and is ready to move on to bigger things. Durable tires and stylish accessories, like a chrome bell and handle tassels, make this a favorite for parents and children.
Transitioning with Training Wheels
The classic bike with training wheels helps your child get pedaling down pat while allowing him to worry about balance a bit later. Then, one special day, you can take the training wheels off when he's ready. He can face his fears and squeal in delight when he starts flying down the sidewalk unaided.
Learning to balance a bicycle is a hard feat, but what if you're averse to training wheels? Try a balance bike. It's designed to help your child learn how to steer and balance before adding pedals. This Y Velo version has an adjustable seat and adjustable handlebar heights as well as a junior version for riders 18 to 48 months old.
Available as either a 16- or 20-inch bike, this old-school style bike is great for a lazy summer afternoon of riding as part of a family outing or with friends. For a classic city ride, try the cruiser style, a la "The Sandlot" and "Now and Then."
If your family is active and adventurous, take the Kent Super bicycle on the trails with you! It's tough enough to keep up with the great outdoors—and a tireless kid.
Is your child a daredevil or future star of the X Games? Get him a starter bike like this Thruster Chaos. It comes in three neon options of green, orange and yellow and features front and rear pegs, a sturdy frame for stunts, freestyle handlebar and tires.