My husband was the person who told me about this thing called the “pedal-less” bike, which was supposed to be good for learning how to ride a two-wheel bicycle without the crutch of the traditional training wheels. We were intrigued by the idea and thought it would be cool to get one of those bikes for our boys. I think, at that time, those kind of bikes were not available locally. A few years later, we started seeing them in specialty toy shops and they were extremely expensive. In recent years, such pedal-less bikes are more common but the cost is still quite high, considering the fact that the bike is just a means to an end. We did consider removing the pedals from our normal bike, but in the ended decided not to because it was too much trouble.
So our kids had to learn how to ride a bicycle the old fashion way. To be honest, we were not very keen on pushing bikes and risking our limbs. So we did not actively try to get our boys to learn. It is after all not an essential life skill.
Eventually, we stumbled upon a cheaper and better way of achieving the same result as the ‘pedal-less’ bike. It was all because of our #1, who didn’t want to try to learn how to ride a two-wheel bicycle because he was too chicken to do so. He settled for a skate scooter (with two wheels) and was zooming everywhere, chasing after his friends who were riding on bikes. He got pretty good at the scooter and could keep up with the bikes. Then one day, he finally picked up the courage to try one of his friends’ bike. Within 5 minutes, he was riding the bike like he always knew how to.
I then realised that while scooting around on the two-wheel skate scooter, he already learned how to balance on two wheels. Hence, when he got on a two-wheel bicycle, it didn’t take him long to get the hang of it. That was really a shortcut to learning how to ride a two-wheel bicycle! I am definitely happy about the fact that I did not have to push him on his bike, risk my arms and legs while helping him balance. Still, I could not be 100% certain that it was really because of the skate scooter that he could learn how to ride a two-wheel bike so effortlessly.
When it was #2’s turn to learn how to ride a two-wheel bike, I encouraged him to ride on the two-wheel skate scooter first until he could basically cruise on it with both legs off the ground instead of having one leg kicking the ground all the time. When he could do that well, I encouraged him to try the two-wheel bicycle and told him that it was the same kind of “feel”. When he was finally ready to try riding a bicycle, he got the hang of it straight away. I only had to push him off once and he was riding.
I shared this discovery with my neighbour and she excitedly told me her son started riding in 5 minutes. Later on, I found out that other friends also had the same experience. So I am now very certain that the skate scooter makes learning how to ride a two-wheel bicycle easy. Of course, the child has to be ready and want to learn. I don’t think the skate scooter is a cure for fear and psychological issues.
The icing on the cake is that it is much cheaper than one of those ‘pedal-less’ bikes in the market and you don’t have to dismantle a real bike to make it ‘pedal-less’. A skate scooter definitely takes up less space at home, and when your child knows how to ride a bike, you don’t have to wonder what to do with the interim, ‘pedal-less’ one. Kids who already know how to ride will likely to still want to play with their skate scooters once in a while. On the other hand, I doubt they would want to go back to a ‘pedal-less’ bike.
Finally, there is really no harm trying the skate scooter first because it is not costly. If it does not work for you, you can still buy the expensive ‘pedal-less’ bike.