San Antonio, TX -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/27/2012 -- A Texas mom of five is on a quest to end kid's dependence on what she considers an obstacle to learning to ride a bicycle. She's convinced that it's time for America to end its love affair with training wheels and embrace a popular European teaching method that employs a pedal-less bike called a balance bike.
Sherry Mabry, owner of BalanceBikes4Kids.com, has been selling these bikes with no pedals on her website for over two years and believes they're the ultimate tool for teaching a child to ride a bike.
"Taking away the training wheels puts the child in complete control of the bike, no tipping and worrying about what wheels are on the ground," she explained. "They will learn to ride on two wheels without their parents running behind them, you will have a free hand for that video camera and your child will be much more confident."
The inspiration to sell balance bikes came from her own family's experience trying to teach their daughters to ride. Her middle child, Dylan, struggled mightily with learning to ride. After outgrowing two bikes and still not able to ride, her dad took off the bike's pedals and lowered the seat. Nine-year-old Dylan pushed the bike around with her feet, testing and improving her balance along the way. After a few days using this method, she was able to balance the bike with enough confidence too add the pedals back on and after a few tries she was finally a bike rider.
When Mabry's two-year-old daughter Marlee expressed an interest in riding a bike, the family took a completely different approach. The bikes they found in stores were too heavy and tall for Marlee, so they purchased a European-built bicycle that was smaller and lighter than a traditional pedal bike. It had no pedals, chain or sprocket. This balance bike had a seat height that was just 12" off the ground and it weighed less than eight pounds.
"Watching Marlee pick up and carry her bike around at 2 years old, it's impressive. She was riding down large hills and then walking back up, over and over. Now, I can't keep up with her, she puts the RUN in run bike," said Mabry.
Many parents are turning to this balance first approach to get kids started riding a bike early in their childhood. Most kids quickly master the balancing aspect of riding a bicycle with the balance bike method. Training wheels remove balance from the equation and slow down the process of learning to ride for most children.
Parents who are cycling enthusiasts or dirt bike and motorcycle riders are fans of balance bikes because it allows them to get their kids involved in those activities at an early age. Balance bikes are also popular with parents of children with Autism because they help break down the process of learning to ride into more manageable steps that build confidence and reduce sensory issues. There are even balance bike models that support kids weighing up to 125 lbs like the Go Glider from Glide Bikes.
With so many parents in the "Training Wheels Club," the Balance Bikes 4 Kids owner understands that the fight to end the use of training wheels will be a long one. However, she's optimistic that someday more kids will learn with balance bikes than use training wheels.
The secret to converting parents over to balance bikes is just a matter of seeing them in action, Mabry confides.
"I've seen that look parents give me, when they look at a balance bike, so confused and I say, 'It's okay, it's not supposed to have pedals.' Then they put their child on it and within minutes their child is riding...that look - it's priceless."
If you’re interested in learning more about balance bikes or would like to schedule an interview with a representative of Balance Bikes 4 Kids, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 888-264-9199.