Balance Bike Clinic FAQ

Have more questions? No problem! We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that families send our way. Check if we've answered yours below!

FAQ #1: Why balance bikes? Why not just use a tricycle or training wheels?

Balance bikes have a lot of benefits over tricycles! Tricycles are very inefficient and as a result, kids generally don’t ride them very long by themselves, which is why many of them come with handles. In addition, tricycles teach kids to pedal first which is a really easy skill to learn, versus teaching balancing first. When kids learn to balance first, they never use training wheels and are on a regular pedal bike by 3 or 4. With tricycles to training wheels, they generally don’t transition to pedal bikes until they are 5 or 6. Furthermore, balance bike are very versatile as they can go over dirt, jumps, curbs, grass and gravel just fine, while tricycles can’t (or need to be pushed). The main concern most people have with balance bikes is that kids can’t simply sit on them and take off. The learning curve with balance bike is longer than with tricycles, but once they learn, they take off! Kids as young as 18 months start riding balance bikes and do just fine, although most don’t master sitting and balancing until they are closer to 2.
— Two Wheeling Tots

FAQ #2: What do they typically learn at a clinic? My kid is really good on a balance bike. They got the hang of it at 2. Not at all meaning that They couldn't learn something new, just curious what the clinic entails.

Our just-turned 3-year-old, Asante is proficient as well and is on a 14" pedal bike sans training wheels, so we totally get what you're asking. The reason our family started these clinics and all of our other Kittie Knox Community Programs was manifold but as it relates to your question: COMMUNITY. Our toddler loves to ride and we were wondering where all the other toddlers (and big kids) who love to ride were at.

  • FoCMC co-founders, Adisa & Lauryn
  • We are certified League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) with the League of American Bicyclists. Registering for a clinic gets your family our professional instruction. We'll help show you how to adjust your child's bike and helmet to fit their needs; how to maintain and care for their bike; and how you, as their adult, can create a supportive environment for your young rider.
  • We have ramps. We have cones. We have obstacle courses. We play games. We talk about bike and pedestrian safety. We have a cargo bike available for families to touch and try. We stay late after our clinics are over to give one-on-one instruction to families that want to hang out. But mostly, our clinics are about building COMMUNITY. If any of that appeals to you, we'd love to meet your family and have you attend!
  • And thank you to our Community Sponsor, Xtracycle™ for supporting our Kittie Knox Community Programs by providing us with an Xtracycle Cargo Node™ for FoCMC families to touch and try! This bike is nimble and zippy, and in our opinion, one of the most perfect family biking options out right now. We'll have it available at all our Family Rides, Family Cycling Workshops, and Balance Bike Clinics. Come take a test ride!

FAQ #3: What's the difference between a Strider® balance bike and the bikes you carry?

If your budget allows and your rider is under 3-years-old (generally speaking), we recommend going with the woom™ 1. That said, we want to get the right bike for your family's needs and the following are questions we ask to discern that: How old is your rider? What is their inseam (see below for instructions on measuring your child's inseam)? Would you consider them ambitious or more cautious? And what's your budget?

If your child's inseam is greater than 14", we recommend going with the 12" Stampede Charger™ Balance Bike (or possibly the 16" Stampede Charger™ Balance Bike) because they will have more room to grow with the bike. However, if this is your child's first bike and their inseam is between 10" and 16", we recommend choosing the woom™ 1, as their attention to detail and use of high-end components is unmatched.

  • The woom™ 1 comes with a turning limiter, the Strider® does not.
  • The woom™ 1's handlebars are significantly wider than the Strider®, making steering less twitchy and providing more control for children.
  • The woom™ 1 comes stock with a child-specific handbrake (the Strider® does not) which is great for when children are ready to transition to a pedal bike because they'll already be familiar with a handbrake and know how to use it.
  • The woom™ 1 also comes stock with air tires whereas the Strider® comes with foam, which while they wont ever go flat, they also wont provide the traction and cushion your rider will need once they get more ambitious and decide to ride on dirt, loose gravel, wet concrete, etc. Also, if you wanted to eventually upgrade those foam tires on your Strider®, you'd be just $20 shy of what it would've cost you to just buy the woom™ 1.
  • Plus, upgrading the tires on your Strider® will add an additional 3.6lbs (6.7lbs stock + 3.6lbs for tires = 10.1lbs vs the woom™ 1's stock 7.9lbs) to the bike which might make it more difficult, if your child is petite and/or less coordinated, to maneuver.
  • The woom™ 1's frame is made of aluminum alloy 6061 which is lightweight, strong, and rust-proof whereas the Strider®'s frame is steel and prone to rust.
  • Finally, woom™ is a small, family-owned and operated bike company that focuses all of their time and energy on designing high quality, lightweight bikes for kids of all ages. They value ergonomics, handling, design, being responsive to customers, and using non-toxic parts. AND they offer an optional Upcycle System that allows you to size up once your child outgrows their current bike.

FAQ #4: We bought our child a balance bike for their birthday. Can we use that one at the clinic?

For safety, quality of instruction, and the continued support of our Community Sponsors the only balance bikes we allow at our clinics are woom™ and Stampede™.

FAQ #5: What is inseam and how do I measure it?

  • Have your child take their shoes off and stand up straight, with their back against a wall.
  • Place a book between their legs and slide it up the wall to meet the crotch firmly as if they are seated on a saddle.
  • Make sure your child still has their heels on the ground, then mark with a pencil where the top of the book the touches the wall.
  • Measure the distance from the floor straight up to the mark.

FAQ #6: I have a helmet but I don't think it fits my kid properly. Is there a brand that you recommend?

Yes! We sell the helmets that we recommend and all proceeds go directly back into supporting our Community Programs and providing scholarships to families that need it. Check out our online shop for available styles, colors, and sizes.

FAQ #7: Do you recommend any additional safety gear? Pads? Gloves?

Unless your child is a super aggressive rider -- going off jumps, bombing hills, etc. -- the only safety gear we recommend in additon to a helmet, long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes with grippy rubber soles are gloves (as that's how kids brace themselves if they do take a tumble) and a bell (for letting people ahead of them know that they are close and want to pass). Regarding pads, most on the market are too bulky and thus, cumbersome for young riders.


Photography courtesy of Christine Shaw.


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