A couple of weeks ago Mrs. LIAYF and I, along with Lukas, walked into Seattle's Alki Bike and Board to have a look around. Lukas, of course, thought all of the shiny new bicycles were pretty cool.
To that point he had been only riding around on his tricycle, which he was beginning to pedal with ease, but was always fascinated when he saw a one of the bigger kids in the neighborhood riding by on their 2 wheel model.
Then, Mrs. LIAYF spotted what she recognized as a balance bike on a high shelf. The balance bike has no pedals and is designed to be an alternative to teaching a kid to ride a bike using training wheels. They sit on it and scoot along with their feet, which they also use to learn how to properly balance a two wheeled bicycle.
When we pulled it down to have a closer look, Lukas was extremely excited by it. "Wow!" he exclaimed. Not only was it red - his absolute favorite color - but it was also adorned with rockets. It was a Lil Rocket model made by Sun and the seat was emblazoned with a fiery rocket which was, by all accounts, on its way to the Moon.
It didn't take my lovely wife too much time to convince me that this was our son's perfect 3rd birthday gift. We then also quickly decided it would be an early birthday present since none of us wanted to leave the shop without it.
Since then Lukas has, in short order, become a champion balance bike rider. We have already spent many days out in the neighborhood and on the boardwalk at Seattle's Alki Beach giving him the opportunity to ride along on a flat surface. I have to give props to Mrs. LIAYF for quickly instilling in him the proper caution when it comes to driveways and streets, but when he does get onto an open stretch he can already build up impressive speed.
So far it has been amazing to see the number of people who stop to look and then ask about the bike. The concept is relatively new, so apparently not a lot of people have heard of these pedal-less bikes before.
We are pretty sure that this whole excercise will have our son riding a pedal bike without training wheels much earlier than he would have otherwise been able to without the benefit of the Lil Rocket. For now though the hard part will be for these 40 plus year old knees to keep up with our little lightning on wheels!
By the way, I am discussing a balancing act of my own in my second post at Dad Revolution, which was posted this morning. If you get a chance, go check it out.