Tricycle, more like try-cycle! Tricycles are the perfect tool to help your little one try out cycling, and eventually, learn how to ride a bicycle. Tricycles can also help children improve their physical skills, self-esteem, and motor development. Not bad for a little plastic seat on wheels!
Benefits of tricycles
First of all, biking (…triking?) is super fun! Baby will have a blast pedaling their feet and moving forward down a hallway or street. It’s a good way for them to get exercise and spend some time in fresh air, and it also gives you an opportunity to bond as you help Baby navigate the world on wheels.
Additionally, riding a tricycle is a great way for Baby to experience a little independence as they take life by the handlebars. You might technically be pushing or guiding the tricycle, but they are front and center, steering and pedaling, feeling in control of this magical cycling machine. Cycling also helps improve coordination and posture, and it’s good for overall physical fitness. It will strengthen muscles throughout Baby‘s body!
Which ones are best?
Baby is still a little small for a regular tricycle, but there are many modified trikes that are appropriate for children ages 2 and up. They’ll usually be part stroller, part tricycle and eventually convert into a standalone tricycle when Baby is ready. In the early stages, you can push the trike stroller-style while Baby practices pedaling and just enjoys the experience of being on a bike.
These stroller-y trikes are cool because you can explore the great outdoors with them, but you can also find tiny trikes that Baby can use without your assistance – just be extra careful to put them on a soft spot or supervise extra closely.
Safety tips and tricks
Imagine your child riding a bike or trike, and your brain will probably fill in an image of them falling off it. That’s natural, normal, and…definitely going to happen. As you prepare yourself and Baby for any cycling adventure, keep these safety tips in mind to reduce the risk of injury or other adverse effects.
- Wear a helmet: The first three rules of biking are: Wear a helmet, wear a helmet, and wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet during these tricycling years will keep Baby‘s precious head protected while riding and start an important safety habit for the future.
- Be careful in the sun: When Baby is using their tricycle outdoors, it’s important to protect their skin. Use sunscreen, appropriate clothing, and consider using a trike with a canopy if it works for your family.
- Wear a seatbelt: This won’t be possible for all models, but if you can find a tricycle with an attached seatbelt, make sure to use it! Baby will feel more secure, and it will reduce the risk of them tumbling if they tips the trike over.
- Pick a good spot: Because learning to ride a tricycle is still a trial-and-error process, even with three wheels, it can be helpful to practice on carpet, grass, or a soft area in case of falls. Of course, it’s harder to pedal quickly on softer surfaces, so there’s a bit of a tradeoff either way. Just be aware of the surface that you’re on and adjust accordingly!
Once Baby has mastered the tricycle, they can move on to the bicycle and you can experience the iconic, dramatic feeling of releasing your little one out into the world on two wheels. And who knows, maybe one day they&;ll get all the way down to one with a unicycle! Dream big!
- “The top 5 benefits of cycling.” Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School. August 2016. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-top-5-benefits-of-cycling
- “Cycling – health benefits.” Better Health. Department of Health and Human Services, State Government of Victoria, Australia. November 2013. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/cycling-health-benefits