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Laura Loves Apollo Wooden Balance Bikes

We were recently sent two Balance Bikes from Halfords.

Balance bikes are a relatively new concept with the idea of a balance bike being in the name - it aims to promote the balance and steering required to learn to ride a bike so in theory when it comes to switching up to a bike they get the hang of it a lot quicker.

I'm not sure at what stage children go from a trike to a bike or push along to balance bike, its a bit confusing and I get the sneaky suspicion that they all merge into one at some point and you simply go on your children's ability and preference.

Packed up in a smaller and lighter box than thought, we got the two bikes home to start assembling them. Halfords do offer the Build a Bike service which is a great time saver for parents but we like a challenge! The instructions are step by step and easy to follow, we did try to rush a couple of steps (don't do it!) and had to go back and correct them however it is fairly straight forward and within an hour we had both bikes ready to go.

I've not had much experience of balance bikes so while I knew roughly what they looked like what struck me was that the bike has no pedals or no brakes! With a helmet in hand we presented the bike to Grace and while we were prepared to go into detail as to how this differs to her trike, she was already on the bike and pushing it round before we had chance.

To start with Grace sat on the saddle and with a leg each side gently pushed herself along on the bike however after a couple of hours and plenty of practice, her confidence levels had increased and she had perfected her technique so was more able to run along with the bike lifting her legs with speed then propelling herself forward more as and when the additional speed is required.

Apollo Balance Bike
The absence of brakes was of concern to me and it is unnerving so for that reason it is essential to keep up with the child if they're running ahead but as a toddler on a bike aimed for 3 to 5 year olds I think that will always have been the case. After the initial excitement, Grace started honing in her control skills and was preparing herself for the different terrains and gradients aheadÂ….which often meant ditching the bike for any steep inclines!

In addition to building confidence levels for future bike escapades, the skills in increasing the principle of balance are great for development and I really like that it is another option to get children enjoying the great outdoors while building their strength and coordination.

Balance bikes are available as a wooden or metal structure depending on your preference. The Apollo bikes are crafted from wood so it has the benefit of being lighter so easier for children to use. It is without doubt a softer material but it is solid and made from a high quality birch-wood that is water and weather proof so after a few weeks of being dropped, knocked and generally used (a lot!) the frame is still in a very good condition and it's proven to be really durable.

Attention to detail has gone into making this suitable for toddlers, as opposed to being a miniature, simplified version of an adult's bike. The tyres are spongy pneumatic air tyres that provide plenty of grip and a smooth ride and speaking to Grace she had no issues with the seat piece and the oversized handle bar grips are perfect for little hands.

My husband and I were really impressed with the balance bike. Its a nice foray for us into the middle ground between our junior push-along trike and the next step up being a first bicycle. I can't say for certain whether a balance bike will mean we will skip the traditional stabilisers but either way it has given the additional confidence and skill set to put into practise when we get to that stage.

The Apollo Wooden Balance Bikes are available in pink or blue and priced a very affordable £35 from www.halfords.com

by
Mum to 2 Under 3 and just finished maternity leave, Laura is a journalist and Mum. She enjoys reviewing products with her children, exploring new trends and more importantly, life as a mummy. 'Continuously trying to get a 'grip' of motherhood and back to a size 10!'
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