Bamboo balance bike to teach children biking skills naturally
The GreenChamp Bike is a balance bike made from environmentally sustainable bamboo
Balance or run bikes are a popular tool to help children learn balance and steering before transitioning to pedaled bikes. GreenChampBikes has developed a bamboo balance bike that is aimed at not only teaching children the skills they need to get rolling on two wheels, but also educate them on sustainability and the environment at the same time.
Balance bikes are composed of two wheels, a bike frame, handle bars and a seat. They encourage young children to balance and propel themselves by pushing off with their feet as opposed to just sitting and pushing themselves on a trike or pedaling with training wheels, which it is argued can teach children bad habits that need to be unlearned when making the jump to a regular bike.
The GreenChamp Bike is made of double-walled honey-treated bamboo sourced from China to increase durability and prevent cracking, while maintaining sustainability. The bike is then treated with a bamboo wax to weatherproof it. The company claims the use of bamboo also provides a smoother ride, with the natural material dampening vibrations. The bamboo bike weighs 7.7 lb (3.5 kg), and requires a small bit of assembly upon delivery, with the required tools shipping with the bike.
“Through the GreenChamp Bike, parents will be encouraged to educate their young children on the environment and provide their children with a greener future” says Daniel Heerkens, GreenChampBikes' Commercial Director.
The bamboo bike joins a growing list of balance bikes that have popped up in recent years, such as the BMW Kidsbike, and Grow bikes. In 2012, B'Kid was designed as a convertible balance bike/trike/child's bike combination made of natural materials, but it is still not available for purchase.
GreenChampBikes is launching a Kickstarter campaign on June 13 to help commercialize its bamboo balance bike. The company's website currently offers a contact us form to order a bike for US$165, but its Facebook page indicates that the bike will be available for a pledge of €110(US$150) via the Kickstarter campaign that will run until July 11.
Source: GreenChamp Bikes
About the Author
Meg Alexander started traveling around the world in 2014, and the road led her straight to Gizmag. As a child, she annoyed her family by asking "why?" and "how?" incessantly, and she hasn't stopped since. Coming from a long family line of journalists, it's only natural that she now formulates the answers she finds into articles. In addition to writing for Gizmag, Meg is an international event planner.
All articles by Meg Alexander
And the sustainability lesson is to not buy this bike. Sure, it uses green materials, but energy still goes into manufacturing and transporting. You'll get maybe a few months use out of the bike before the kid is ready for pedals. So then you have to buy a new bike. Wouldn't it be better to just buy the pedal bike from the beginning? If you don't want pedals, remove the pedals from the bike until the kid is ready for them.
More hokey green crap for the landfills after the children reject it. Green Fools. Money. Parted.
Gerard Van der Leun
Don't ever buy a kid's balance bike without a decent set of ball bearings in the steering head. This looks like it doesn't have that. If a child is to learn how to balance a bike, indeed if any bike is to stay upright, the steering needs to be fluid and friction free. I taught my eldest to ride on a regular child's bike with the pedals removed (true ball bearing steering head.) It worked incredibly well. Then my youngest who is quite tiny needed one. Made the mistake of getting a Radio Flyer balance bike with plastic bushings for steering. Even an adult cannot balance that bike because of the sticky steering. A child can't learn to balance a bike on a bike that can't be balanced.
Agree with Stradric- why not take the pedals off a normal bike?
I learned to ride by pushing my feet along the ground until I realised that if I picked them up, I could coast a little. From there, I realised that I might as well be pedalling. So I never had a bike with stabilisers.
Bamboo is a wonderful resource, but could be put to much more useful purposes, such as a construction material- good quality bamboo flooring for instance can be durable and very attractive.
just get the first bike they will ride and take the pedals off
''greener'' than buying an unnecessary thing
I have to agree with the above - balance bikes are the way to go, but, get the kid a bike and take the pedals off. No training wheels ever! No anxiety of changing over to a pedal bike.
These are really interesting balance bikes. We think that using a balance bike is a great learning tool for kids, and there are many made of sustainable materials, such as this one, the Wishbone Recycled bike or the Kinderfeets balance bike, which we carry.
Taking the pedals off of a regular bike is an option, but it can backfire. To properly use a balance bike, a child's feet should rest comfortably on the ground with knees bent, so that the child can walk, then run and then glide on the bike safely and easily. This gives the child confidence and they naturally learn to balance and steer. If a pedal bike's seat height is too high, then the child will not be able to do, or worse, could fall off or become nervous of being on a bike. So, although we prefer that parents find a balance bike with a proper inseam seat height, if a parent decides to take wheels off, please make sure that the bike is not too high. For example, a 16 inch wheel regular pedal bike will likely be way too tall for a little 2 or 3 year old to use as a balance bike.
Here's to keeping kids safe, happy and confident on a bike!
Over 160,000 people receive our email newsletter
See the stories that matter in your inbox every morning