Friday, April 26, 2013

Make a Balance Bike

Have you heard about balance bikes? I first heard about them last year. They're short, two-wheel bikes with no pedals. Kids push off on them and learn to balance on the bikes. By learning to balance first, kids learn how to ride bikes at a young age.

I really wanted to get one for Oliver. I checked them out at Timbuk Toys in Highlands Ranch. They were beautiful and perfect... and $100. Even on Craig's List, I only found them in the $50-$75 range. So, I wrote them off as just a good idea.

Until a few weeks ago, that is! One of the moms in MOMS Club, Erica, sent us a tip: make your own balance bike by removing the pedals, chain, and gears from a regular bike. It was such a simple idea. I couldn't help but think, "Duh, why didn't I think of that?"

Yesterday, I went to a church/preschool down in Littleton that was having a big consignment sale (actually, another mom in MOMS Club told us about it!). It's going on through Saturday, so if you're in the area, be sure to check it out. I went with one goal: to find a bike! I got there right at 9:30am when they opened and, after paying the $1 entrance fee, I bee-lined it for the bikes. Oliver was at work with Andrew for Take Your Child to Work Day, so it was just Jo and me. I spotted a short, green bike with no training wheels. It was priced at $5!

I bought the bike, and, as soon as Jo went down for her nap, I started scraping away at all the stickers and decals.

I wasn't strong enough to get the pedals off the bike. Actually, I wasn't even strong enough to loosen the bolt to lower the seat! Andrew got a little "honey do" list when he came home. He got to work on the bike, and I ran back to the sale to look for a bike helmet for Oliver. I had my ticket to get back into the sale for no extra charge, and I got the helmet for $2. Here's Oliver looking out the window at Andrew, who was working on severing the bike chain.

Here's our finished product! Not bad for $5, ey?

The verdict? It looks great. Oliver loves his new bike. He wants to keep trying to ride it. Unfortunately, he hasn't quite figured out the concept yet. He wants to lift up his feet and have us push him around. It's OK; he'll figure it out eventually. In the meantime, I'm just happy he's excited to do something active!

Disassembling the bike was a one-way street. After busting up the chain, we just didn't see the point in keeping the pedals. I figure, it'll work as a balance bike for Oliver this summer and next, and then it can be a balance bike for Joanna for a couple years. If I'm feel crafty, I can even spray paint it for her when the time comes.

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