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What are Training Wheels?

Taking training wheels off a child's bike too soon can cause an accident.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 November 2014
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Training wheels are balancing devices that can be attached to bicycles for beginning riders. They are typically used as a transition between kid’s bikes, like tricycles, and full two-wheeled models. Learning to bicycle with training wheels is usually the first step to being able to ride an adult bicycle, while preventing serious falls in the process.

Some bikes include detachable training wheels as part of their initial practice. The wheels usually sit on either side of the main back wheel to act as a stabilizing device. They are typically attached at the center hub of the back wheel, usually by bolting them to the frame. Some models may be designed to keep the training wheels on the ground at all times, while others are just slightly off the ground, able to balance the bike if a rider tips too far to one side.

Trying to determine if a child is ready for a bike with training wheels requires close observation. If they have a young children’s tricycle and seem to be able to manage turning, steering and pedaling, they may be ready to graduate to a larger model. Be prepared to keep a close eye on learners even if they are using training wheels. While the device helps to stabilize the bike, it can’t prevent all disasters.

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If a child has a training wheel bike and would like to try biking without the assistance, again spend some time watching them before deciding to remove the wheels. Look for a fluid steering motion and good balance. Make sure they can keep the bike upright easily, without wobbling from side to side. Once the training wheels are removed, they may require additional assistance from you as their balance will have to shift slightly to compensate.

Training wheels can be a valuable tool for beginners and help ease everyone’s worries about a possible accident. If a set does not come with your bike, they can be purchased separately and manually attached. You can find them at most sporting good stores, some larger toy stores, and any bike shops nearby. Depending on the brand and style, expect to pay between $20-$40 US dollars for a set. Check with store workers beforehand to make sure they are compatible with your bike, or that you can return them if they do not fit.

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