Tricycles Are Older than Toilet Paper and Haven’t Evolved. Why Are We Still Using Them?
Tricycles Weren’t Meant to Teach Bike Riding
The first version of the tricycle was invented in 1680 by a German man named Stephan Farffler. This version was operated, not by pedaling the feet, but by a series of gears and hand cranks. The tricycle as we know it today (operated by pedaling) was invented by two Frenchmen – Blanchard and Maguier – in 1789. The tricycle introduced by Blanchard and Maguier has gone through relatively few changes since its inception.
By contrast, modern commercial toilet paper was introduced in 1857 by Joseph Gayetty. Watermarked with Gayetty’s name and packaged as Gayetty’s Medicated Paper, the product was sold in packages of flat sheets. Over the last 170 years, our beloved bathroom tissue has gone through significant changes. Where am I going with all this? It’s simple. We’re teaching our children to ride bikes on an invention that is older and has arguably gone through far fewer changes than toilet paper. So why do parents start their children on something so archaic when we know there’s a better way?
I imagine many of the reasons we keep investing in the idea of the tricycle is because…that’s just how it’s been. We all look back fondly on those red tricycles with the white handles and think of all the fun we had on them through rose-colored glasses. What we don’t remember is how cumbersome, hard to turn, and immobile they were. Before you break out the pitchforks, remember how hard it was to get out of the grass if you veered off the sidewalk into the front lawn? Or how about how hard it was to pedal long enough to get some momentum going? Or how about if you took a turn too sharp and tipped over? Forget about that? Thought so.
Technology keeps improving every day at an almost exponential rate. Yesterday’s computer is obsolete tomorrow. Tomorrow’s new cell phone is old news the minute it hits the shelf. As a culture, we’re so willing to adapt to new gadgets and gizmos that promise to make our lives easier, but why is it that we struggle to adopt a new way of showing our kids a better way to learn how to ride a bike?
Balance Bikes Focus on Fundamentals, Tricycles Don’t
Balance and steering are the fundamentals of operating any two-wheeled vehicle (balance bike, bike, moped, dirt bike, motorcycle). Learning to pedal a bicycle or tricycle is the easiest part. The motion is as natural as walking. So why are we using tools that teach our children what they already know? The hardest parts about riding a bike, balance and steering, aren’t taught on a tricycle.
Strider® Balance Bikes for toddlers offer a safe, effective, and proven approach for learning how to ride a bike. By learning the fundamentals first and foremost, your child can learn how to ride at a much earlier age. While tricycles might seem more stable, they actually have a higher center of gravity than a balance bike. They tip over easily and your child has much farther to fall. Balance bikes have a low center of gravity and your child always has two feet right next to the ground to help stabilize them and prevent them from falling.
Because of the way the tricycle is designed, steering is also not quite the same as on a bicycle. The pedals, which are typically located on the front wheel, make steering limited and create more work for the rider. To keep the front wheel straight, those little arms must work hard to counter the force being exerted on the pedals while your child pushes with each alternating foot. So, not only is your child working harder, they’re doing the opposite steering motions needed to learn true balance.
Strider Balance Bikes are the #1 selling balance bike for a reason. They work. Tricycles are an outdated solution to a mobility problem (don’t forget, they were invented for adults). They were never specifically designed to train someone how to ride a bicycle. In fact, bicycles were invented after tricycles in 1817 by German Baron Karl von Drais. His Laufmaschine, which is German for “running machine” didn’t have pedals either. Adults would straddle the bicycle, take long strides to get up to speed, and coast. Sound familiar?
About Strider Sports International, Inc.
Strider Sports designs efficient, no-pedal balance bikes for children ages 18 months – 5 years, and for older riders with balance and coordination challenges. Strider’s mission is to simplify a bike, so proper size and weight combine to eliminate fear of riding and instill confidence. Strider Bikes allow riders to learn balance, leaning, and steering; thus eliminating the need for tricycles or training wheels. Founded in 2007 in Rapid City, S.D., Strider has sold over 1.7 million bikes which are distributed in over 75 countries. It has donated over $850,000 through its Rider Fund. Visit www.StriderBikes.com, Facebook or Instagram.