Balance bikes

Seven or eight years ago, when I lived in London, I became first aware of balance bikes. I spotted one in Marylebone on New Cavendish Street. A little boy was riding it and he was so fast and so confident, I could not believe my eyes. What fascinated me the most, was that he was not older than two and he could balance and steer a bike without training wheels. I had to stop and watch. What I saw there was not only such a simple concept, but also such an effective one. This bike had no pedals, instead this kid used his feet to run. This put the bike into motion and off he went.

Soon these bikes also appeared in our network. Friends who had kids bought them and the same phenomenon happened. But most importantly, what I saw again, the kids had so much fun. They embraced their independence, they felt free and they loved it so much, it was impossible to leave somewhere without the balance bike.

A year ago we got my son a balance bike for his second birthday. I have never regretted the purchase and cannot recommend it enough. It took no longer than a week for him to figure out the concept by himself. Once he felt safe, he became more courageous and daring and this helped him improve even more. This was also motivating for him to keep on going. Wherever we went, shopping, playground, park, bushwalking, etc., the bike had to be with us.

On his third birthday we got him a 16 inch push bike. It took about an hour for him to figure out the pedalling and then he rode it. No training wheels and no broken backs.

I cannot recommend a balance bike enough based on this experience and having seen kids in our network doing the same, it just proves they are effective learning tools. Honestly, when we were kids, I didn’t know a three year old who could ride a normal push bike without training wheels. I was six when my Dad moved the training wheels higher so I would not fall in case the bike tipped. And most of my friends were the same age. And it took ages until they were off. Now I know plenty of kids who started on a balance bike and then moved onto a normal bike with ease at the age of three. Those who skipped the balance bike are still on trainers. I think that just shows that it’s worth getting one.

balance bikes in skate parks

Despite of my son having moved on to a push-bike, the balance bike is not dusting in a corner. My husband loves skateboarding and they go to skate parks together where he works on his BMX and mountain biking skills 😉 Recently, I took him to bushlands where he explored the off-road tracks. He had so much fun, it was impossible to get him and the bike into the car. Based on that, I can positively say, the balance bike has not retired yet. He might have to share it soon, though as our 17 month-old daughter is ready to hit challenging terrain as well.

©scoolbikes.com.au, 2014

Blaxland Riverside Park – The Amory

Blaxland Riverside Park, also known as the Armory, must be one of the most impressive playgrounds around Sydney. It’s definitely the biggest. Spread over 3 hectares of space there are plenty of attractions to keep your kiddies and yourself busy.

Blaxland Riverside Park is an all abilities park for all ages. Even NJ (1) could enjoy a bit of the facilities, like the sand pit, watching the water fountains and using the swings.  KJ on the other hand is now at an age, where most challenges are interesting and they have to be tried out.

If you can, try and go there on a weekday during school times. We once went on a weekend and a school holiday day and it was mayhem. As the playground is situated in the Olympic Park, visitors go there from the western, central and eastern parts of Sydney.

If you do not have the choice to go on a quiet day, then try and get there really early and leave when the influx of people arrive. It’s also easier to find parking. Free parking is very limited and fills up quickly. In case you get there and you cannot park, go to area P5 for an hourly rate of $4.

Here are some impressions and hopefully you find this place just as spectacular as I do. My kids and their friends certainly enjoy it and are always happy to go back.

Blaxland Riverside Park - Slides and picknick area

Blaxland Riverside - Children climbing

Blaxland Riverside Park - Wormwhole net

Blaxland Riverside Park - Giant Swings

Blaxland Riverside Park - Giant Swings

Blaxland Riverside Park - Viking Swing

Blaxland Riverside Park - Water play area

Blaxland Riverside Park - Water play area

Blaxland Riverside Park - Water Play Area Birds Eye View

Blaxland Riverside Park - Sand pit area and water play area

Blaxland Riverside Park - Climbing tower behind the water play area

Blaxland Riverside Park - Climbing Tower

Blaxland Riverside Park - Inside the Climbing Tower

Blaxland Riverside Park - Kiosk next to the water play area

Blaxland Riverside Park - Cycling and foot path

Opening times:
365 days a year from sunrise to sunset

Entrance Fees:
Free

How to get there:
Catch the ferry from Circular Quay to Sydney Olympic Park

Parking:
There is free parking right next to the playground, but spaces are limited. On busy days, ensure you get there early. Alternatively, you can park at P5 and walk via the marked route to the park. Fees for parking are $4 per hour or $20 per day. On event days a flat rate of $25 may apply.

Further information:
See information page on the Sydney Olympic Park webpage

©www.scoolbikes.com.au, 2014

Babyology Christmas Gift Guide

The Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014 has been released. We are proud to be featured this year with our pedeX 02 and pedeX pirate balance bikes. Have a look here or below.

Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014 – toys to ride

wishbone Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Christmas is just the time for big ticket gifts, and throughout history (or at least, since I was a kid) the biggest of big ticket gifts is a new bike. For the benefit of those little people among us who aren’t quite ready for a bike yet, we’ve found all sorts of other things to ride as well, suitable even for babies who’ve just learnt to sit. So come and have a look at Babyology’s pick of the very best toys to ride.

The Wishbone bike (at top) is the brainchild of Wishbone Design Studios in the US, and is a 3-in-1 learn to ride bike suitable for kids from age one to five. Start it off as a tricycle, and then convert to a two wheeled balance bike (in two different heights) as your child grows. It comes in plenty of different styles and colours and just look at those tyres! They’ll take anything your toddler can ride them over. Check out all the versions and buy direct from Wishbone. Prices for the 3-in-1 bike start as US$229.

pedex1 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Here’s a balance bike for kids who aren’t babies anymore. It’s the Pedex Pirate balance bike and it’s sure to make some little children feel all grown up this Christmas. With all-terrain wheels, a matt black finish and a lightweight frame, it’s just the thing to get kids as young as 18 months up and riding. We especially love the attention to detail – it has tiny little skull and crossbone valve caps on the tyres! You’ll find it at S’cool Bikes for $259.

potterybarn Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

And now something for the much younger set! These gorgeous plush rockers from Pottery Barn Kids are sure to have you oohing and ahhing on Christmas morning. With a sweet bunny, lamb, bear or elephant to choose from, this huggable rocker is low to the ground and easy to ride so littlies are sure to be thrilled with these. Suitable for children from 18 months to three years, they’re $188 from Pottery Barn Kids.

moover Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Yes, it looks just like a toy truck, but actually it’s much more. It’s the Moover Toys Baby Truck from Danish by Design, and not only can you use it to take teddies and toys for a ride, but it’s a ride on toy for your toddler too! What’s more, Moover’s unique click system means your child can have fun taking the truck apart and reassembling it as well. It’s $119.95 at Danish by Design.

byk11 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

If you’re after a lightweight yet serious first bicycle, it’s hard to go past this one from ByK . It’s the E-350 and it has everything you need to get kids up and riding on two wheels (and enjoying it!). It has easy braking, and because it’s lightweight, it’s not hard to get pedalling the way it can be on lots of kids’ bikes, so kids won’t be tired out before they’ve made progress. It comes in a great range of fun colours, and includes training wheels as a standard extra. It’s $299 and you can find a stockist near you at ByK.

rufus Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

They might not be up to riding a bike yet, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t get moving and jumping, especially on something as fun as Rufus the Reindeer from Bop Along Buddies. With antlers to hang onto for a secure ride, he’s the perfect Christmas-themed jumping toy! If you prefer something less seasonal, there are plenty of other animals in the Bop Along Buddies range, which are a great reimagining of the old school Space Hopper. They’re pretty strong and will take kids up to 70kg for a ride. Rufus and most of his friends are $39.95, along with some extra large versions for $59.95. You can buy them online at Bop Along Buddies.

wheelybug4 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

The gorgeous Wheely Bug has long been a Babyology favourite and with so many cute characters to choose from, it’s sure to become a favourite for your child too. Choose from not just the classic Wheely Bug ladybug or bee, but now also from a cow, pig, mouse or tiger. The hard-wearing Wheely Bug goes in any direction, and with its strong handle it’s suitable for toddlers from one year old and, if you opt for the large version, your kid will still be tearing around the house on it when they’re six. You can pick your favourite up at Classic Baby, where Wheely Bugs are priced from $79.95.

hellokittytrunki Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Do you like your toys to do double duty? If you do, you’ll be thrilled by the new Hello Kitty version of Trunki, the ride on toy which doubles as a suitcase for kids. It’s the first ever pink and glittery Trunki, and it’s sure to excite some little girls out there this Christmas, while also fulfilling a travel need. What more could you ask for? Pick it up at The Stork Nest for $84.95.

pedex2 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

If you’re looking for a great value first balance bike, we’ve found it in the PedeX 02 from S’Cool Bikes. With bright and colourful good looks, it has a great suspension system which means it’s fabulous for kids who like to ride rough terrain (whether you want them to or not)! The large and comfortable saddle is great for getting kids used to riding, and even includes a handle for those times when you need to give tired riders a helping hand. It’s $229.

fisherprice1 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Here’s a ride on toy with all the bells and whistles, literally! It’s the 3-in-1 Bounce, Stride and Ride Elephant from Fisher Price. With lights, music and sound effects, this one is sure to keep your little one’s attention. Your younger toddler can bounce up and down on the elephant, as well as later using it as a walker and a ride on. It has a secure handle for grip and only needs two batteries. You can pick it up from Toys R Us for $129.99.

nattou1 Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

This one is definitely a rocking horse with a difference – which is that you won’t have to stand next to it holding your little rider on for hours and hours. This gorgeous horse is one of the range of Nattou animal rockers, which all have a solid timber framed seat and safety strap to keep kids safely onboard. So if your child can sit upright, they can ride safely as well. Plus, aren’t they soft and cuddly? You’ll find Nattou rockers at Baby Bunting for $149, or check outNattou stockists to find a store closer to you.

newmakers Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

The Zebra Rocker from Newmakers might just rock your child (and you!) into a sleepy trance – it’s certainly a stand out in the ride on toys market. At £99, this ultra modern graphic rocker is a British design award winner which comes to you flat packed. It’s pretty out there, but it’s really striking and we love it. This one is suitable for children from 12 months.

kick3 seat Babyology Christmas Gift Guide 2014   toys to ride

Last, but definitely not least – where would we be in a ride on toy list without a scooter? We can’t go past the Mini Micro – at $129.95  it’s a great first scooter for little ones because of its lean and steer action which means even preschoolers will be scooting with ease in no time. What’s more, you can buy the great Kick3 Mini Micro seat for $49.95, which simply slots into the scooter base and makes the scooter a smooth ride for kids from one year old! Pick them both up from Micro Scooters.

 

 

Babyology article about S’COOLbikes

We are excited about the first write-up about our balance bikes. Babyology posted a great article. Have a look here or below!

Balancing fun and engineering with PedeX balance bikes by S’coolbikes

scoolbikes Balancing fun and engineering with PedeX balance bikes by Scoolbikes

Leaning to ride a bike is one of childhood’s great milestones, and we have found a very cool new bike to do it on.

As I watch my almost six-year-old tootle around awkwardly on cumbersome training wheels, I can’t help but think she would have benefited immensely from starting out on a balance bike. While balance bikes have been on the Australian market for a few years now, many of them are a bit on the heavy side, with wooden construction that means they need to be stored inside.S’coolbikes have addressed these issues with their balance bike range.

pedex pirate high res Balancing fun and engineering with PedeX balance bikes by Scoolbikes

S’coolbikes currently have three balance bikes available in Australia.  Perhaps the coolest of the three is the PedeX pirate. A matt black twelve inch bike emblazoned with a silver skull and crossbones at the front, a skull and crossbones seat and a skull and crossbones valve cap. Not only does the  pirate look like the kind of mean riding machine your kids will love, it also has the engineering behind it to ensure that it is a smooth and comfortable ride, even for kids as young as 18 months.

pedex 02 highres Balancing fun and engineering with PedeX balance bikes by Scoolbikes

Designed in Germany, S’coolbikes also have models suitable to those kids less enamoured with the pirate theme. The PedeX 2 come in a very funky, unisex bright orange colour, and is especially designed for kids who like to take their bikes ‘off road’, ideal if your local park doesn’t have footpaths. The PedeX 2 also has a handle on the saddle to help with pushing your little learner along.

The PedeX pirate retails for $259 and the PedeX 2 for $229 from  S’coolbikes. Delivery Australia wide is a very reasonable $14 for the first bike and $4 for additional bikes.