At first thought, it seems like cities are terrible places for kids tool around on two wheels, but as most of us now know, bikes, scooters and trikes are a main source of transportation and entertainment for urban tots. But where to begin? We polled a bunch of Wee moms to get the inside scoop on the best brands and models.
Strider balance bikes are universally loved. They are comfortable and very durable. But they aren’t cheap. Expect to pay $100 and up. (Since they are so well-made, this might be a good secondhand purchase. See our round-up of great places to score gently used stuff in Philly.) Many moms proclaimed their love for this brand and the concept of balance bikes in general, because it helps kids learn how to ride regular bikes sooner and they are easy to control … just give your child a few weeks to get the hang of it.
Of course, you can find cheaper versions out there. One mom loves this one from Yvolution that comes in at $60.
Schwinn makes this cool and well-priced mini-version of a real bike that also has removable training wheels and a parent push-handle. Obviously this can grow with your child (bonus!), but it might be hard to pedal for kids that are under three or four.
Radio Flyer has a variety of different trikes, most in the $60-$115 range. The more deluxe versions come with push-bars so parents can do most of the work (which really makes this just a stroller that young toddlers will find fun), a storage bin, a three-point harness, and a sunshade. It’s also very light. One mom’s son never really took to it (he loves his balance bike) and another mom’s daughters never really fit them well, but my daughter (who is a on the timid side) and Christy’s son love theirs. Sasha has been riding in it since she was two, and started to do the pedals and steering herself around three. (Note: Ours has held-up on Philly’s uneven sidewalks okay, but it’s not the most well-constructed product. I’d suggest getting the all-terrain wheels.) There are also more affordable versions with less bells and whistles.
Kettler Trikes are similar to the Radio Flyers, but more durable and hense more expensive. One mom’s son loves his balance bike so much that she wouldn’t recommend paying the high price (they are in the $100-$200 + range) if you aren’t sure your child will use it.
Mini Micro is a popular brand of scooter, and for good reason. There is an $80-ish solid and basic Mini-Kick version that people love because it’s easy to use (it tilts with the child as he/she learns to balance), is low to ground, durable, and comes in fun colors. One mom points out that it collapses, so is easy to tote around town. Toddlers as young as two-and-half and kids as old as five seem to take to it. This brand also makes a thee-in-one version that has removable seating for younger kids (like one year olds) that adjusts as the kid get older. That costs around $115. A similar adjustable version has a more solid scooter seating base.
One mom sang her praises for Nutcase helmets, which are reliable, comfortable, light, adjustable and super cute. She has them for all four of her kids.