GlideBikes is an American manufacturer that specializes in making bikes that follow the tested European method of teaching bicycle balance without training wheels.
The concept of GlideBikes and its three children’s bicycle models is simple – to change the culture of bicycle training in the US. The company believes the common practice of dads taking their kids out to learn to ride a bike using training wheels is inadequate based on common falls and injuries, which can make kids fearful of trying.
Another perceived benefit of the GlideBikes is benefits it may offer to children on the Autism Spectrum. This is one of the reasons we were interested in getting one to try with our six year old. He first used a bike with training wheels last summer and continued again to start this one. However, he struggles to find balance on his training wheels and does not seem to be in a big hurry to take the trainers off.
A balance bike, which is the general product name for what GlideBikes manufacturers, is a lower sitting cycle (starting at 12 inches seat height). According to the company’s description, “it has no pedals and it is constructed in a way that will allow children starting at two years old to learn two-wheel balance. Kids learn to balance safely without tears or training wheels and can start slowly by ‘walking’ the bike without pedals getting in the way. Within a short period of time, they are confidently gliding along, balancing upright on two wheels.”
More about the balance bike from GlideBikes
GlideBikes are extremely lightweight and feature 65° seat and head tube angles designed to give the bike the slowest balancing speed possible (1.5 mph), making them the safest balance bikes on the market. Not even the models manufactured in Europe , where balance bikes have been for decades, can claim such a low balance speed. Typical road use 70-71° seat and head tube angles and require a faster balance speed.
GlideBikes also feature strategically-placed foot pegs that allow children to feel comfortable when gliding, much like resting your feet on actual bike pedals. They are made of premium materials and are tested for on a regular basis by Inventor Ed Mondello and his own children.
There are three GlideBike models for children of all ages:
- The mini Glider (ages 2-5, up to 100 lbs.)
- The Go Glider (ages 5-10, up to 125 lbs.)
- The Super Glider (Ages 10 +, up to 250 lbs. and perfect for older special needs children)
Our Go Glider Experience
We were excited to get a chance to review the Go Glider, the balance bike model intended for 5-10 year old kids who weight up to 125 pounds. This was a perfect fit in size for our six year old. The model was blue and has a very sleek look and style and is obviously lower to the ground from first glance.
The bike came in a box with assembly instructions. Assembly was generally simple as far as connect the major components together. There were not a lot of tedious steps, parts and screws to mess with, just a few pieces to connect. The biggest issue we had was figuring out how to connect the front handlebars to the front wheel. The instructions in a very casual manner, indicated it was a simple insert and twist action. However, there was a tight rubber covering the insert piece on the handle bars. There was no specific step in the manual that addressed what to do about the rubber piece in order to get the handle bars to insert into the wheel base. After pondering what to do, we finally decided to remove it, which was correct, as there was a screw component that expanded to hold the handle bars in place in the wheel base.
The concept of the glide bike certainly is solidly grounded. It offers a low to the ground ride and the point is to help your kid feel more comfortable and in control since they can get their feet on the ground easily and quickly as needed. There is a foot pedal bar where your child rests his feet after pushing into a glide. When the glide is near an end or your child wants to stop, he simply drops his feet from the pedal bar to the ground.
A challenge for us is that our son has been a bit apprehensive about bike riding in general. He is more comortable using rides that have 3 to 4 wheels as a base. He enjoys the bike and does seem very comfortable on it. However, he is still a bit tempered in his willingness to take off in full glide. This is not a commentary on the bike itself. He appears comfortable and in control and usually more in balance than with his bigger, training wheel led bike.
The GlideBikes can be of benefit to your child with autism if he or she relies on muscle memory and repetition (as is common) for learning. Some people believe training wheels could potentially delay or make no contribution to the positive development of bike riding ability for your child. With GlideBikes, you start your child riding (without pedal of course) in a more similar way to what he eventually will be. The key is to get them to glide confidently and understand the simple process of coming to a stop.
disclosure: the review/giveaway product was provided by the business or PR agency. This does not influence our honest review.