In collaboration with ZippiZap Bikes
I have a confession to make.
None of my kids can ride a bike by themselves, without training wheels.
They are 12, 10 & 6. And I’m quite ashamed that we never have been able to master this life skill with them.
By the time I was 6 I could ride a bike without training wheels – it was all that I ever did during the first 16 years of my life. I remember spending hours and hours after school and on the weekends, pedalling around my neighbourhood, always on the move and always having fun.
There was something so freeing about being in control of your bike and feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin and the wind in your hair as you endlessly explored. As a kid in the “olden days” (before the internet, mobile phones and the myriad of devices of today) riding your bike was the main way to connect with friends, stay occupied and learn about the world around you.
However, the world has changed since then and, for many reasons, my kids have never had the same opportunity to ride and explore the world around them. And I fear they have missed out on so much as a result of not having the same opportunity to explore as I did.
For us, the biggest reason for not pushing with learning to ride a bike was due to Gilbert and Matilda’s autism diagnoses. The resultant gross motor delays made the process of learning to pedal, steer, balance and look around them (simultaneously) all the more difficult.
While Matilda did eventually learn to ride with training wheels, Gilbert never did have the leg strength to push through the pedals, let alone have the patience to learn to balance or the vision to really see where he was heading anyway. And now they are older, they are too big to have training wheels so I’m truly not sure whether they will ever be able to master bike riding at all.
Delilah, on the other hand, does not share their diagnosis. And she is still small enough to learn with a training bike. But we don’t have a great track record when it comes to bike riding – I really needed some help.
Luckily, I was approached by ZippiZap, a new Australian company, to try out their new range of premium balance bikes. And I have to say they contacted me at just the right time.
Unlike traditional bikes with pedals and training wheels, ZippiZap bikes are made for one thing – to help kids learn to balance. Instead of having to concentrate on pedalling and braking and riding all at once, balance bikes allow kids to learn to balance right from the start, before the introduction of other distractions.
This is why balance bikes are perfect for kids with gross motor delays as they simplify the whole process. Instead of having to battle with pedals and braking and steering, they only need to concentrate on looking ahead and finding their balance. That’s it.
I suspect we would have had an easier time of it had my older kids had the opportunity to learn to ride this way. Which is another reason I was keen to see a balance bike in action.
ZippiZap bikes have been designed for kids between 2 and 6, to give them the necessary skills to successfully transfer to a “big kids” bike without training wheels. The bikes are lightweight and durable, as well as easy to manoeuvre. While the bike itself is small, the adjustable seat and handle bars ensure that the bike can grow with your child – there is even an extra long seat post provided with each unit to make sure of it.
As you can see 6 year old Delilah certainly found her groove!
The bike is delivered to you in a box and does require assembly. I must confess I am not a handy person and while I could put the major components together, I did need help with the quick release clamps – I couldn’t get them tight enough to secure the seat or handlebars. But Nathan was able to save the day and we managed to get the bike together, although we did struggle to tighten one clamp in particular.
The unit comes with standard EVA polymer tyres, which are puncture proof and designed for all terrain. However, for additional cost, you can order a set of pneumatic wheels that are perfect for older kids. We used a set of the pneumatic wheels for the review and they do provide a bit more support for an older child like Delilah.
There are so many different colours to choose from when it comes to selecting your ZippiZap – I chose the Beautiful Butterfly for Delilah as she loves pink. But there are many other combinations to choose from to suit pretty much every taste.
I just wanted to point out the cute (and very practical) Safe Riding Chart that ZippiZap have put together. If your child completes the checklist they can receive an official ZippiZap license – too cute!
The other thing I wanted to share is the genuine passion that ZippiZap has to see ALL kids learn to ride a bike. After learning of the difficulties that my own kids experienced when they were younger, ZippiZap offered to donate 4 bikes to an organisation of my choice to ensure more kids, regardless of ability, have the opportunity to learn this important life skill.
Which is why I visited ASPECT earlier this month to see their brand new ZippiZap bikes in action. I want to thank Liam and the team at ZippiZap again for their very generous donation and for bringing joy to so many.
I think I’ll leave the final word to Delilah herself, who insisted on me filming her on multiple occasions riding her ZippiZap bike. She clearly is a #bloggerchild!
If you’d like to discover more about ZippiZap, and the benefit of balance bikes, check them out in the following places:
Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this post, however I did receive a ZippiZap balance bike (RRP $149.95) plus a set of pneumatic wheels (RRP $69.95) for the purposes of this review. As always, all views shared are honest & true – even my shameful admission that my older kids still can’t ride a bike!