Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Playskool Glide 2 Ride Bike

I was so excited when the UPS man showed up with our sample Glide 2 Ride. I had heard about these glide bikes as a better way (as opposed to training wheels) for kids to learn to balance, and I kind of regretted that Nutmeg's first bike was a regular one with training wheels.

The Glide 2 Ride comes with pedals, but the idea is that you don't put them on at first. Instead, you just let the kid sit on the seat and push themselves along with their feet, ideally gliding along for longer and longer stretches until they get the feel of balancing a bike. Then you can put the pedals on.

The bike is nice and low to the ground, since naturally the kid is expected to fall off of it. In general, the look of it is not as cute as your basic little girl's bike -- there is little ornamentation, unlike Nutmeg's other bike which is covered with glittery flowers. Also, the area where you would eventually put the pedals is quite bulky. The front handlebars are covered with a plain foam piece to protect the kid from the bolt underneath, and after just a couple days using the bike, this foam was looking battered and dirty -- I'm think it may tear through before much longer.

Nutmeg didn't complain about the appearance, though. The thing she noticed was the hand brake, which she thought was awesome because Daddy has one on his bike. Now, I was under the impression that small kids don't have the coordination to operate a hand brake, but I guess they should have some way of stopping the bike before the pedals are on. Nutmeg is not a kid who loves to try things that are hard. So although she was very excited to get started with this new bike, once it toppled over a couple times (so unlike her very stable training-wheeled bike) she began to complain. She asked Epu to pick it up for her every time it fell over. The first time she rode the bike I did not take any pictures, so a couple days later I asked her to ride it again. She was not enthused at first, but as soon as she started I could see her ability had improved from the first try. Here's a video of her gliding for a few short spurts:

On this second try, she was also able to pick up the bike herself once it fell over.

In summary, I think this bike is a great idea and should work as intended to help kids learn to ride bikes. It seems about the right size for my 4-year-old, and I think it would be appropriate for other kids that age. Mine is not all that enthused about the bike still, but she is not a terribly physical kid. She might be more excited about it once she's 5 and has -- I hope -- gained a little more strength and coordination so it's not so hard for her to maneuver the bike. However, I don't know that I would keep it as the kid's main bike once she has mastered pedaling it. It's not as cute as other bikes, and looks a bit clunky. I would be more likely to lend it out to friends and relatives who have kids of learning age, and let my own kid graduate to a cute "big-kid" bike -- SANS training wheels! I'll update about this product as she uses it more -- which unfortunately may not be until spring. I'll work on her, though -- it's such a nice day today maybe I can coax her onto it.