The snow has melted, and it’s time to hit the pavement. For many toddlers and preschoolers, this means a set of wheels! Run bikes are dominating the streets for young feet eager to get rolling in the great outdoors.
Run bikes are also known as a strider bike (brand name) or a balance bike or a push bike. These bikes have no pedals, and only two wheels. Run Bikes replace tricycles, and often training wheels, as they are designed to teach kids to balance, glide, and bike with simplicity. Kids from 18 months to 5 years old enjoy the thrill of a run bike. This will be a bike they use for more than one summer.
For some amazing information and comparisons of all things balance bike, check out Two Wheeling Tots (keeping in mind, this is an American reviewer, and many products are not available in Canada).
Buying a Run Bike
It’s worth noting not all run bikes are created equal and there are a few factors to consider before purchasing your first run bike, and before visiting your local cycle shop.
First, you need a budget. Run bikes come in all price points from $75 – $200 plus. Varying price points represent a wide array of options, quality of build, and overall function. If you’re looking for a steal of a deal, check out the bike shops refurbished a section
Second, you need to know size factors. Not all run bikes fit all kids, and not all kids fit all run bikes. It’s a common error to just pick up a bike without thinking about the size of the child and the bike. There’s both the height of the seat (and adjustability of that) and the weight of the bike. Bikes that are too tall are no good, and bikes that are too heavy to be picked up, are no good either! Finding the best bike involves a little bit of research, and maybe bringing your child along for the shopping trip. If you’re looking to get younger toddlers 14-18 months, considering their inseam and the height of the bike will be a crucial step to finding something that works.
Lastly, think about the extras. What’s important to you in your run bike purchase decision? Some things to consider…
- Size of the tire and the type of terrain you’ll be adventuring.
- How the handlebar moves (Can it easily get flipped backwards?)
- Ease of Adjustability? How easy it to move the seat up and down, and make custom fits?
- Maintenance? Replacement Parts? Longevity & Quality.
- Materials? Metal, wood or plastic?
- Feet Rests?
- Removable Peddles?
- The swoop of the frame? Can you child swing his or her leg to get up and over the frame of the bike?
Woah. That was a lot of extras! I know! Well, what’s important to you? Do you want it to last? Do you want it to be easy? Are you interested in pursuing professional run bike sporting? There’s a lot of if’s, and’s and considerations. Maybe budget is you’re only issue, then find a bike at a store, in a colour, you like and just run with it
Where Can You Get A Run Bike in Northern BC?
Awesome question and many of us struggle with this because you do your research and you come up with all these amazing brands that you just can’t source in the small towns of the North, or even in Canada. You have a few options. 1) check out your local bike shop 2) check out your local box store and 3) order online.
There are no guarantee bikes will be in stock. We’ve done some research and this is what we’ve come up with. Some of the local bike shops might sell refurbished bikes for a discount. You might also check your local online market place on Facebook (including Facebook BST – buy sell trade – or swap pages) to find one-second hand for a lower price.
Local Bike Shops In the North
- Wild, Terrace –Evo and Norco and sometimes Giant. (from $160 new)
- Ernies Sports Experts, Fort St John – Nakamura, Norco and Specialized (from $70)
- Koops Bikes, Prince George – DK Bikes, Garneau, Kinderbike (from $129)
- Everything Baby, Prince George – Kinderfeet & Prince Lionheart
- Cycle Logic, Quesnel and Prince George – Evo (from $149)
- McBike & Sport, Smithers – Giant & Norco (from $160)
Big Box Stores in the North
Check your store online or with a phone call to know the selection available, but this is what could be available and carried by these major retailers.
- Sport Check (from $69)
- Canadian Tire (from $83)
- Supercycle Freewheeler
- Walmart (from $79)
- Tykes Bikes – Canadian balance bike making one of the smallest and lightest balance bikes for toddlers. Located in the Vancouver area, and available online for order. (from $99)
- Balance Bikes Canada – sells a selection of balance bikes in Canada with free shipping and comparisons (from $100)m
- Kobe Balance Bikes – Carries a wide selection of outdoor bike options for young children(from $69)
- Strider Sports – Authorized Canadian distributor of Strider Bikes (from $109)
- Amazon Canada – Kobe, Mamba Bikes, Strider, Zippy, KaZAM, Ace of Play (from $69)
- Well.ca – Prince Lionheart , Micro of Switzerland, Kinderfeets Wooden Bike, Hape Toys Balance Bike (from $129)
- Toys R Us Canada – Stone Ridge, Radio Flyer, KaZAM, Joovy Bicycoo
- Coscto – Infinity Totter (from $79)
What’s the best bike?
The best bike is the bike that works for your budget and your kid! Check out your local bike shop for some great tips on fitting the perfect bike.
Bailey recommends metal bikes over wooden bikes. While wooden bikes look cool, they seem to be clunkier, heavier, and taller. This makes the bike harder to use and not nearly the same experience as a metal bike which runs more similar to a bike. Also, wooden bikes tend to cost upwards of $120-140 without offering the nice sleek movement of the higher end metal bikes.
If not, see what options work for you. We haven’t tried them to be able to give you that advice. If you love a balance bike, leave a comment below.
Bailey: We have the DK Nano Bike from Koops in Prince George. We picked it because of the colour and it is just a great bike. My only pet peeve is the handle bar rotates around he always rides it backwards.
Kate: We have a wooden bike given to us for a birthday. This bike just fits now that he’s 2.5 because it is very tall.
Last not but not least, just because it doesn’t have peddles doesn’t mean you can forgo the helmet. Instil good habits and always ride your run bike with a helmet. This mom will also encourage long pants for when wipes out occur!
— Taking toddlers and preschoolers to the Duchess Bike Park in Prince Geroge when school is in session (because then the big kids are not around) is a great place to practice the skill and have some fun!
Tell me about the best bike paths and parks in your Northern BC town in the comments below.
And if there’s a local shop we missed let us know – send us an email at hello[at]northernbcmoms[dot]ca! It’s hard to find out what balance bikes you can buy in Canada, let alone the limited selection of run bikes available in Canada. So, if you’re a Canadian shop shipping to Northern BC, keep in touch! We’d love to share with the world. Thanks <3