BMW's convertible Kidsbike - two bikes in one
Riding a bike is something most of us learn as kids, with many a wobble along the way as we develop our sense of balance. The BMW Kidsbike has been designed for youngsters from around two and a half to five years of age, helping them progress from their first experience on two wheels to their first proper bike by means of a separate chain and pedal unit which can easily be mounted when the time is right.
BMX refers to a Motor Function Module Survey by Germany's Federal Ministry of Family Affairs which showed that the majority of the 4500 children over four years of age examined showed deficits in motor functions and 30 percent even found simple tasks like balancing too difficult. BMX's solution is simple: get kids riding a bike from an early age to develop balance and coordination, increase strength and endurance and engender a sense of fun.
As a training bike the Kidsbike comes equipped with a front wheel brake to avoid collisions as well as a TÜV approved bicycle helmet matching the color of the frame (red, blue or orange), a bell and reflectors at the front (there are also reflectors in the pedals which are added to the more grown-up version). There's also plenty of room to store favorite playthings in the net attached to the ergonomic handlebars and the zipped bag on the frame.
BMW is well-known for it's reliable, sturdy and ergonomically sound childrens bikes including the Junior Cruise model.
Kidsbike Facts and Figures
- Weight: 6 kg (learning bike), 8 kg (with chain and pedal unit)
- Frame height: 36 cm, saddle height 38 – 46 cm
- Maximum safe loading: 50 kg
- Colours: blue, orange, red
- Recommended Retail Price: € 259.00 (around USD$360)
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I was able to concentrate solely on balance without the distraction of having to pedal to move the bike. All it took was one coast down that hill and I was able to turn around and pedal back up.
It's the same concept as that helicopter company in Argentina. They have trainers with a helicopter attached to a wheeled base. A remote operator can enable or lock down any combination of the controls so the trainee can learn how each control operates in isolation, then combined with one more, then two more etc until he's using everything at once while safely constrained to the footprint of the pad and a few feet in height.
Once the has learned to keep a stable hover and maneuver, then it's on to free flight. The company says with their trainer they can train pilots to solo a helicopter in less than half the time of the conventional method where trainees are confronted all at once with the interactions of throttle, cyclic and collective pitch and tail rotor pedals.
So if your kids are having a hard time learning to ride a bike, find a low hill with slightly curvy street and push them down it, tell them to just coast, don't try to pedal. When they can coast by gravity power and stay upright, adding pedal power should be easy.