If you’re a keen cyclist, you probably don’t need me to convince you that cycling is good for your health. Cycling can help strengthen muscles and bones and improve cardiovascular fitness. But did you know that there are many benefits of cycling during pregnancy? Cycling is one of the best ways to stay fit in pregnancy and will help keep blood pressure at normal levels during this time.
What are the benefits of cycling in pregnancy?
- Increased blood flow to the baby, which improves oxygen supply.
- Improved cardiovascular fitness, which helps maintain your energy levels and stamina during pregnancy.
- Improved muscle tone, so you can be strong when that little bundle of joy arrives!
- Bonding between mother and baby through regular exercise together (it’s like a workout date).
- Reduced stress levels because it helps relieve tension in your body while increasing circulation to the brain, helping you think clearly even when things seem overwhelming at times during pregnancy.
The best type of bike for pregnancy
- Mountain bike
- Hybrid bike
- Road bike
- Touring bike
- Commuter bike
- Dirt bike
Cycling during the first trimester
You may want to wait until you are further along in your pregnancy, but if you’re still riding at this stage, there’s no reason not to. Cycling during the first trimester won’t increase your risk of miscarriage or injury to your baby.
You can also continue cycling without a low seat if it will allow you to keep up your mileage. However, many women find that their pelvises become more curved and their hips wider during pregnancy. If this is true for you, then a cycle with a lower saddle will be necessary as it allows for more room between the saddle and handlebars so that there is less strain on joints and muscles when pedaling.
Similarly, there’s no reason why cycling has to stop completely when pregnant; just make sure there’s plenty of space around the bike so that you have enough room if something does happen!
Cycling during the second trimester
You can start cycling again as soon as you feel up to it, but make sure to take it easy. It’s important not to overdo it and put yourself at risk of getting injured or overheating while exercising during pregnancy. If you’re worried about how much exercise is too much, check your body’s response by doing 30 minutes of light activity every day (it should feel a little bit difficult) and then build up slowly from there until you reach the point where you feel comfortable with the amount of time spent exercising each week.
Cycling is generally safe in pregnancy unless there are complications with your health or pregnancy—if this is the case, talk with your doctor first before adding any new activities into your routine. Make sure not to cycle more than 30 minutes at one time since this could become uncomfortable for both mom and baby!
Cycling during the third trimester
You can still cycle during the third trimester, but you should avoid riding too far. It’s also best to not cycle if you have a history of miscarriage or premature labour.
If cycling alone feels like too much, try cycling with a partner or friend! You may want to stop before feeling tired so that they can give you a ride home.
cycling is good for you and baby
Cycling is a great way to stay fit and healthy during your pregnancy. It’s also generally safe – as long as you don’t overdo it and collapse from exhaustion (which could be dangerous for both you and baby).
If you’re used to exercising regularly before pregnancy, there’s no reason why cycling should change once you’re expecting. You may find that some of your favourite activities become more challenging as your bump grows, but there are plenty of other ways for expectant mothers to keep active.
Here are some examples of safe exercises during pregnancy:
- Walking or jogging on flat ground – these help strengthen the pelvic muscles and maintain cardiovascular fitness
- Swimming – this can have many benefits including improved circulation and reduced anxiety levels
Before we jump into the details of our favorite toddler bikes, let’s first clarify what the three different options are, and the pros and cons of each.
1. Ride-On Toys: Best for 1-year-olds
The ride-on toys we recommend do two things: (1) teach a toddler to push with their feet (AKA, no pedals!), and (2) teach them to maintain their balance while sitting and moving. Basically, bikes that keep things simple and help prepare them for the next step – a balance bike! That’s why we often call them “pre-balance” bikes!
We also consider important features like stability, steering ability, and seat height range. Like any bike, size is key, but not every manufacturer provides seat height measurements! We purchased the bikes and did that for you, so no sad surprises when a delighted toddler opens a brand new bike and it doesn’t fit.
Many babies start using ride-on toys as toddler bikes before they are 1-year-old, but will most likely need a lot of assistance from parents until they develop the skills to move that bike on their own.
These ride-on toys are designed primarily for indoor use. While they certainly can be used outside, they are more likely to tip on a non-smooth surface and the wheels will wear out more quickly. Be sure to put on a helmet when riding outside!
2. Balance Bikes: Best for 18-months and 2-Years-Old
If your toddler is anywhere from 18 months to just turning 2-years-old, they may be ready for a balance bike! Balance bikes teach toddlers the art of balancing from an incredibly young age, and will prevent the drama of training wheels later on.
Once mastered, they provide the most natural and fun riding experience of any of toddler bike. Just remember to set realistic expectations when you hand your child a balance bike, especially if they are younger than 2-years-old. Because kids on balance bikes ride independently, it does take longer to “master” a balance bike.
While our experience has shown that the best time to start on a balance bike is between 18 months and 2 years old, older toddlers also love balance bikes and benefit hugely from learning to ride a bike in this manner.
3. Tricycles and Training Wheels
While tricycles and training wheels are both still more common than balance bikes, we DO NOT RECOMMEND this option. Parents are familiar with them because that’s what we used when we were young.
We encourage you to steer clear of tricycles or training wheels and explore the brave (and better!) new world of balance bikes instead. For more reasons we prefer balance bikes over tricycles and training wheels, check out our infographic all about it!
OUR FAVORITE TODDLER RIDE-ON TOYS
Toddler ride-on toys are amazing for littles ones ages 9 to 18 months who don’t yet have the motor skills to take on a balance bike. We love ride-on toys are they teach kids to sit and push with their feet, just like a balance bike.
Best Balance Bike for Babies
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in size 12 months to 2T clothing
WEIGHT: 3 lbs.
FEATURES: Adjustable-height handlebars and seat, steering
With a low seat height combined with low handlebars, the Mini Trike is the smallest bike of the bunch and is best suited for the youngest and smallest early walkers. But it’s also the only baby bike on our list that has height-adjustable handlebars (about 4″) and saddle (about 3″), which makes it a better fit as your toddler grows.
As an added bonus, the Sprout is also available in a “flip frame” version. The GOMO Sprout Flip extends the life of the bike by flipping the frame over, which allows the seat height and handlebars to be raised even higher. If your toddler is already about 36 months, we recommend buying the Flip version so they have plenty of time and room to grow.
The GOMO Sprout features narrowish-set rear wheels that offer great stability, but also don’t interfere with a toddler’s stride. And with a lightweight, extremely low step-through frame, the Sprout is exceptionally easy for your little one to move around and get on and off.
- Handlebars and seat are height adjustable for a better fit as your child grows
- Low center-of-gravity design for better stability
- Low step through frame makes it easy to get on and off
- Soft, cushioned seat
- Simple assembly takes just a few minutes
- Because it’s so lightweight, it doesn’t stay grounded for older, heavier pre-schoolers who want to go fast
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in 12 months to 3T clothing
WEIGHT: 3.87 lbs.
FEATURES: 4 caster wheels, no steering (but multi-directional movement)
FULL REVIEW: YBIKE Pewi
After months of watching our toddler and her friends ride various ride-on toys, the Pewi has emerged as our surprise favorite. It’s sooooo easy for a toddler to maneuver and the pure joy on their faces as they scoot around the house is easy proof that young ones love it!
The most unique among the bunch, the Pewi features small, caster-style wheels that allow a little rider to easily move in any direction. No super wide turns from twisting handlebars, or picking the bike up to turn it around, the caster wheels move in any direction like an office chair!
The benefit of the wheels is that kids don’t get stuck in a tight spot with limited ability to find a way out, and they’re super smooth for a fast and seamless ride. Be aware though, that the wheels are really fast. Although the Pewi can be used outside, we wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re in a large, open area (like a school ground black top) where there is no chance that your toddler could get into the street.
The Pewi is also designed to be a “walking buddy” push-toy for kids as young as 9 months. While in theory this is a really cool idea, the caster wheels cause the bike to move so quickly in front of the walking child that they can’t keep up unless they’re already a very confident walker or using it on thick carpet. We do absolutely recommend it as a push-toy though. Our barely 1-year-old confident walkers and even older toddlers loved pushing it around the house and seeing it move so fast.
Another surprise benefit is that its unique shape makes it easy for older riders (we’re talking 8 and 10-year-olds!) to ride it. This was one baby toy the entire family has seemed to enjoy!
- Smooth caster-style wheels make maneuvering a breeze
- Super stable
- Adorable design looks like a tiny person
- Confident riders love how fast they can go
- Available in four colors
- Speed of bike could be dangerous outdoors if not used with caution
- Caster wheels move too fast for the “Walking Buddy” function with less-confident walkers
- Somewhat detailed assembly required
Best for an Easy, Stable Ride
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in 12 months to 2T clothing
WEIGHT: 5.7 lbs.
FEATURES: 4 plastic/foam wheels, steering
FULL REVIEW: Hape Scoot Around
The Hape Scoot Around is one of those “just right” bikes for little babes still gaining confidence. It’s cute, functional, super stable, and moves easily for little legs, but not too fast to make them (and you!) nervous. Its steering function is smooth and easy, but also limited in range to prevent tight-turn tip-overs.
With two wheels in front and two wide-set wheels in back, it’s one of the most stable bikes we tested. With higher handlebars than the XJD Mini Trike, although it has the same seat height, it feels like a much bigger bike and will allow your little one to ride it longer as they grow.
- Two wheels in front and two wide-set wheels in back for maximum stability
- Smooth and easy steering
- Higher handlebars for a comfortable, upright body position and more room for growth
- Wheels roll with minimal effort and at just the right speed for little ones
- Detailed assembly required
- Only available in one color
Best Multi-use: Rocker/Walker/Ride-On
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in 12 months to 4T clothing
WEIGHT: 3.5 lbs.
FEATURES: 4 multi-directional caster wheels, no steering, 4 modes of play – rocker, walker, ride-on toy & ability to connect multiple Trackies together, 2 seat heights
The Chillafish Trackie may be the most versatile ride-on toy out there. The Trackie has 4 different ways to play, and 3 of the 4 are specific to developmental milestones. This truly is an all-in-one toy that will grow with your baby, toddler, and even preschooler.
The Trackie goes from sitting and rocking, to standing and walking, then to pushing and riding. The 4th mode of play is the ability to connect more than one Trackie together in a train. As your child starts to grow, they can use their Trackie in the way that suits them.
Our baby tester started using the rocker function of the Trackie at just 11 months, and he could have used it even sooner. As long as your baby is a stable sitter and with supervision, they should be good to go.
Our same 11 month old baby tester has also started using the stand and walk mode of the Trackie which has been the perfect height for this little guy (handles are roughly 15.5 inches from the ground). We do warn parents that these multi-directional wheels are very quick on hardwood and tile flooring. Our baby tester can more safely maneuver his Trackie in the walking mode on carpet or sidewalks.
Because the Trackie is one of the taller/larger ride-on toys out there, your child will need to be slightly older and taller to use the Trackie in ride-on mode. The benefit of this is that your child will fit the ride-on mode at a more developmentally appropriate time that most other ride-on toys (unless your child is very petite).
This is also a great toy for toddlers and preschoolers not taking to the balance bike just yet. With a height-adjustable seat, the larger Trackie will comfortably fit a child for much longer than any other ride-on toy we’ve tested.
- Extremely versatile with 4 modes of play – rocker, walker, ride-on and connect multiple to become a train
- Multi-directional caster style wheels allows the toy to be maneuvered effortlessly
- 2 seat height positions – “grow-with-me” design provides an appropriate seat height based on a child’s developmental stage
- Anti-tip system for more safety
- Toy can be utilized by a wide range of ages 1 – 4 years old
- Toy comes assembled and no tools required for changing modes of play or adjusting seat height
- Caster wheels move too quickly on hardwood, vinyl or tile flooring for less confident walkers
BEST FIT: Small – 12 months – 3T clothing (11 inch inseam); Large – 3T clothing+ (13 inch inseam). Prince Lionheart recommends a size small for toddlers up to 3T. However, a child between 2T and 3T may want to use the large vs. a small.
WEIGHT: 4.4 lbs (small)
FEATURES: Cushioned body and seat, 4 multi-directional caster wheels, no steering
FULL REVIEW: Coming soon!
With seven different Wheely Bug animals to choose from, this ride-on toy definitely wins for cute factor. But it’s also one of the easiest ride-on toys to use, even from a very young age. Due to its low seat (seat height about 8.6 inches from the ground), it allowed for an average height 8 month old baby to sit comfortably and touch the ground with shoes on.
At 9 months the same baby reviewer started to make tiny movements forward with his feet and legs while being spotted and assisted by a parent (as he can’t walk yet). He also loves just sitting on his Wheely Bug, which is great balance practice!
The multi-directional caster wheels make the toy almost effortless to maneuver (very few toddler bikes use caster wheels). The wheels not only go forward, backward, and side to side, but can spin 360°. These multi-directional wheels allow easy navigation for tiny tots or babies. Even our 9-month-old baby tester was able to enjoy the Wheely Bug as he crawls and pushes or drags his lady bug with him.
While the Wheely Bug can be used outside, the wheels don’t maneuver quite as well over bumps or cracks like on a sidewalk. Pavement, dirt and sand can also cause damage to the wheels. However, you can order replacement wheels.
- Multi-directional caster wheels – wheels can spin 360°
- Low seat allows younger babies to use while assisted by parents
- Low center of gravity – very stable
- Comes in 2 sizes small and large / 7 different animal styles
- Easily wipes clean
- Cushioned body and seat
- Comes 100% assembled
- Best use is indoors
- Low seat makes babies/toddlers feet drag if pushing them on the toy (one more reason to teach them to move independently!)
Height Adjustable Seat
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in 12 – 2T clothing
FEATURES: 4 rubber wheels, steering, height-adjustable seat
FULL REVIEW: Chillafish Bunzi
The Chillafish QUADIE, available in several fun colors, has four wheels set wide enough to be quite stable. Weighing in at just 5.6 lbs, it’s lightweight and easy for little ones to propel forward and maneuver.
While the littlest ones may struggle a bit with steering, older toddlers will appreciate that smooth steering, which is also a helpful skill to learn before transitioning to a balance bike.
We especially appreciate the QUADIE’s height adjustable seat, which is rare for a ride along toy! There are three settings, with a min of 8.25” and a max of 9.9”. As a reference point, the Hape’s seat height is 8.75”.
We previously had the Chillafish Bunzi on this list, but after getting our hands on the QUADIE, we think it’s a better design for most kids. The Bunzi has just a single wheel in front and two close-set wheels in back, and was the least stable of the bikes we tested.
And while the Bunzi converts to a balance bike, the seat height for balance bike mode is very low – too low for most toddlers to comfortably ride by the time they are ready to attempt a balance bike.
The one downside to the Quadie over the Bunzie is that the Quadie’s wider-set rear wheels do interfere with a child’s stride. However, those wide-set wheels make it more stable, which we’ve seen to really increase a toddler’s confidence.
- Grows with your toddler – ~ 1.5″ seat height adjustment
- Very stable
- Lightweight, high-quality ABS plastic frame
- Silent anti-skid TPE tires suitable for indoors or outdoors
- Seat lifts up for under-seat storage
- Easy assembly
- Available in four colors
- Kids can hit their legs on wider-set rear wheels
Best for Timid Kids
BEST FIT: Babies and toddlers in 12 month to 3T clothing (While it has the lowest seat height of the bikes on our list, it has a wide seat which requires kids to splay their legs quite a bit).
WEIGHT: 4.6 lbs.
FEATURES: 4 small wheels, NO steering
Radio Flyer excels at making adorable kid vehicles, and the Radio Flyer Retro Rocket is no exception. With a rocket nose that turns and clicks, to light-up launching buttons that also talk, the Retro Rocket will entertain your little one beyond a traditional ride. The Rocket also features a lift up seat with quite a large cargo area to carry dolls, blocks, sippy cups, and secret treasures. ????
While the quality on the Retro Rocket isn’t quite what we’d expect from Radio Flyer (pretty basic plastic and rub-on side stickers), it’s still a solid little ride-on toy and the most budget-friendly toddler bike on our list.
- Super stable with four wide set wheels
- For timid riders, its lack of steering/turning keeps things simple
- Fun, light-up buttons with noises
- Comes 100% assembled
- Most budget-friendly
- Stickers on side aren’t the best quality and have bubbles in them
- Only moves forward and backwards, no ability to turn (can be a benefit for timid kids, but limits overall maneuverability)
Best Ride-On Toy: 18 mo+
FITS KIDS: Toddlers ages 12-months to 3-years (but best for 18-months+)
FEATURES: 3 easy-rolling wheels for gliding, 2 seat heights, converts to a scooter
FULL REVIEW: Micro Mini 3-in-1 Deluxe
With the Mini 3-in-1 Deluxe, our favorite scooter company converted their best selling scooter (the Micro Mini), into a smaller ride-on toy for toddlers. Essentially a scooter with a seat attached (that can later be removed), the Mini 3-in-1 rolls smooth and easy like a scooter, and offered the most “fun factor” for our toddler testers.
While the lean-to-turn maneuvering of the scooter is too complicated for toddlers in ride-on-toy mode, toddlers 18-months+ will quickly learn to pick up the Mini to turn, and then glide all over the house screaming “whee!!!!”. (Trust us, it’s adorable!) We love that the wheels allow kids to glide quickly, but are slower than the sometimes nerve-wracking Pewi.
The Mini’s narrow body allows kids to push off the ground and then lift their feet to glide. This feature is a great building block for toddlers who will then transition to a balance bike, where gliding is also the end goal.
- 3 easy-rolling wheels roll fast and smooth
- 2 seat heights to better accommodate toddlers as they grow
- Narrow body prevents toddlers from hitting their legs on the wheels as they stride
- Easily glides for more fun play as toddlers get older and more adventurous
- Higher, round handlebar is easy for little ones to grab
- Converts to a scooter
- Steeper learning curve (but more fun when toddlers finally “get it”)
- Difficult to maneuver for very young toddlers
- If used as a scooter, kids often resist transitioning to a balance bike
BALANCE BIKES FOR TODDLERS
Balance bikes are not only super cute, they are amazingly fun and educational! Once mastered (balance bikes do have a sharper learning curve than other ride-one toys), you’ll be amazing at what toddlers can do on their balance bike!
Best Balance Bike: Overall
FITS KIDS: Toddlers ages 18-months to 3-years
FEATURES: Air tires, hand brake, super lightweight aluminum frame, high-end, durable components
FULL REVIEW: woom 1
The woom 1 is hands-down the best balance bike you can buy. Weighing in just over 6 lbs, its lightweight makes it much easier for little ones to maneuver. And with the lowest seat height of any balance bike on the market, it’s also the best option for little ones starting out early on their balance bike journey.
Air tires provide fantastic traction and cushioning, which allow your little explorer to safely and comfortably explore any terrain they choose. From skateparks to red dirt trails and asphalt pump tracks, our little testers have adventured just about everywhere with the woom 1!
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Air tires and a handbrake
- Overall geometry makes balancing a breeze
- High-end components are fine-tuned and perfected for the most natural riding experience
- Comes in 5 fun colors
- Price may be high for some families
Best Balance Bike: Universal Fit
FITS KIDS: Toddlers ages 18-months to 4-years
FEATURES: Lightweight frame, easy-to-adjust seat height, 8″ of seat height adjustment
FULL REVIEW: Strider Bike
Strider is the most popular balance bike in the United States, and for good reason! For a reasonable price you get 8 whole inches of seat height range on a very durable, lightweight frame. A Strider balance bike fits a very wide range of kids, which allows your child to grow with their bike as long as they need to. This little workhorse will also last through several kids.
- Extended seat post allows the Strider to fit a wider age range of kids
- Well-designed with good quality parts
- Smaller hand grips for little hands
- Quick release seat post and handlebars for easy height adjustments
- Foam tires don’t offer much cushioning or traction
Overall, there are many benefits of cycling in pregnancy. You and your baby will both benefit from the enhanced cardiovascular fitness that comes with regular exercise. In addition, cycling is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a low-impact activity that can be done during any trimester of pregnancy.