Trike or Bicycle?

Updated on July 03, 2010
C.M. asks from New Baden, IL
9 answers

We're getting my 3 year old daughter a bike or tricycle tomorrow. The main place she'll be using it on will be our gravel driveway or in our backyard (because we live out in the country and people drive very fast on our road so I don't want her driving on that). What do you recommend for grass? A low to the ground trike or bicycle with training wheels? Also, 12 or 16 inches? She is 36 inches tall.

I just saw Toys R Us have Go-Kart Pedal Ride-On bikes too that can be used in the grass...what about this?

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So What Happened?

We took her along and she ended up picking out a 12 inch Princess Bike. It took her three tries and now she knows how to pedal forwards and around in circles! We have her use it in the garage and outside on the concrete part in front of our garage. We have yet to have her try it on the grass. I asked someone at Toy's R Us which one would be best for grass and they suggested the bike because the trikes tires are not nobby enough and there is not enough tread (thin plastic instead). She loves it! Thanks for your suggestions!

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answers from Kansas City on

I recommend using a bike, but get this, no training wheels or PEDALS. Just have her use it like a bike, but have her push with her feet and learn to balance. She will learn to ride her bike MUCH faster this way. (i taught my daughter how to ride her bike in 30 min this way, but she was older)

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answers from Honolulu on

Your daughter is 2.5 years old? 3? Or older?
For that age, a trike would be better.

My son for example, is 3.5 almost 4 years old, and is about 43" tall. He, if we lower the seat height on my daughter's bike, can reach the pedals.... BUT he needs help with us pushing him.
BUT, if using his tricycle, he does not need help and can propel himself on his own.

A bike with training wheels, for a 2.5-3 or even 4 year old, to me, is not the best solution. I would get a tricycle.

If you do get a bike with training wheels, then get the lowest in height.

My daughter is now 7 years old, she now can ride her bike without the training wheels. But until then, she was using the training wheels.
When she was only 2.5-5 years old, she was still using her tricycle.
Not a 2-wheeler bike.
A bike with training wheels, is still 'hard' to pedal on grass. I know that because both my kids tell us that. So they ride on pavement. Unless with the tricycle which is easier to pedal either way.

all the best,



answers from Kansas City on

I would think a trike would do better in the grass. Also, I don't know if all trikes do this but ours does and it helps...the pedals work and spin in either direction. On a bike, when you push the pedals back they brake, not on our trike. This has been much easier for our daughter to understand. She is almost three and frustrates fairly easily when trying to ride her bike. If your daughter already knows how to pedal, I could make an argument for the bike, if not, you may want to stick with the trike.



answers from St. Louis on

A trike is really good for a three yr. old. they do make a larger version with bigger wheels that she may ride even longer and you will get more wear out of one. You may want to find something to block the end of your driveway so she does not ventre in that direction-after all she is still only three.



answers from Kansas City on

We also live in the country and while the driveway close to the house is concrete, the several hundred feet going to the road is gravel. We got her a trike and it's been great - she rides it on grass, concrete and gravel with no problems. It's pretty heavy duty, has knobby tires, low center of gravity so she doesn't fall easily, etc. I think the bigger tires work better - the Radio Flyer ones we looked at don't seem like they'd go over grass as well. We bought ours at some place like Cummins Tools or Harbor Freight, but here is a similar one they sell at Tractor Supply:

It's lasted the last 2 years being left outside in the rain, tipped over, raced around and backed into by a car - and even though we've since gotten her a bike, she prefers the trike...seriously, she LOVES it. Anyway, hope this helps - good luck!



answers from Madison on

If she's riding in the grass, she'll probably get around better on a trike. If the ground is uneven she may tip over on a bike with training wheels.

If you go with a bike, get a 12". A 16" is too big for her size yet. My 4 year old who is 43" tall fits nicely on a 16" bike. Bring her along and see what she likes and what fits best.



answers from Spartanburg on

My kids seem to do better with a tricycle in the grass. There are pretty big ones to accomodate taller kids, there is also the plastic power wheel type trikes that do well in the grass and are as comfortable as bikes. My 3 1/2 yr old can ride a16" bike just fine and she is 35" tall, she also rides her radio flyer trike (the kind that is "fold n go") which is quite a bit smaller.


answers from Austin on

I've seen some really sturdy tricycles, but it would depend on her age if she thinks she's too old for one. My son didn't learn to ride a bike without training wheels until age 7, but one of his friends learned at 3 1/2.

When my son was learning to ride a bike, uneven surfaces made me nervous. If one or both of the training wheels went over a bump, then the back wheel would just spin in the air. He also didn't have the strength to pedal through grass.
We like to take our bikes to parks with smooth paved trails. Also we started with a trailer bike which gave him his own seat and pedals, so that we could go on longer rides as a family.



answers from Fayetteville on

bicycle with training wheels.

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