Kids’ bikes are a predominantly American tradition. Elsewhere in the world the bicycle is a means of conveyance for adults. In many areas, the biking population outnumbers the motorists. China is an especially prominent member of this group. In Beijing for example, the number of cyclists outweighed the number of motorists by more than 2-1!
America took a different route with its development. Since we only have 300 years of industrialized growth behind us, we haven’t really filled in our country. This means that large, broad roads are the norm here, not the exception. The bicycle shifted from a necessary means of conveyance to a vehicle for leisure. With this shift came the advent of kids’ bikes.
Kids’ bikes differ from adult bikes in more than just size. For starters, kids’ bikes are equipped with a chain guard, pedal brakes, and often training wheels. Adult bikes on the other hand normally feature a free chain, handlebar brakes, and nearly never have training wheels.