We asked our family to pitch in and get Zaxxon an early birthday gift this summer, because we wanted him to have a bike and have the chance to ride it during the right season. The family came through in spades, and so we got Zaxxon this wicked awesome Balance Bike!
Mini Glider by Glide Bikes. The principle of these bikes is that pedaling isn't hard to learn, yet that's all a kid really masters with traditional training wheels. Take them off and the child still doesn't know how to balance. Balance bikes have no pedals (and no training wheels.) The child moves it along with his/her feet, learning how to balance as they go. As they gain confidence, they pick up speed and will take their feet off the ground and glide, just like on a normal bike. Supposedly, they'll transition to a normal bike with little effort once they have the balancing down. These things are supposed to be all the rage in Europe, and are just emerging here in the U.S.