The first thing our little girl got to ride on when she was just barely able to walk was a four-wheeled toy she pushed around with her feet. That was after her experience with the walker. Then she got a tricycle. She learned to steer and pedal. She wanted a “big kids” bike before I thought she was ready. She tried out a bicycle owned by a friend’s child and could not coordinate pedaling with balance. We got her a toddler balance bike to learn balance first. She could still use her tricycle to keep building skills with pedaling and steering.
She did not have any trouble with steering, so we did not order a toddler balance bike with steering limiters. You would need those if your child oversteers and runs into things or falls off. It keeps them from overcorrecting when learning balance on a bicycle. What is really cool about the balance bike is that it does not have any method or means to pedal the bike. No distractions are there to take away from learning how to balance on two wheels first. The child just pushes off with his or her feet. The child can also use feet for brakes. However, I think it is important to have hand brakes on a balance bike to teach them how to apply pressure appropriately according to speed and if they are on a hill.
The investment in the toddler balance bike was a good one. Our little girl learned to confidently balance on two wheels very rapidly. Once she mastered it, we tried her on a regular bicycle without training wheels. It was easy for her to then add pedaling on two wheels. She took off and has been going ever since. It is tough to get her to stop riding. She has already worn out a set of tires!