Adult training wheels are bicycle accessories designed for people who never learned to ride a bicycle as children or who have a disability that impairs their balance. They may find riding an adult-sized, two-wheel bike too difficult and require the support of an extra pair of wheels. A rider can attach them to his or her bike, regardless of its size. Certain models are intended for full-time use, although most of these wheels are temporary fixtures.
An adult is likely to experience more difficulty learning to ride a bike than a child because of the adult's higher center of gravity. Adult training wheels aid the rider in much the same way as training wheels for children, and they follow the same basic design. These training wheels are constructed from sturdy metal to ensure that the rider's weight does not cause any structural damage. A rider can attach the training wheels to almost any adult-sized bike. When the training wheels are no longer needed, they can be removed.
There are some notable design elements that distinguish adult training wheels from a children's set. Adult bikes feature more advanced capabilities, with gears and speeds that can be changed to suit different situations. The rear axle is often where the gears are connected, so it cannot be used to mount adult training wheels. The wheels are attached, instead, to the back of the bike's frame. They are also more widely spaced than children's training wheels, extending farther out on both sides to create greater stability.
To prompt the rider to yield more control over the bike, adult training wheels do not touch the ground at all times. The wheels sit slightly above the bottom of the bicycle's rear wheel. This forces the rider to become accustomed to balancing his or her bike while moving.
Training wheels for adults are not just intended for first time riders. Adult training wheels can also help individuals who have disabilities that affect their balance or adults who are simply impaired by fear. With the added support of these wheels, they can learn to enjoy riding a bike without worrying about their stability.
Wheels that are specifically designed to accommodate people who need sturdier and more long-term support are called stabilizer wheels. Stabilizers are intended for permanent attachment to a bike and offer better support than regular, detachable training wheels. Some models are even crafted for use while riding on more rigorous terrain, such as in mountain biking.