Training wheels (also known as stabilizers) are an additional wheel or wheels mounted parallel to the rear wheel of a bicycle that assist learners until they have developed a usable sense of balance on the bicycle. Typically they are used in teaching very young children to ride a bike. The term "training wheels" is commonly used in the United States and Australia to describe the stabilizers' role in helping young children learn to ride bicycles.
Some authorities disapprove of training wheels, in part because they teach how to ride without countersteering, thus requiring learning that skill separately. Alternatives to using training wheels include balance bicycles and the Gyrobike wheel.
Other Uses of the Term Edit
"Training wheels" can also refer to the wheels that serious cyclists use on their bicycles when training, as opposed to the lighter, faster, more delicate wheels reserved for racing. These can be wheels such as entry level wheels, for example the Mavic Cosmos vs. the Ksyrium line or Cosmic Carbone.
The term "training wheels" is also used as a metaphor or euphemism for guidance in a non-bicycle related sense. For example, a high school co-op program, where students leave school to work part-time at a job during the school day, my be referred to as "training wheels" for the workplace. When Microsoft Windows was new, its point-and-click interface was derided as "training wheels for DOS" implying childishness.