Learning to ride a bike is one of the first milestones in a small person’s life that gives them a real sense of achievement, along with a few minor bumps and grazes, and sets them on the road to becoming an independent, free-wheeling ‘grown-up.’
But how should you introduce your child to the wonderful world of cycling?
Here’s a few tips on selecting that all-important first bike:
Child Bike Seats
Getting your child excited about the prospect of cycling can begin long before they’ve even mastered the art of walking.
Bike seats give your child the opportunity to experience the uplifting windrush of cycling and view the world from a different perspective, but perhaps more importantly, it gives them the chance to see you as a happy, confident cyclist and this will encourage them to feel motivated to learn how to ride their own bike when the time comes.
Beginner Bikes for Kids
There are now two main types of beginner bike suitable for children around the age of three: the relatively new balance bicycle or the traditional pedal bike which can be used with or without stabilisers. Each one has its merits.
Balance bikes for kids come without pedals. They’re designed to help children find their natural balance point and introduce them to basic cycling skills including steering and brake control whilst having the floor reassuringly in reach underfoot.
Alternatively, pedal bikes used with removable stabilisers can help your child to master the pedalling motion, steering and brake controls, but the art of balancing will need to be learned once the stabilisers come off.
Choosing the Right Bike
Whichever type of beginner bike you choose is up to you, but there are some things to consider:
How much do you want to spend on a bike? Realistically, you’re more likely to get value for money from a pedal bike because stabilisers can be removed to accommodate your child’s increasing confidence and cycling skills.
However, bear in mind that like all children’s items, the pre-loved market for children’s bikes is huge so it’s possible that you could recoup the majority of any money you spend on a balance bike now by selling it on in the future.
For comfort and safety, it’s essential that you get a bike that is properly sized for your child. One that is too small will make your child feel restricted and will quickly be outgrown, while one that’s too big will be unwieldy and unsafe.
Reputable online bike stores will usually have detailed sizing guides available on their websites but it’s always advisable to take your child to test out a few instore.
Helping your child choose the style and accessories of their first bike can really help them find the motivation and courage they will need to keep getting back on when they inevitably fall off; a shopping basket, bell, stunt pegs or Frozen stickers can transform the ordinary bike into the much-loved.
Cycle helmets are not compulsory but they are strongly recommended, especially for young learners who are more likely to have a few wobbles and falls. Like the bike itself, a helmet should be a proper fit.
Bicycle helmets should be snug, secure, cover the forehead, and leave the eyes and ears free to spot any hazards. There’s a huge selection of style options for kids now so try some on while you’re instore.
You can get great advice on a wide selection of cycling accessories and bikes for kids of all ages, and that includes you, instore or online at Formby Cycles.