It’s that time of year again and if Santa has been thinking about bringing a new bike for your child, here are some top tips from Caroline Lane Cycle Trainer:
1.Please hold the bike before you buy it! It sounds obvious, but I’ve taught a lot of children on bikes that look really cool, but weigh more than the child and they can’t hold it up when it starts to tip over.
2.Avoid bikes with gimics like police or fire chief bades, tassles or baby seats as they may look fun but the bikes themselves are usually not geometrically well designed or easy for children to learn to ride on
3. No small child needs a BMX or full suspension mountain bike!
4. Try to avoid chain stores if you can (especially supermarkets). Support your local bike shop – they are the real experts and won’t sell you anything you don’t need. Keep it simple
5. Make sure it fits! Don’t buy a bike for your child to grow into… if it’s a first bike they really need to be able to touch the ground to be confident enough to learn to ride it. If you want to buy online, use your child’s inside leg measurement as an indicator or get them to try one in a shop first to give you some idea.
6. Cheap bikes are a false economy. These are usually the heaviest with cheap components that will break easily. The more you spend, the better the bike and the more your child will ride it.
My personal favourites are Frog Bikes – nice and light, a lovely range of colours and child size components. They’re expensive (even secondhand), but they’re robust and they keep their value so you can sell them on for more or less what you paid in the first place.
Get yourself a bike too! Nothing beats riding together to the pub or a coffee shop along a towpath or quiet country roads or a picnic in the summer.