The year is hurrying along and I’m sure several of you are already getting a “Santa’s List” and many may include the ever popular new bike.
Having taught many children over my time as a cycling instructor, I always feel the pleasure for children as they say when/where they got their wheels, but all too often it is bike that is not suitable for the child’s height or weight.
Size: while kids might be able to wear a jumper that they can grow into, a bike is not the same. Children need to be able to control their bike; in our school programs we often see children who’ve been given a bike that they can’t ride at their current age. Usually bikes with training wheels are too big for children, (as basically they don’t need to touch the ground); however when they do learn to ride in our programs it is often the case that they can’t ride their own bike as they are not able to touch the ground to get the first push off to start pedalling.
With older children the problem is similar, while a bike with 15-18 gears, front fork suspension and wide handle bars may make them look older, the reality is that they can’t ride comfortably, stop effectively or even sit and relax on the bike.
Weight: many cheaper bikes for big department stores are predominately made from steel and can weigh-in at 10kg or more, considering most 4-7yos weigh 15-25kg the bike can be 40-75% of their own body weight – imagine an adult pushing around a bike between 40-75kg – we’d find that pretty tough not to mention the ‘fun’ becomes boring fairly quickly!
Alloy: Look for kids’ bike that have alloy frame, forks, rims and handle bars, your local reputable bike store will have them.
Your Back: and don’t forget you’ll be the one lifting the bike in and out of the back of the car to take it to the park – get a lighter bike and save your back!
Here’s to a great summer of cycling 🙂