Tuesday, December 17, 2013

My First Bike: Pushing Off

So your child has caught the bug and now wants to learn how to ride a bike, or it is something you’ve always wanted to teach as a parent and have finally decided to take the first step. Whatever your reason for buying a bike, there are some important tips to making sure that you get the right type of bicycle for your child.

Size

Many parents might think in terms of the rule of thumb as it is with most children’s things; buy it a little big and your child will grow into it. This is not the case with bikes, as a bicycle that is too big or small can be dangerous to the child. Children’s bikes are measured by wheel diameter, ranging from 12 to 24 inches.

A good test for the size of the bike is that your child should be able to place the balls of both feet on the ground while sitting on the bike. They should also be able to grab the handlebars comfortably without lifting their bum off the seat.


Substance over Style

Flashy bicycles with rainbow streamers and multicoloured designs may look attractive to your young children, but they can be distracting, and prevent the child from concentrating on important things such as pedaling and balance when trying to teach your child how to ride.

Opt for a plainer bike that is colourful, but not flashy, and encourage your child to ride by telling them that they can kit it out with accessories as they get better at riding.


Solid, yet Adjustable

It can be easy to get caught up in providing the best, most expensive, seven geared bike for your child but it is important to remember that they have never done this before. Buying several features for your child could be a big waste of money, and it could also lead to your child injuring themselves.

Instead choose solid bikes that have adjustable seats for comfort and growing space and safety features such as coaster brakes, for added security. Younger children find squeezing the handlebars as a form of braking quite difficult to remember, so coaster brakes or ‘back braking’ are a lot more efficient in the early days of riding a bike.


Safety Accessories!

While the name sounds a bit tacky, it is important to make sure your child has all the right safety accessories before they begin to ride a bike for the first time. The most obvious choice is the bike helmet, make sure that it is not too big and that the chin strap fits comfortably under the child’s chin. Training wheels are helpful for first time riders as they give a bit of freedom and security to the child.

It might also be useful to invest in some Velcro trainers for your child, as the laces can get undone and can get tangled up in the spokes of the wheel.

If in doubt you can always speak to an expert on how to give your child the proper support when they eventually start riding. And there are plenty of how-to video guides on the internet!

About the Author

Kate Richards is a proud parent who has contributed this post on behalf of Summit Different, the online store for unusual and unique cycle jerseys

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