It’s the time of year when kids start dreaming of riding bikes!
Do you know a child who is ready to graduate from a strider or tricycle? Here are some tips from I want a Real Bike in Oregon (available May 2018) to help a kid pick a new bike.
- Let the child help choose.
Remember that color, style, and decoration are important to children. Begin your search by asking what sort of bike they have in mind. Your child should like the bike and be part of the selection process. A kid who has her heart set on a purple BMX with yellow handlebar streamers may not be happy with anything else.
- Consider where you ride.
A bike that’s perfect for cruising city streets won’t work as well on forest trails. A versatile bike is a better choice than a specialized one.
- Safety is key.
Your child should feel comfortable on the seat, have a clear view, and be able to brake quickly. Some children may not have the hand size or arm strength to use hand brakes comfortably. Coaster brakes are a better choice in this case. A bike with both helps them learn how to operate hand brakes while providing the safety of coaster brakes. Legs should reach the ground when seated to avoid sudden spills. A horn or bell is necessary equipment. So is a bright light and reflective gear if your child will be riding at dusk or in the dark.
- What about gears?
Although gears aren’t necessary for children’s bikes, they do make riding hills a lot easier. Your child should be able to shift without losing balance or taking eyes off the road.
- Children grow.
A bike that fits today may be too small in six months. A bigger bike may be fine in six months, but is too big and too heavy to ride right now. Choose a well fitting bike that can be adjusted later on.
- Take your time deciding.
Try out different bikes. Visit different bike shops. Talk to parents, friends, and bike pros. Check out online articles, forums, and videos. Collect as much info as you can, then make your choice together with your child.
So help a kiddo gear up for National Bike Month in May by getting in some practice and planning fun ways to celebrate National Bike to School Day. And watch our Facebook page for I Want a Real Bike events in the Portland, Oregon area!