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Seven ways to improve bike riding for your kids

December 12th, 2016

Kids will keep doing things they enjoy and the more they do something, the better and more confident they will become. So how can picking the right bike help? Here are a few of our top tips, but please come by the shop to discuss what’s right for your child.

  1. Always bring your child in to try a bike before you buy a bike. Your kids are unique and the bike should be set up to fit them not the other way round. And trying on a helmet to find the right one is just as important.
  2. The lighter the better. Struggling to control a heavy bike saps enjoyment at best, at worst it makes cycling dangerous or even downright impossible. A couple of kilos difference could be like asking them to pick up 10% of their own body weight!
  3. Balance is the first skill you need to ride a bike. Stabilisers confuse kids’ natural balance, delaying and frustrating the progress to a regular bike. Aimed at children between 18 months and three years old, a balance bike gives a kid the confidence to be on two wheels. Using their body weight to balance and feet to stop without becoming dependent on extra wheels that will ultimately be removed will give them a massive head start.
  4. Bin the stabilisers. If your kid is already using stabilisers and is struggling to make the step to riding without them, try taking them and the pedals off.  Using their bike now as a pseudo-balance bike encourages them to use their body weight and feet to stabilise and get their confidence back before putting the pedals back on… and the stabilisers in the bin.
  5. Make your first pedal bike a single speed. We carry the Early Rider belt drive and the Trek Superfly. The chain stays on a 16inch wheel bike are too short for derailleur gears to function properly in any case and simplicity of use leads to greater confidence and enjoyment for young riders.
  6. Go for function over features. Some brands put on all the features of an adult bike without weighing up the benefits. Our 20” wheel Trek Superfly  has a light frame and wide-range 6-speed cassette and a single front chain ring. More gears can confuse and the likely result is that the rider never changes gear. On a similar note, suspension forks or rear springs add huge amounts of weight without bringing anything to the party – kids are too light to make it work properly anyway.
  7. The Trek Kid’s Neko and Kid’s Dual Sport are absolutely the best bikes on the market for older children. The kid-size cockpit means that most young riders can skip past a heavier 24” wheel mountain bike and ride further and for longer. It’s a scaled down version of the same high quality, super versatile bike that we recommend to their parents and carers as the best way to explore Richmond Park, the tow-path and the school run.