We all remember our first bike when we were kids and how they were too big, too small, or just not the right bike for what we should have been riding. We were kids, so it didn’t matter if the bike fit or not, we just wanted to go ride and have fun. As adults now outfitting our kids with a bike, we can make sure that they have the right size and style of bike so that they can have fun when riding, while also not endangering themselves. Bikes in general can be expensive, but they don’t have to be. Finding the right one, along with the proper bike protective gear can be easy if you know what to do and what to look for.
Style and Size of Bike to Choose
The first step in choosing a kids bike is “who is it for?” Small kids from the ages of two to five should start on what is called a balance bike or a bike without pedals or gears. They can sit on it like a normal bike but they move forward and balance with their feet out to the side on the ground. They can just walk the bike under them when they first start out and as they advance they will pick their feet up and learn how to balance the bike. Then after they have mastered this and they are big enough, they can move on to a small twelve or sixteen inch bike, depending on your child's height. They should have already mastered balancing so they don’t need training wheels. It is important that as they grow, you raise the seat and handle bars accordingly. Once you can no longer raise these any further, it is time for the next size up.
When buying a bike for a middle-aged child, you want a bike that fits them now, not one that they will grow into. Ideally you find one that is on the edge of being too big for them and then they will grow through its size until it is too small. At younger ages bikes, just come as “kid’s bikes” but as they get bigger, you can get more mountain or road specific. In general, more mountain style bikes are the way to go since kids are often riding off-road in parks and on trails. These bikes also can be ridden just fine on paved roads or paths.
Accessories Your Kids Should Be Wearing
With any new endeavor, there’s always more than just the one piece that the sport or activity is focused around, and cycling is no different. With any bike, bike helmets are a must for any child. Kids are going to ride and find their limits, so they will crash. You want to make sure that they have highly protective bike wear for kids, such as a helmet on their head anytime they ride. You also don’t want just any helmet. You want to make sure that it fits well and has the protection that they need for the riding that they are doing. Other accessories that don’t necessarily need to be bought separately is the bike wear that they will be riding in. In general, any clothing will work as long as it is stretchable and not baggy which can get caught in the wheels or gears. Also, if your child is riding more, riding gloves may be a good option because when they fall, their hand is the first thing that they are going to put out to catch themselves, thus resulting in a scrapped up hand. The gloves can help prevent that.
Benefits of Cycling for Kids
Having your child ride a bike has many benefits that will help them not only in the short term but long term as well. Cycling plays an important role in kids' growth. They are always active and full of energy so having a constructive outlet for them is always a good thing. Riding will teach them better balance as well as hand and eye coordination. They will also be getting exercise without it seeming like actual exercise but rather just good, fun, riding around. Riding will also help your child develop their own sense of independence. You will be there when they first learn to ride, but before long, they will be off riding with siblings and friends on their own. Bike riding is often the first time in child’s lives that they have that sense of independence. Without it, they don’t learn to rely on themselves. Riding can give them that opportunity, which will evolve as they grow all the way through their teenage years.
Riding a bike is often part of anyone’s childhood years. We all remember those rides fondly. Some of us never stopped riding or may have re-found it years later. Getting the right bike for your child will allow them to enjoy riding more, as well as to be safer. They don’t need something top of the line, just something that is right for their size and ability. With any bike, you don’t need all the little accessories such as water bottles and bells, although you child may like it, but the one accessory that you do need is a bike helmet. Even if they are just riding across the garage, a fall can happen. Teach them that in order to put their butt on the seat, they need a helmet on their head. Getting the right bike for your child starts with knowing what to look for and then making sure it is set up properly. Your child will thank you. Do you have any other tips that can help other parents out there trying to find their child's first bike? Please share!