Buying a child their first bike is a very special occasion; who doesn’t remember the day they got their very first bike?! It’s a memorable moment for just about every kid in the country…so yeah, no pressure!
Just like buying for yourself, getting the perfect children’s bike can be a tricky process – so if you’re struggling with it, or just looking for a checklist to work with, here’s a few pointers that could be helpful.
- Safety is paramount
Above all else, you’re going to want to make sure that the bike is as safe and secure as possible; accidents happen, and taking a tumble is almost a rite of passage, but you still want to do everything you can to avoid anything serious. Buy the helmet before you buy the bike, make sure the brakes are useable for your child, and check that they’re close enough to the ground to put a foot down when they need to.
- Make sure it’s fit for purpose
If you’re based in a rural area, and the bike is likely to be tearing around fields and back roads, then a mountain bike might be your best bet; in an urban environment or on family rides at the weekend, a little racer could be the call. Much as you would when buying for yourself, tailor your choice towards what it will actually be used for.
- Test for compatibility
You wouldn’t buy yourself a bike without sitting in the saddle – so the same should apply when buying a bike for your child. They might have their heart set on one, but it’s no use if the frame of the bike isn’t suitable for them, so try a bunch before making the decision. The bike frame might need to have adjustments made too, and you’ll see this by trying before buying!
- Security is important
While a new bike might mean as much (or more!) to a child as to an adult, they’re usually a little less familiar with the darker side of life. You’ll often see abandoned bicycles in gardens and parks, not locked or secured – and nobody wants to deal with the tears should something unfortunate happen! Get a good lock, and teach your junior cyclist the importance of looking after their ride.
- Durability matters
A child’s bike should be sturdy enough to last a few years, so a frame that can withstand a bit of wear and tear is no bad idea. On that front, though, there’s only so much your shopping can do; teaching your child the value of looking after their bike will also help you to avoid another trip arriving too soon!
- Safety is paramount, Part 2
You might not win popularity contests here – but this is fundamental. As well as insisting that a helmet is worn at all times, you’re also going to have to make sure they wear high visibility vests or reflectors; it’s important during long summer evenings, but by winter it will be essential. Try convincing them that reflectors, helmets and hi-vis gear is cool – it might be the biggest challenge of all, but it’ll be worth it!