I vividly remember riding my first bicycle. It was pink and purple and had a big white basket with hot pink streamers. I was even lucky enough to pick out my very own purple helmet. When it came time to ride, I was nervous that I would fall, but my Dad was a great teacher. I may have to recruit my Dad to teach my son in a few short years.
My son isn’t ready for his first bicycle yet, but I learned some great tips when my cousin purchased one for her daughter. My cousin sent me an article where bicycle expert, Shannon Burrant from Pearson Cycles, gives helpful advice to buyers.
Here are a few highlights:
If your toddler (18-24 months) seems ready to try a bike, you can try a strider bike or scooter. A strider bike doesn’t have wheels, so your child will learn to stop and start the bike with their feet. If that seems too challenging, Burrant recommends trying a scooter instead.
My son is so determined that I’d be willing to bet a strider bike will be a great challenge for him. When I peeked on Amazon these bikes seem to cost somewhere in the range of $70-120. Sounds like a perfect second birthday gift!
Burrant stresses that the bike needs to be the right size. “If your child is between sizes, hold fire for six months and purchase the next size up when your child has grown that extra couple of inches.”
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises parents to have their child sit on their bike and observe them. Make sure that when your child is seated that they can place the balls of their feet on the ground. You can even have them stradle the bike to make sure that they can stand comfortably. These tips seems like no brainers, but maybe not something I would have thought to have my son do while shopping.
Less is more for a child’s first bicycle. Young children don’t need a bike that has gears or suspension. You want to keep things simple and manageable for them. If they have to use their hands to switch gears or brakes they may lose balance. Burrant strongly urges parents to get a proper fitting helmet for their child. This is a non-negotiable for this mom. My son has already taken some diggers, so I jump at the opportunity to prevent accidents.
I wish you luck when you buy your child their first bicycle. As a young girl all I cared about was that my bike had streamers and a basket, but as a Mother safety is of the utmost importance. Happy shopping!