In conjunction with our son, Buddy’s first cycling race at the upcoming OCBC Cycle 2018, we are happy to share tips on how we choose a good bike for our children.
A Safe Bike
There are tons of bikes out there for kids, even hyper-marts sell bicycles these days. Pretty and cute designs are popular with kids but often do not make for good and safe bikes. How then do you know if the bikes are safe? Here’s what I would look out for:
The Seat: This is where the weight of the rider would be on. The seat post needs to be adjustable to fit the growing needs of our child.
The Saddle: This is the ‘cushion’ of the seat. Your child needs to sit comfortable onto the saddle without feeling any of the structures that supports it underneath.
The Handle Bar: This needs to be firm and within comfortable reach of your child with the feet within comfortably reach of the pedals ( if any) and the ground. Check that the handlebar is aligned with the wheels – when it is straight the wheels should be straight too. And when moving, the entire handlebar should feel like a piece of structure moving smoothly together.
The Pedals: The pedals should move smoothly when the child cycles. It should not be wobbly, moving left-right.
A Good Helmet
Why does a child need a helmet? After all the child is not going at such a high speed right?
It is not so much the speed in which the child falls but also what the child falls or knocks upon. This can include kerbs, benches, trees, cars, concrete ground etc. The head should be protected when these accidents occur. A good helmet would have these features:
Fits snugly but not too tight. Covers the front, sides and back of the child to protect against falls and knocks. Adjustable straps to fit the size of the child’s head as she grows. Some helmets come with adjustable knobs at the rear to ensure a better fit. Heavy helmets do not necessarily make safe helmets. In fact, it could be worse as the child may struggle in keeping the head up and in the event of a crash, the additional weight may hurt the neck.
Again this may be seen as unessential but these elbows and knees paddings protect the joints which can be easily dislocated upon impact or seriously lacerated since they only covered by a thin layer of skin. When buying these paddings, do get your child to try them on and move their joints to ensure a good and proper fit.
Children may protest initially and refuse to wear these paddings due to inconvenience but getting them used to wearing these safety paddings will inculcate a mindset of safety from the onset.
Brakes and Tyres:
This is often overlooked in kids’ bikes but they are just as essential.
Tyres: Look for the depth of the grooves and the material they are made of. Deep threads mean better grip while inflatable rubber tires make for greater realism when cycling and controlling the bike. Believe it or not, there are bikes fitted with shallow threads and plastic wheels for toddlers. These would compromise safety significantly.
Brakes: The quality of the brakes is key in any bicycle’s safety. Brakes need to feel sturdy, strong and ‘together’ especially when employed. The response of the brakes should be quick and smooth. Some balance bikes are even fitted with rear brakes for the kids to learn how to employ brakes well from an early age.
Good and Reliable Bike Shop:
From Dana’s first helmet years back to her first mountain bike and now her little brother’s, we have sought advice from the good folks of Bikehaus. Good and personable advice coupled with good after-sales service are so important especially when growing kids are learning to cycle. Their odd sizes make for some challenge when buying cycling accessories and the bikes.
Bikehaus is owned by a husband and wife team who are avid cyclists. In short, they are a cycling family who knows and understands our needs. This is evident from they way they dispense their advice. No item is too small to warrant their time – be it a helmet or even an LED light. The staff at Bikehaus are patient and never pushy. They would rather ensure that we are buying something useful rather than make a quick transaction. The only thing they ‘sell’ perhaps is a healthy lifestyle rather than the mere products.
Rain or Shine
Recently, when we needed to send our bike for minor repairs and were caught in the heavy rain on the way the shop, the workers waited 20 mins for me to reach them even though is beyond their closing hours, just to render us help. These days we can virtually get anything online except perhaps good and personalised advice. This is where Bikehaus stands out.
Thanks to BikeHaus, we are giving away a Parent-Child Scooter + Balance Bike Combo. Parent need not know how to cycle to accompany their kids cycling. Just scoot next to them! The lucky reader will walk away with 1 Grey Zycom Easy Ride 230 Adult non-electronic Foot-Scooter (worth S$169) and 1 Green PUKY Balance Bike (worth S$275, model LR1 BR). PUKY is one of the safest balance bikes from Europe. Made and imported from Germany. To win, simply: