#childsafety | How to choose the right bike for your child


Learning to ride a bike means building confidence (Picture: Getty)

You know what they say; life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.

Well, that’s all good and well unless you are a child who is learning to ride!

Choosing a bike for your little one comes down to a little more than deciding between fancy colours or whether it will hold their toys in a basket.

It’s important to get the right size bike for their age and height and to pick a model best suited to where they’re at in their cycling journey.

Maybe they are still learning how to balance, are getting used to the pedals, or are already whizzing around; either way you’ll want a bike that is lightweight and easy to handle.

Navigating your way through choosing the best bike for your child needn’t be difficult with a few handy tips and tricks…

What size bike does your child need?

When your little one is beginning their bike journey, you’ll want as less falls and scrapes as possible (hello Saturday morning A&E).

The size of the bike is really important as it will have a huge impact on your child’s enjoyment of riding and they will need to feel comfortable at all times.

You can get a rough idea of sizing based on your child’s age. But it’s not one size fits all, as what fits one 6-year-old might not fit another.

Forme recommend sizing your child for a bike by measuring the inner leg length. This method means they’ll always be able to reach the floor properly and have the best on-bike experience.

If you feel stuck on how to work out the right size frame, then Halfords has created a handy frame size chart, which measures your child’s height, size and age to find the right size and style bike for your child.

Don’t buy a bike they can grow into

We’ve all been there when it comes to winter coats and school uniform, buy a size up and you’ll reap the benefits in the long run. Unfortunately, the same advice does not work for bikes!  

Having a larger size can constrict your little one to be able to move freely and use the pedals and handlebars, which means more strain and less amusement. If they are struggling to reach either then they will inevitably have more accidents, which is never fun.

Smiling mother measuring daughter's height on wall in living room at home

It’s paramount to measure your child before purchasing a bike (Picture: Getty)

How to measure your child

The simplest way you’ll want to measure your child’s inner leg, is in three easy steps using a book and a tape measure.

The best way to do this is to stand the rider against a wall with their shoes on, place a book between their legs, as high as is comfortable, and measure from the top of the book to the floor.

Then refer to a bike’s size chart to pick the right model for your little Tour de Park rider.

What type of bike does your child need?

Children need different bikes depending on age and what stage of riding they are at. While there is no fixed level of riding they should reach by a specific age there is one certainty; it will need to be a kid’s bike.

Many brands do small compact adult bikes, but these are frequently clunky and heavy for the user, so it is best to buy a brand that designs specifically with kids in mind.

Here are a few of the best ones we’ve found on the market:

Kids bikes

A balance bike is a great starting point (Picture: Strider)

Balance Bikes – These are the perfect addition for kids up to the age of 4 as a starter bike. They strip everything back to basics and let your child learn the tough skill of balancing before adding anything else into the mix. The Strider 12 Sport is a great option with no pedals and hard-wearing plastic wheels.

First Pedals – This is an ideal option for children aged 3-6 who are just learning to ride but are feeling a little more confident. They don’t have gears to complicate the riding experience and are lightweight too. The Star Kids bike is a great starter for children aged 4-6 and comes with puncture-proof wheels.

Hybrid Bikes – If you have a little one that loves dashing around parks, trails and tarmac, then the Hybrid is the one for you. They are the best option for most children over 5 years old. Frog is one of the best-known kid’s brands for a reason; eagle-eyed royal watchers soon recognised it as British royal Prince Louis proudly rode it on his first day at nursery!

Kids bikes

The Frog bike is even used by Royalty (Picture: Frog)

Where to buy a bike

When it comes to finding the perfect bicycle, there are a plethora of products, designed for all budgets.

Many children need a little bit of encouragement before they can feel confident in their riding skills, but with the right bike, they will swiftly feel comfortable and will soon be zooming around happily.

The best way to get them started riding a bike is to begin in a quiet place with no traffic on a smooth path or quiet pavement. Explain which side they should stay on and alert them of how traffic works and official safety rules so they are always aware.

Once they become a little more confident then you can keep them in tow with yourself on a quiet road with a cycle path which will help them get used to the noise and movement of traffic.

More recently the UK government introduced the Bikeability scheme, to help and train all children on how to ride a bike and the safety measures around it. You can book your lessons online so little ones can get professional help to start their riding journey.

Bike Club is a subscription service that grows with your child (Picture: Bike Club)

Bike Club is a subscription service that grows with your child (Picture: Bike Club)

Subscription bike service

These days you can get subscription services for pretty much anything; food boxes, films and fun activities to name a few. Why not try a bike subscription that can change as your child grows?

Bike Club offers just that, a unique service that allows you to change the bike, from just £4.49 per month.

You start by sending in your child’s measurements and their age to find the most suitable cycle, then sign up and they deliver it to you within a few days.

One verified Trustpilot fan says: ‘Excellent service, such an easy process! Great little bike for our granddaughter. From balance bike to pedals in two days… and she’s off!’

Best budget bikes

If you want something basic, classic and ‘does what it says on the tin,’ then you’ll want to opt for something that fits within your budget.

We found the best budget bicycles at Halfords, Argos and Sports Direct.

Kids bikes

If you want a classic kids’ bike then look no further than Bobbins (Picture: Bobbins)

Best luxury bikes

Want something (quite literally) with all the whistles and bells?

Then you will want to try the Bobbins bike. Handmade in small batches, these classic bikes come in a dazzling array of colours with an elegant gloss paint finish.

There are some unique features including matching stabilizers, an all-important wicker basket and an embossed leather saddle, so it will certainly turn heads when out and about. We wouldn’t expect anything less!

Where to find secondhand bikes

While there may be the odd scratch and scrap in a second-hand kid’s bike, you can save money, and they can even be passed down to siblings.

Take note, there are a few things to check beforehand. Are the brakes up to scratch? Can you wobble the wheels? (A big no-no). Is the chain rusty? (It will need a new one). Do the pedals spin smoothly?

The good news is that even if you find one that may need a once-over, you can take to a local bike shop that will do all safety checks and update as necessary.

Good places to find second-hand kid’s bikes include Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, and The Bike Project.


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This article contains affiliate links. We will earn a small commission on purchases made through one of these links but this never influences our experts’ opinions. Products are tested and reviewed independently of commercial initiatives.



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