December is officially here, and as parents ourselves we know that means one thing: you're trying to figure out how to make the holidays special for your kiddos!
We know that because you are forward-thinking people wanting to spend more time connecting as a family in the new year, you might even be considering buying the little one in your life a bike!
Of course, we think that is AWESOME...and, we thought we’d drop in with a few tips for you before you head out bike shopping.
It's not an expense, it's an investment.
We know it’s tempting to find the best deal on Amazon, or just get “something that will work” from Mega-Mart. We love a good deal too!
But we’re big believers in taking the time (and spending the money) to invest in a quality bike for your child. Why? Two reasons:
2. Good bikes hold their value. This is a no-brainer if you stop and think about it. The sub $100 bike is basically a throw away bike. It never makes sense to spend money to fix it (versus just buying a new one) and very rarely does anyone buy one used. When you invest in a quality bike it actually costs you less over the long run. Not to mention you're keeping one more hunk of scrap metal and rubber out of the landfill.
New bike from Mega Mart = $89. It rarely gets ridden and your child doesn't really fall in love with biking.
New quality bike from a company like woom = $339. Your child LOVES it, you feel proud that he/she is riding so well and so often, and you sell it for $250. Net cost to you... $89. See the no brainer here? Read more on this from woom
We love it when you support your local bike shop so give them a chance too!
Skip the training wheels & the coaster brake.
We talk about this in our Bicycle Playdates all the time, but we may not have told YOU about why we recommend balance bikes over training wheels and hand brakes over coaster brakes everytime…
Here's the deal... no sugar coating. Training wheels do not teach your child to ride and coaster brakes are lame! EVERY child we have worked with can ride without training wheels if you take the time to teach them balance without pedals first (aside from special needs that require extra support). And if you get a quality bike with proper handbrakes that fit a small child's hands you can skip coaster brakes entirely.
Oh... and there's one more thing. Not sure how to say this nicely so here goes. If you find yourself putting on training wheels to make the learning curve easier, or to just get your child riding faster. Stop. Think about what you're doing. Does it really matter if they pedal? Could this be a teaching moment about growth mindset?
We have heard from many parents who started their kids on balance bikes and then went to training wells. Ugh. That breaks our hearts. "She just wasn't into pedaling without training wheels" is what we hear.
This will probably take a longer blog post to unpack, but for now just trust us. Don't do it. Don't introduce training wheels. Not once. Not ever. Your child will thank you later after they work hard on balance and then earn their pedals.
If you wind up with a coaster brake bike we'll forgive you :) It will just take a little longer to teach them how to stand and pedal properly.
We’ll spare you any jokes here, but know that when it comes to bikes, the fit is really important. Too big or too small and your kid won’t have a great riding experience. Take the extra time to talk to your local bike shop pro or reach out to one of the kids only bike brands who are experts in fit (and really nice people) to make sure you’ve got it right.
Of course, if you’re going to get the child in your life a shiny new bike this year, we’d recommend getting a book about bicycling to go with it. It helps you to turn an activity they enjoy into a connection you’ll both share for years to come.
Here’s to raising riders,
The other day we were walking through a big ol’ box store to grab some supplies for our life on the road (I mean, have you seen the crazy adventure we’re on?).
After wandering through the overwhelming aisles of the toy section, we wondered “how much of this stuff will just end up in the landfill in a few months...or even weeks?”
We’re big believers that some of the best things in life are free.
But we also know that this time of year, giving gifts to the people you love feels pretty darn good, too!