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The choice of which child's bicycle to purchase should be based on features that are important for comfort and safety, rather than on color or style alone. While kids have definite opinions when it comes to style, there are ways to compromise so you can find a child's bicycle that is both stylish and safe.
The first tip in selecting a child's bicycle is finding a bike that is a good fit. It is never a good idea to choose a bike that is too big, thinking the child will grow into it. A large bike can be very difficult to handle. A youngster, especially one that is just learning to ride, can easily lose control of the bike and sustain injury.
A bike that is too small can also be dangerous. The child's legs may hit the handlebars, or he may not be able to brake properly. The best way to select a child's bicycle is to take him or her with you when shopping. Making sure the bike is suitable and safe is far more important than attempting to surprise the child. Make sure the youngster can touch the ground comfortably when sitting on the bike and make sure he or she is able to get on and off with ease.
Shop around when looking for a child's bicycle. A moderately priced bike is usually a good choice. Look for solid construction, usable features such as an adjustable seat, and safety features. Instead of selecting a child's bicycle that looks "cool" choose one that is suited to the child. New riders may have difficulty using hand brakes, and should stick with coaster brakes on a first bike.
Also, remember that fancy options that are more decorative than useful can actually be dangerous. Rather than watching the path in front of him, a child may be watching the way the streamers on his handlebars wave in the wind. There is plenty of time for the "cool" stuff once a child has fully mastered cycling.
Selecting a child's bicycle can be a great experience for parents and children alike. The key is to remember that a bike is not a typical toy; it is also a mode of transportation that must be used safely and responsibly. Bicycling is enjoyable, a good form or exercise, and a great way to make memories. Just make sure those memories are good ones, by making sure your kids are safe.
If your kid is the right age to want a bike they probably know what kind they want.
It's a nice idea to give your child a surprise bike on their birthday or Christmas, but if they had a particular kind of bicycle in mind, you might wind up disappointing them when they see it.
My parents involved me from the beginning in the selection of the bike, making sure I knew the basics of what kinds of bikes there were and how they worked and so forth.
They also had me contribute towards it, since it was a large purchase and they wanted me to feel like it was really mine and something I was responsible for.
I adored that bike to pieces when I finally got it. Being involved in the selection was more of a thrill than any surprise could have been.
@browncoat - That is really important. When I was a kid I was always trying to go as fast as possible on my bike and rarely tried the brakes for anything.
One day I went up a very steep driveway and came careening down it. At the last minute I realized that I was going to go into the gutter and tried to brake.
I didn't realize that the back brake was out, and I ended up only pulling on the front brake.
Of course I went head over bike onto the concrete and ended up having stitches.
I was quite lucky really, since I could have cracked my skull or any number of things. I don't blame my parents of course, but I do remember my dad was quite upset when he realized the fault lay just as much with the bike as with me, and at least the bike could have been prevented!
Actually, my young cousins seemed to pick up hand brakes much more easily than foot brakes and I was the same way when I was a kid.
It seemed much more instinctive to clench my fists when I needed to stop than to thrust my feet backward.
On the other hand, a child's hand strength might not be enough to pull a hand brake properly, so you should make sure of this before they start to explore on the bike.
You also don't want them to be accidentally pulling on the brake and sending themselves flying.
I would take them out on some soft grass and let them play around for a while in my full view until I was sure that the bikes were working properly and they were able to handle them well.