New bike for christmas…

December 27, 2014 at 20:49 | Posted in bicycles | 2 Comments
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bykChristmas. Such an exciting time. I can still remember the thrill of coming down on Christmas morning to find a pair of bikes parked in the lounge – one for me, one for my brother. I was probably about four years old, and the bike was way to big for me – as I recall my father had to tie blocks of wood to the pedals so I could reach them. It was a Raleigh Champ, a cool red and gold affair with chopper handlebars and a banana seat.

So it was with great pleasure that I was able to recreate that momentous day for my own daughter this year. She was a bit less excited about it that I remember being when she first saw it – in part because she’s a dedicated scooter rider, and never really got the hand of the balance bike (which my younger one now hares around on with extraordinary grace and expertise – it’s quite something seeing a three-year-old practically doing a track-stand on a tiny kids bike), and in part because it was clear from the get-go that her younger sister was envious, and dying to have a go.

Still, she did finally give it a go, and in the end really enjoyed it, especially when I took her over the park and she could ride on a wide, flat path. Indeed, she asked to go back there later in the day to ride some more.

The bike is a BYK 350, which I bought without taking Girl Chillikebab #1 to the bike shop to try out. However, she’s just over a metre tall, and nearly five years old, so she is right in the middle of the range of that bike as it is advertised. However, I do have this niggling feeling it’s just a bit too big for her.

Part of the reason for this is the coaster brake. When she’s on the bike, she can’t get her feet down. No a big drama; she has training wheels, so she climbs onto the seat and starts to pedal. Except that if the pedals are not the right position, she can’t. With a coaster brake, she can’t pedal backwards to get the pedal in place to start, and she can’t scoot the bike forward with a foot on the ground to get it rolling and move the pedal forward.So I have to keep giving her a push start.

She pretty quickly got the hang of the regular brake levers, so I am wondering if I should somehow disconnect the coaster brake. Or even if such a thing is even possible. It was a problem I never really thought about, given I haven;t ridden a bike with a coaster brake since I was about eight. (My Raleigh Champ had just one hopeless front brake, and I survived. I even remember doing deliberate front-wheel skids on gravel with it. Kids these days are just spoiled, with their small-reach, tektro-alloy, machined-rim v-brakes…).

Still, she’s four years old, and loving riding a bike that’s a bit too big for her. Such is the spirit of Christmas.

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  1. The addendum to this story is that when we went back to the park again, she got rather over-confident going down the hill, picked up a significant head of steam, lost control and when straight into a bush.

    Cue wailing, crying, and a few scratches and scrapes.Hopefully it won’t put her off!

  2. Hi! I came across your blog and am glad your daughter is enjoying her new bike! You certainly can disable the foot brake – just take it back to your local store where you bought it and ask them to do it for you. Teaching your kid how to stop before they even learn to ride is so important. Using the handbrakes instead of the foot brake will mean that ability to pedal backwards to get the pedals in the right position for take off is easily done and makes the experience much more enjoyable. We’ve just interviewed a kids bike skills teacher and Australian MTB champion, Damien Enderby, and this was one of his pieces of advice (read the full article here: http://www.bykbikes.com/bike-riding-tips/damien-enderby-byk-dad-mountain-biking-champion.html.) Of course, every kid learns at the own pace and you have to take into account how she currently fits onto the bike and her ability and confidence. Best of luck and happy riding! Regards, Jen@bykbikes.com.


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