I can ride!

May 1, 2017 at 13:33 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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My youngest daughter has, for many years, been an absolute natural on a balance bike. Since she was two years old she’s been scooting along, balancing with ease and maneuvering like a pro.

However, the transition to a bike with pedals has taken longer than expected. Despite the fact that she can scoot along on a tiny balance bike (long outgrown), lift up her feet and pretend to pedal, for some reason the idea of actually riding a pedal bike just sent her into meltdown. She’s had a ‘real bike’ for nearly a year, but for the most part it’s stayed in the shed, with the ever-more-unsuitably-small balance bike being chosen instead.

Anyway, we finally had a breakthrough. I took her, and her bike, to the park for the umpteeth time, and we tried again. And it clicked. And, of course, she could just ride it – it was purely a confidence thing. She also easily got the hang of braking, able to gently stop when required and put her feet down. She’s been riding it ever since, and hasn’t yet fallen off.

So now she is off. A bike rider. I’m planning to go out for a ride with her soon. Maybe we’ll go and buy ice cream.

Toddlers and vehicular cycling

July 25, 2013 at 22:45 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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Ever since Little Chillikebab got her first bike, she’s gradually getting better at riding it. She’s been riding it to the park sometimes, with me walking along. Whilst she still shuffles along a lot of the time, she is starting to get the hang of scooting along so the bike rolls while she lifts up her feet.

Riding balance bikeAs she’s getting quite proficient, when I needed to pop to the shop, I suggested that she could ride her bike, and I would ride mine too. She seemed quite excited about the idea of both riding, so I got her bike out of the garage and told her to take it to the end of the drive whilst I got the Radish out.

I glanced down the drive to see Little Chillikebab waiting for me at the edge of the curb, ready to go into the road.

‘No no,’ I called, ‘we’ll ride on the pavement.’

She looked back at me with a puzzled expression. “But bikes go on the road, Daddy!’ she said plaintively.

This was a problem I had not foreseen. Apparently years of ferrying her around on my bike has turned her into a committed vehicular cyclist. After some discussion (she was not ready to give up on the riding on the road idea easily) I convinced her that it was OK to ride on the pavement, and off we went.

She did really well. It was quite a challenge for me to ride that slowly, but we got there. I was expecting her to give up or get tired, but she rode the whole way  – about a kilometre or so. It’s mostly on a barely discernible downhill, which certainly helps, but I was very proud. My first bike ride with my daughter!

Toddler gets a Toddlebike!

May 10, 2013 at 11:33 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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toddlebikeEver since Little Chillikebab got her first bike, Toddler Chillikebab II has wanted to be able to ride it. And so we have to put her on and wheel her round (her feet don’t touch the ground), whilst her older sister looks on somewhat resentful that her bike has been commandeered.

Then Mrs Chillikebab came across the ‘Toddlebike’, in a review posted on the ever-reliable Cycle Sprog. Perhaps this was just the thing! So she ordered one from the UK, and the helpful people at Toddlebike shipped on over to us from the UK. It duly arrived, and Toddler Chillikebab II was off. It was love at first sight – she just jumped on an whizzed off. Within half a day she had learned that by lifting up her feet she can scoot even faster across the floor.

Big sister also had a go, and was able to ride it too, albeit to a series of indignant shrieks from her sibling –  ‘MY BIKE! MY BIKE!’.

It is super light, seems sturdy and well made, and is fun fun fun. Just like all bikes should be! Definitely a hit, and something I’d unhesitatingly recommend.

New bike!

December 31, 2012 at 14:31 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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weeride balance bike boxChristmas was a very exciting time in the Chillikebab household. A new bike was waiting underneath the Christmas tree! Unfortunately, it was not for me – but for my daughter, who has now reached an age where her full indoctrination can begin. Actually, in many ways I was more excited than if it had been for me.

She was very excited by her new balance bike, and had several goes – although was rather disconcerted that it didn’t stay up on it’s own. ‘It’s a bit wobbly,’ she kept saying, as it leaned one way then the other. Hopefully she’ll soon get the hang of it and be scooting along.

Balance bikes are the new way to teach kids to ride. Apparently giving them a bike with stabilisers (training wheels) creates a dependence on them, which is then very traumatic when they are removed. Reading some web sites you’d think that no-one ever learned to ride in the 1970s and 80s without significant mental scarring. Frankly I don’t really remember that going from stabilisers to no stabilisers was that big a deal, but balance bikes are the modern thing – they can learn to balance and steer first, and then add the pedalling later. I’m not so bothered about the metal scarring (harden up, toddler!), but when I see small kids scooting along on their balance bikes they look like they are having a ton of fun (compared to frantically pedalling some tiny bike and getting nowhere) so we gave it a go.

The balance bike I bought was a ‘Weeride’. I chose it for three reasons – because it is small (my daughter is small for her age), that it had pneumatic tyres, and that it was quite light and easy to carry. This last point is important; there are lots of very cool wooden balance bikes out there, but they are heavy and hard to carry. And as I realised when reading about other families’ experiences with these bikes you are going to end up carrying it quite often when little legs get tired on the way back from the park.

toddler_on_bikeIt also has a brake, which is a complete waste of time. Kids use their feet to slow and stop, and in any case the brake lever is a full sized-affair, meaning my daughter can’t get her fingers anywhere near it when she’s holding the handlebars. That notwithstanding, I felt obliged to spend half an hour on Christmas Eve adjusting so it worked reasonably well. I should have just taken it off.

So how has she taken to it? Well, she loves having a bike of her own, but I think is a little put off by how hard it is to ride. It does take some practise. Still, she has a little go most days, so I’m sure it won’t be long before she’s scooting along with confidence. At least, I hope so. The alternative is that she’ll be mentally scarred and traumatised by the thing, and will refuse to ever ride a proper bike – stabilisers or no.

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