Saturday, February 18, 2017

Riding a Bike

It was around the time Elizabeth turned 2 and we were trying to figure out what on earth to give a 2 year old. After hearing so many raving reviews on balance bikes, we decided it would be the perfect gift. By the age of 2, she was adept at some things but using pedals was not her forte. So I input "balance bike" into google and happened upon the site "Two Wheeling Tots".

After reading reviews and trying to find a good deal we decided to buy a Strider brand balance bike off Zulily. We gave it to her for her birthday in June and of course all she could do was walk with the bike between her legs. But she faithfully practiced that for the rest of the summer and into fall and then winter came.

The next spring she gained confidence and began to glide. So much that by the end of the summer she was gaining momentum and was able to stay seated on the seat and lift her feet after getting herself going. We had read that balance is the first step to riding a bike and it proved true. By the next summer she was a bit big for her strider and we began hunting for the perfect first bike.

Again I turned to "Two Wheeling Tots" and asked advice, read reviews, learned about biking and made a decision. Because we have a petite sister ready to inherit this first bike we ultimately decided upon the Cleary Gecko. And for her 4th birthday she received her first big girl bike.

When making our decision there were a couple of things that were important to us. We have the motto for our parenting that goes along the lines of "start how you want to continue". We wanted to get her off to the right step biking so that she would be confident and controlled going forward. We really wanted her to learn to use hand brakes from the start and to eliminate the use of a "coaster brake" (back pedal to stop). I had read enough in my research to learn that kids often back pedal to explore what riding is like and a coaster can frustrate young riders. This was true because while at some friends houses' she definitely got frustrated trying to ride the average box store bike. We also wanted it lightweight and for it to be her size so she grew in confidence. Also we did not want to rely on training wheels at all. Since she knew how to balance already, adding training wheels seemed like moving backwards.

The Gecko was just a smidge bigger than her balance bike but she started gliding just as she did with her balance bike, reached her feet up and off she went pedaling. That friends was worth the extra money and definitely made for an easier parenting moment. It's technically a 12" bike but was the perfect starter and will work great for her smaller and younger sister.

We absolutely knew that she would only get one riding season out of the Gecko so I managed to find it with a discount and it was money well spent. When researching bikes again for this next summer, I again reached out to "Two Wheeling Tots". Their expertise has been exceptional and extremely helpful. After sharing where we were at, hoping to skip a 16" bike knowing we wanted some longevity with this purchase, they led us to the Pello Reddi.

The Pello is an amazing bike. It's a 20" bike but doesn't have gears since our 4.5 year old is a bit young for gears and they are un-necessary right now.  It has dual hand brakes and is an incredible bike. It's lightweight, sits a bit more upright, and lastly our daughter loves it. It's a bike you want to ride and it's extremely responsive.

I was able again to contact the company and secure a discounted bike. The one she has is a second...there were some tiny paint flaws but it saved us money. And now our family is able to head out the door biking the trails in our new neighborhood. We went out today and Elizabeth rode almost 5 miles with a smile on her face. She could get up the hills and control her speeds well.

I can't recommend Two Wheeling Tots enough. If you are researching or looking for bikes for your kids, reach out to them. It has made all the difference for our family. (And know they have bikes in all price ranges that they recommend.)

*just a little blurb on biking...we get a lot of questions and comments because she can bike so well already and thought I would share for anyone who cared:)*

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