Sunday, 15 January 2017

Bikes for Children

Bikes are often on the present wish-list, but as children grow so quickly its often tempting for parents to buy a cheap one. Unfortunately cheap bikes are poorly made and often as heavy as an adult bike. This means they don’t last and are difficult for a child to learn on and use. As a result they often end up unused and rusting before being consigned to the tip.

From the age of around three, there are several ways for your child to develop and gain confidence before going solo on two wheels. Trikes are a good way to get used to pedalling without having to learn to balance. Tag-alongs, attached to the back of an adult bike, are great when you want to take children along on a ride with you. Balance bikes, with no pedals, help a child to learn how to balance and steer without having to worry about pedals and gears.

At some point however your child will need to learn how to cycle a ‘proper’ bike. Stabilisers are often attached to a child’s first bike, but they can delay them learning how to balance the bike so, if used, gradually raise them off the ground as they get more confident.

The national cycling charity, Cycling UK, provide a useful guide to buying bikes for children but here is a quick summary of their top tips:

·        Buy a bike that fits your child now.
·        Make sure its not too heavy.
·        Suspension is dead weight and unnecessary.
·        More gears aren’t better.
·        Semi-slick tyres make the bike easier to pedal.
·        Handlebars should be higher than the saddle.
·        Brakes should be easy to use.
·        Cheap bikes are a false economy.

Islabikes and Frog Bikes make some of the best children specific bikes. The former can be test driven at their Ludlow HQ.  Several of the local independent bike shops stock or supply the latter.

Cycling on DVD

Cycling DVDs

Here’s a quick round up of recent cycling films and documentaries that make good stocking fillers for the cycling enthusiast in your life. You should be able to pick most of them up for under a tenner.

The Program. Certificate 15 (2016)

A bio-drama based on the Lance Armstrong doping scandal and how it was revealed by the Sunday Times journalist David Walsh (Chris O’Dowd).  The film chronicles Armstrong’s career from fighting cancer, to his racing successes and eventual downfall when his cheating and lying is finally exposed. Ben Foster plays a very convincing Armstrong.

On Yer Bike: A History of Cycling. (2015)

This is a 2 DVD historical collection of British cycling on film. Produced by the British Film Institute it features entertaining short dramas, animations, advertisements, newsreel items, and public information films with clips dating from 1899 to 1983.

Bicycle. (2014)

Why is the bicycle back in fashion? This documentary film explores this and tells the story of cycling in the land that invented the modern bicycle, it's birth, decline and re birth from Victorian origins to today. Covering topics like bicycle design, sport and transport it includes interviews with cycling notables such as Chris Hoy, David Brailsford and Gary Fisher.  There’s even a sequence of Chris Boardman at Echelon Cycles, Pershore.

Other cycling DVD’s released in the last 4 years include:

Cycling with Moliere. Certificate 15 (2014) French with English subtitles

The Kid With a Bike. Certificate 12 (2012) French with English subtitles

Pantani: The Accidental Death of a Cyclist. Certificate 15 (2014)

Janapar: Love, on a Bike. Certificate 15 (2013)

Mark Cavendish: Born to Race (2012)

Bicycle Movies Vol 1: The Short Film Collection. (2012)

Bicycle Movies Vol 2: The Last Kilometer/Moon Rider/Severn Deserts.  (2014)
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