When the wheels on the school bus halt in Yorktown, bicycle wheels will start their rotation for summer. For parents, this summer may be the first time they purchase a bike for their nascent cyclist, and before someone hit the pavement for the first time there are a few things to check.
Yorktown Cycles owner Tom Walsh says getting a bike that fits right and is sturdy and dependable is the first step.
The fit of the bike is really important. A lot of the time the parents want one thing, and what the kids want is a different thing, Walsh said.
The past few weeks have been busy for Walsh as many parents have stopped in to purchase their children bicycles. But what Walsh has also noticed is many parents look to purchase a bike that will last their child the longest, or one that they wont grow out of too quickly.To his trained eye though, he knows that to obtain the right fit and right height, longevity isnt always the best option.
We like to put the kids on the biggest bike possible for them so theyre able to spend as much time on that one bike as possible, but its important for them to be confident and comfortable with it too, Walsh said.
Walsh recommends visiting a bike shop that has a chart, like the one found in his store, one that can help aid in finding the right bicycle size for a childs height and age.
If the bicycle shopping training wheels are off, the next step is the helmet. The fit of the helmet is just as important to ensure your child has a safe and fun bike ride, says Walsh.
Ideally the head should fit up into the top of the helmet all the way and the helmet should sit right above the eyebrow, Walsh said.
For the younger cyclists, Walsh suggests trying out a balance bike, something his own son enjoys.
On [balance bikes] children pretty much walk with the bike and learn balancing, Walsh said. This can also replace a tricycle--my own son loves it.
If your bike is tuned-up and ready, and the helmet and bikes are the right fit, it's go time. Walsh recommended parents keep the seat down low so kids can start to feel comfortable, and to place the bike on an incline so there is some momentu. Many parents make a common mistake when trying to teach children how to ride by placing them on a flat surface.
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