Is there any childhood rite of
passage as exciting as learning to ride
a bike? A shiny two-wheeler makes
the transformation from toddler to big
kid complete. While most little ones
are happy to jump on anything in their
favourite colour, parents need to consider
a bit more than blue or red.
Choosing a bike style isn’t cut-and-dry.
Pedal-free “run bikes” are experiencing
a comeback, challenging training-wheel
When it comes to a child’s
first bike, is it better
to push or to pedal?
models with the argument that, by
running and coasting, a child gets a leg
up on learning how to balance, making it easier to move to a two-wheeler.
That said, training-wheel models are
still popular, says Miles Spencer, floor
manager at St. Albert’s Source for Sports.
Run bikes, while great for family walks,
don’t exactly work for family bike rides,
he says. That, and the undeniable fact
that “kids like to pedal.”
Kids learn to ride bikes at all different
ages. When is often based on their height
and strength. The International Bicycle
Fund, a non-profit organization promot-
ing bicycle transportation, recommends a
child have a 35- to 42-cm (14- to 17-inch)
inseam to ride a bike with 12-inch wheels.
Spencer suggests lining up your child’s
hip with the bike’s seat as a guide. Have
them stand beside the bike — their hip
and the bike seat should be level.
Everyone knows how fast kids grow,
and it can be tempting to invest in a bike
that’s too big in order to make it last a little
longer. But if your child isn’t comfortable,
they’ll resist riding altogether, says Spencer.
One sign the bike is too big is if the child
appears to be leaning too far forward
instead of sitting tall. A properly sized
bike and a Canadian Standards Association (CSA)-approved cycling helmet that
is correctly fitted to your child will start
your child on the right path to a lifetime of
happy cycling. — Shelley Arnusch
Big enough for
Your child’s inseam should
be 35 to 42 cm ( 14 to 17
inches) for a bike with
12-inch wheels, and their
hips should be level with