There are many times in life when buying the cheapest alternative for a child is a sensible option. Fish fingers, for example, are probably equally as un-nutritious no matter how much they cost you; School trousers will disintegrate at the same speed whether they’re from ASDA or John Lewis.
But your child will hate you if you buy them the cheapest bike you can find. Here’s why:
Cheap bikes are really heavy.
As an adult you’ll lift up a kids’ bike without much thought, the same way you’d throw shopping into the boot of a car. As a child, that 10kg of weight is like moving a refrigerator. You don’t want to ride a refrigerator, do you?
Imagine you’re a 7 year old girl who weighs 22kg. On average, a 20-inch bike from the supermarket will weigh something like 12kg. That’s over half her bodyweight! That would be like a 12 stone man riding a bike weighing over 40kg.
The brake levers on cheap bikes are hard to squeeze.
In the same vein as above, those kids’ bike brake levers you squeeze with your big gigantic man/woman hands may seem like a cinch. Now try it with tiny child hands (this experiment is difficult to replicate, so you’ll have to use your imagination.)
When you’re 7 years old and hurtling down a hill, you want to make sure you can stop hurtling down the hill without too much effort. The alternative: Deep-seated psychological issues that will stay with your child throughout their adult life.
Cheap bikes break more easily.
“What are children anyway?” asked Irish comedian Dylan Moran. “Midget drunks. They greet you in the morning by kneeing you in the face and talking gibberish.” In cycling terms, that means falling off your bike a lot, throwing it around the playground, and letting your clumsy overweight friend try it out in exchange for a gummy bear.
Kids love breaking things, even when it’s one of their favourite possessions – so don’t make it easy for them. Get your child a quality bike and they’ll love you forever*.
*Edinburgh Bike Co-op accepts no liability if your child stops loving you for other reasons.