Monday 27 October 2014

The three amigos #HalfTermFun

UPDATE, Two of the amigo's were changed! Updated link here in a moment!

Well summer has been and long gone and the weather is being somewhat kind to us so far with fair temperatures, perfect cycling and scooting weather. and with that it's time for a proper introduction of the Three amigo's

Let's start with my youngest's bike.
It's an  Avigo Precious, to be fair a very lightweight starter bike for a child.
All I've done to this bike is upgrade the saddle to a Selle Royale Lollipop child saddle, LED lights for the night rides (I kid you not Lissy wants to night rides) and the darker nights drawing in we'll need them for the fairer school pedals

Next we have a Professional Blush, a repaired and recycled bike, It's the bike we'll be training Vee on and once riding independently we'll continue to turn this rusty unloved set of wheels into a fun little tool for a monster.

To complete this bike requires new brake pads, LED lights and chain cleanup or replacement and a Lollipop seat to make it comfortable for Vee

Lastly we have Gramps, an old Raleigh Outland steel bike, aged approximately 22 years old. Weighs a flipping tonne but has had an easy life, well until I got my hands on him that is.
Upgraded bars, brakes, shifters, crankset and wheel.

While these may be three bikes there may be a shimmer of hope for Naughtybike yet. We'll see soon but over the half term while we've got the weather I'll be on the bikes as much as possible with the girls. Even if we end up scooting just as many places It'll be fun and I'll hope to document some of it.

Edit: I've had the odd PM telling me the two children's bikes look like dreaded Bike Shape Objects, while this may be the case they both have a serious advantage to BSO's and that's their weight. For instance the other child bike we had weight far too much for a child to learn to ride on.
Sadly this is a common thing with cheaper bikes and there is nothing we can do unless manufacturers are willing to up prices a bit and make them with higher quality parts. That said, adult bikes have the same problem too thanks to cheaper processing plants and lower quality assistance, meaning more dangerous lumps of metal destined for landfill or the scrapvan.

While I would never tell someone what to buy  but with christmas around the corner and many companies will start selling utter junk cheap *happens every year* bikes I would urge you to take the following on board:

Don't buy customer returns or end of run products offered by companies like Stirling House (it was the damaged returned, patched and resell junk resale dept of Universal Cycles, trust me I have the scars to prove it!) Luckily Stirling and Universal and some of the once amazing bike brands were sold to Sports Direct, but looking at some of the bikes they sell it's clear they are not high quality. While there may be a few they are few and far between!

If you can go and look at the bike you're interested in purchasing. Touch and feel, the only way to tell if a bike will be too heavy, the seat offering no cushioning for growing bones and bottoms and whether things move as they should.

Ignore things like Suspension, or motorbike styles, all it does is weigh the bike down, unless it's a high specification £300+ child's mountain bike bought for a specific reason they won't need it,
similarly with twist grip gears, unless made by SRAM or Shimano they will be less than up for the abuse a child will give them and fall apart over time. (any components by Sunrace, Falcon or unbranded walk away from)

Sizing is important. Many bikes will be adaptable to a child for a few years and some for a lot longer due to the frame design, in this case it may be practical to by at one size which may fit all for a while. (I know some Ridgebacks and Islabikes have children's frames with this in mind)

If the child knows they are getting a bike, take them to be measured by an expert in a local bike shop, the more knowledgeable Halfords staff or go local with CycleLife independent retailers are a good place to start on this to get the best bike for your children.

One more thing. Don't think of it as "just a bike" for many kids they only ride a little bit but with the right bike they'll want to ride more and more, which helps keep them fit and healthy and cycling has been proven to make people happier than walking or driving (not a cycling vs driving rant) so it benefits you in many ways. If you want ways to get on your bike speak to me or anyone at Sustrans and we'll help you find places for you or your children to ride to the best of your current abilities. If you live in Central Beds and we get enough demand I'll see about organising a cycling day in Dunstable to show you what's available for all.


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