Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ride on! A Junior Cyclist's Christmas Wish List

What's the best Christmas gift you could give the outdoor child who loves biking?  A new bike?  A bike upgrade?  Funky new helmet or cycling gloves?  Here is my Christmas gift guide for the junior cyclist in your family - guaranteed to make them squeal Christmas morning!

Ride on!  A Junior Cyclist's Christmas Wish List




One - A Spawn Cycles Bike

While you could go down to ToysRus or Walmart to pick up your child's first bike, there's nothing like an aluminum light-weight bike to help your child master the sport of cycling.  Whether your child prefers pavement or trails, a good bike will get them where they want to go faster.  My son got his Spawn Cycles 16" Banshee bike this spring and it was incredible to watch how quickly he went from average to amazing on the little green machine!  We transitioned from a balance bike to the new pedal bike in a couple of weeks and by mid summer, most of my son's friends could hardly keep up with him.  This isn't because he's a superstar athlete.  Truth be told, he's very average at sports.  But, we practice and ride hard, get out every day, AND he has a good bike.  We really see the difference a light bike makes on flat stretches when Noah is barely pedaling, and yet racing past his friends whose little legs are going like mad.

The Spawn Cycles 16" Banshee

The Spawn bikes are not cheap but they are an investment!  They can be passed down to siblings, onto friends, and then onto their siblings.  This isn't a bike that you throw away after a year when it's fallen apart.  We also know our son will get two years out of his bike and roughly 18 months of use.  How much would you expect to pay for swimming lessons for 2 years?  Or gymnastics classes?  When you break the cost down per month, you'll be paying roughly $20/month.  Pass the bike onto your next child and it goes down to $10/month per kid.   That's not bad for a sport your child can do 9 months of the year here in Canada.  (12 months if you're hard core or live somewhere much warmer.) 

My Junior Rider

To read the full review I wrote on the Spawn Banshee, visit Kids on Wheels - Choosing a Good Bike.  For more information on the complete line up of Spawn Cycles bikes, visit their website at Spawn Cycles.  Their pedal bikes come in 14", 16" and now 20" with the new Spawn Cycles Savage 1.0 and 2.0.

Off Trail Riding on the Spawn Banshee

I can think of no better gift for an outdoor kid than a new bike under the Christmas tree this year.   And it's the perfect time to justify buying a new bike, right?   To arrange international shipping of a Spawn Cycles bike to your house, or to pick one up in Calgary where they are made, visit the Spawn Cycles website.  (Order NOW for all Christmas orders.  They sell out fast.)

Fall Riding


Two - A Fun New Bike Helmet

How much fun would it be to see a cool new bike helmet under the tree with jets, spaceships, bright colorful flowers, frogs or monkeys on it?  Those are just a few of the designs that Specialized Bicycle Components features on their Small Fry toddler's and children's helmets.  You've got to wear a helmet so you might as well make it as fun as possible to wear one.  Style is everything - even to children.  And who knows, maybe that child who protests and fights every time you pull out the bike helmet would finally agree to wear it if they got to choose a fun new design.

Specialized Small Fry Toddler Helmet


Three - Bike Gloves

Safe and Fun!  When a kid falls, it's inevitably the hands that take some of the worst beating.  But it's so preventable.  Buy a cheap pair of bike gloves and your child is not only cool (I'm a real biker now!)  but safer and protected from falls.  We actually had a rule in our house when Noah was learning to ride his bike that he didn't get on it unless he was wearing a helmet, long pants, AND gloves.  Nothing ends a bike ride real fast like scraped hands or knees.  I like to see Noah in a long shirt too but I know this really isn't practical in summer.  Light gloves though - totally doable.

Off Trail Riding with Bike Gloves - recommended!

We bought the MEC Wheelie Bike Gloves, which at $14 screams Stocking Stuffer!!  And yes, they come in sizes small enough for even a 3 year old.  Pretty cool, right?


Four - Their Very Own Bike Jersey

If you watch cycling on TV with your child, they will know that real cyclists wear jerseys.  How cool would it be therefore to get one of their very own?  And while they are super hard to find, Rocky Mountain Rags out of Colorado has a great kids' collection of jerseys.   MEC usually sells a couple of kids' bike jerseys too but they are currently out of stock.  :(

One of our friends showing off his bike jersey at the Canmore Nordic Centre


Five - A bell!

I'm pretty sure it's required by law to have a bell on your bike here in Canada.  And who doesn't want to have one on their bike anyway?!  Especially for kids - it's the best part about their bike.  And again, another great idea for stocking stuffer!!

Little Bike, Big Bell


And for the child yet to become a Cycle Master - a Balance Bike

Skip the training wheels and teach your child to ride with a balance bike.  Spawn Cycles has a balance bike called the Spawn Tengu which comes complete with hand brakes.  (unusual for a balance bike.)  This is a great option for the dare devil child who can't stay away from hills and is destined for big wipe-outs without a brake. (My son could have used one.)

Mountain Biking on the Strider Balance Bike

For the younger tykes just learning to ride, weight is more important than a brake.  (you may disagree with me and that's fine.)  We did a lot of bike hikes with our Strider Balance Bike which involved me carrying the bike up hills, mountains, and steep paths so that my son could ride on flatter terrain up top (or ride down from the top.) For me, a light weight balance bike was more important than something that had brakes.  I had to be able to carry the bike, and the Strider bike is the lightest on the market hands down.  It's also the smallest balance bike out there for those little 2 year olds or even small 3 year olds with short legs.  Think your child is too small for a balance bike, then you need to see the Strider bike to believe how young kids really can be!  My friend's 2 year old is rocking his!!  You can also get a seat extender to provide an extra year of riding to older kids (my son used one this year) or colored wheels like Noah has in the photo below (which would be a fun gift if your child already had a bike.)

Strider Bike Hiking on Nose Hill

Never too young to start riding! (photo:  J. Sollid)
This Christmas, put a balance bike under the tree for your child and you'll be able to teach him or her to ride it in your basement or living room until the snow melts a bit. For bikes, new tires, and other Strider Accessories in Calgary, contact Alberta Balance Bikes.  For $10, you can have a new bike shipped right to your door for Christmas.

AND, want to take your Strider Bike Skiing?  Check out this video of the Strider Ski Attachment.   (Review to come soon so watch for it.)



What's on your Junior Cyclist's Christmas List?


Disclaimer:  I have worked with Spawn Cycles, Specialized Bicycle Components and Alberta Balance Bikes this year.  All thoughts and opinions however are entirely my own and this post was not sponsored by anybody.

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