The coaches at Seacoast VeloKids get asked a lot about what bikes we buy our kids. Not only what bikes we buys our own kids but why we make the purchases we do for our program.
What is better than a kid's first bike? Maybe the second one, or the third…"
Here at Seacoast VeloKids we have some pretty strong convictions about how and where to buy bikes. If we summed them up they would be; Buy Quality/Safe; Buy Local; and Buy Smart
Buy Quality and Safety
First and foremost when buying a bike for anyone (especially a child) think safety. A child's bicycle should be well made and professionally assembled. I have seen far too many well meaning dads assemble bikes from Target or Walmart who are unknowingly putting their kids at risk. How much risk?
I recently read "In 2011, Walmart settled a lawsuit filed by a West Virginia couple who claimed their son was "thrown over the handlebars and hit the pavement face-first" when the front wheel of his bike broke free from the fork. Walmart blamed the bike's manufacturer, Pacific Cycle, for allowing "untrained personnel" at Walmart to assemble the bikes. The terms of the settlement were sealed by a judge and remain confidential."
This same article had an undercover reporter buy 4 bikes from big box stores and 3 of four failed safety inspections.
Link to article
I always recommend buying from your Local Bike Shop (LBS). Not only will you get a safer bicycle but you will get one that is properly sized for your child and one that can grow with your child. Buying local always makes more sense it keeps the impact of your consumer spending local - in your community. Also, local bike shops are the backbone of organizations like Seacoast VeloKids and if you enjoy our programs please support your local bike shops.
There are two great ways to buy smarter when it comes to purchasing a kids bike.
- Look for a bike your child can grow into. Many local bike shops offer bikes with "Growth Options" - think those cool extensible sleeves and pants on kids ski clothes.
- Look for local bike swaps. Purchasing a quality bike at a local bike swap is also very affordable and as your child out grows the bike - you can get back some of your money by bringing it back to the swap the following year.