The ultimate Christmas gift for kids: Islabike
Before a few weeks ago, I thought a kids’ bike was just that… a kids’ bike. But I’ve since learned – thanks to my daughter and her new Cnoc 16 – that not all kids’ bikes are created equal.
The great thing about the Cnoc 16 is that it really is made for children. It’s not a heavy, difficult to manoeuvre lump of metal with wheels that make learning to ride a chore and something that is given up on – by parents and children alike – after a few half hearted attempts. These bikes are lightweight, easy to balance (just take off the wheels and it’s a balance bike so the kids can get the hang of how to stay upright. When they’re ready, pop the wheels back on and they’ll be pedalling in no time), and attractive too. It’s a grown up bike for children, and something they can be proud of using. My daughter loves hers for that very reason – don’t all children like to play at being a bit more grown up than they really are?
The Cnoc 16 is smooth to ride and easy to control. It makes children want to get on the saddle (which, as an added bonus, is simple to move to the right height) and actually use the bike as much as they can, so in terms of value for money it is well worth paying out for. The usage and enjoyment factor that comes from the Cnoc 16 is immense.
Another excellent and well thought out piece of engineering are the brakes. Before the Cnoc 16, my daughter didn’t use the brakes on her old bike. Not because she didn’t want to, or didn’t know what they were for (we explained plenty!), but because they were stiff and took a lot of squeezing for anything to happen to the bike. Her hands, at 5, are pretty small and the brakes were a struggle for me at times too. We even tried putting lubricant on them, to no effect. The brakes on the Cnoc 16, however, are perfect – they respond quickly and without much effort from the rider, and that means that the child on the bike is safer, more confident, and able to ride like a pro from the start!
All in all, the Cnoc 16 is the perfect bike for children. I wouldn’t look at another brand when it’s time to get the next size up.
It’s Christmas time, and children across the country have asked Father Christmas for a bike. If Santa needs a little help choosing the right make and model, then it’s worth remembering that the Cnoc 16 from Islabikes is the ultimate in design, technology, and comfort, making it something that your children will use time and again, rather than enjoy for a few days and leave to languish at the back of the garage with the Christmas decorations.
And getting the little ones out and about is a great resolution, and something the whole family can get behind. Family bike rides are fun, free, and fantastic for getting fit.
Teaching Your Child to Ride A Bike
Before we start, the first thing to mention is the issue of stabilisers. For years children’s bikes have come fitted with stabilisers, but that doesn’t mean they’re the right thing to use. We encourage parents to avoid stabilisers as they prevent children from learning to balance naturally and actually make the process of learning to ride a bike trickier.
Far better is to let your child use a balance bike before starting to learn a pedal bike. A balance bike will teach them the basics of balancing on two wheels and make the transition to first pedal bike much easier.
The second thing to understand is the age at which children are able to ride a pedal bike. Most children learn to ride their first pedal bike unaided between the ages of 3 ½ and 4 ½.
But children develop their cycling skills at different times. If it seems that your child isn’t quite get the hang of anything we’ll do here, don’t worry. Let them keep enjoying their balance bike for a few more weeks and try again later.
Now to the fun part – how to teach your child to cycle!
Find a large, safe, flat open space to use as your learning zone. Something with tarmac or a fairly firm surface is perfect. Long grass is too tricky for new riders to pedal on.
Now adjust the height of your child’s saddle so they can get the balls of their feet on the floor.
Put your child on their bike and stand behind them, holding them under their armpits. Don’t hold any part of the bike. We want the new rider to feel how their bike naturally moves underneath them.
Push your child along and let the bike wander in any direction. You can help steer the bike by leaning your child right and left. Doing this will let your child learn that leaning is part of the steering process.
If your children has learnt to balance on a balance bike, they may take a little while to grasp the concept of forward pedalling. Encourage them while they practise pedalling forwards.
If your child is ready to cycle unaided they should quickly get a feel for balance and you can gradually let go, but stay close by to catch them if anything goes wrong.
For nervous riders, you may need to stay with them a bit longer. That’s fine. Just let them know that you’re there, but you’re very gradually going to loosen your hold on them. Eventually they’ll be cycling unaided without even knowing it. The look of delight when they realise you’re no longer holding them and they’re cycling all by themselves is a moment to treasure.
The final part of the jigsaw is learning how to set off from stationary unaided.
For this, have your child put one of their pedals just past the top most part of the pedal circle. That means around the ‘5 to the hour’ position with the left leg, or ‘5 past the hour’ position with the right leg.
Now ask them to give a good push on this leg. With enough forward momentum they should be able to transfer both feet to the pedals, start pedalling and be a completely independent rider.