How to choose your child’s Christmas present

You’ll be pleased to hear that it’s quite easy. You’ll be even more pleased to hear that less is more. No one wants to be a pushy parent pedalling pushbike presents on to an unwilling kid. The key is to calm down, if you can.

10375519_1459547187617583_2044061155_nI have a two-and-a-bit year old. He’s already got a balance bike. I couldn’t wait until Christmas to get him it. As soon as his legs were long enough… BOOM. We got him a balance bike.

Our kid enjoys bizzing around on that to the nearby park and back. I wouldn’t say he’s mega into it though. His bike almost certainly plays second fiddle to Octonauts for example. But he currently likes two wheels and is forever seeing his Dad and his Mum pedalling off somewhere. Bikes are normal to him.

Two-and-a-bit is a funny age. It’s a bit inbetweeny. Old enough to sort of understand Christmas but too young to really concentrate or focus on anything major. A big part of me is tempted not to get our child much of anything for Christmas – and certainly nothing bike-related this year. His grandparents are bound to go massively OTT anyway. Toy avalanche!

The only cycling-related thing me and my wife are maybe considering getting is a child trailer. But that’s just going to look more like a gift for us than for our child isn’t it? (Truth be told, it probably would be)

Anyway, that’s our problem. What about you?

Leaving bikes aside for the moment, what other cycling stuff can you give your kid on Christmas Day? Here are a few ideas…

camlebak skeeter blueCamelbak Skeeter

Merlin Cycles price £26.99

There are some slight practical reasons for getting your child a Camelbak. There’s no room for a water bottle in most kids bikes etc etc.

But the main selling point is that it is extremely cute to see small kids wearing hydration packs! The Skeeter is not a toy hydration pack. It’s a proper Camelbak. 1.5 litre bladder. Full-flow bite-valve (with lock-ability). Adjustable straps. Mesh-lined back panel.


skully led lightsSkully LED Lights

Merlin Cycles price £19.99

No kid wants boring bits on their bike. Not many kids appreciate been made to do something because it’s ‘safer’. So the chances of getting your child to (willingly) stick some lights on their bike is usually pretty slim.

Enter the Skully lights. Easy to fit. Easy to remove once wintertime is over and it’s less dingy out there. And they’re shaped like skulls. These are lights that your kid will want to use.


melon kids helmet whiteMelon Kids Helmet

Merlin Cycles price £39.99

Sorry to bang on about safety again. Cycling should be about having fun, not being worried. But it’s a good idea to get your child used to the idea of wearing a helmet nonetheless.

Melon helmets are brilliant. Good designs. Good protection. Not heavy or cumbersome. Good amount of space for plastering stickers all over them. And they come with different size pads for switching to as your child’s bonce gets bigger.


morvelo junior 1985 cycling jerseyMorvélo Junior Cycling Jersey

Merlin Cycles price £36.00

Short sleeve jerseys for kids might sound a bit of a silly thing to get in the middle of winter. So we’d probably advise erring on the side of getting a bigger size. That way your kid can wear a long sleeve layer underneath it comfortably. And when summer comes along the kid will no doubt have grown a bit and they can wear the jersey on its own.

Morvélo’s jerseys – child or adult – are some of the most stylish in the business. Their sizing information sheet is very useful too when choosing a jersey for a child.


park ib2c i beam multi tool

Park Tool I-Beam Multi Tool

Merlin Cycles price £12.95

If your child is anything like mine, they love messing with tools. Being 2-and-a-bit years old I don’t think I’ll be getting him a multi-tool just yet. I’d actually be a bit wary of giving most children a multi-tool for fear of them messing with some important bolts!

This gift idea is for much older kids. Kids who keep nicking your multi-tool basically! The I-Beam has enough tools on it to be useful but not too many as to be excessive.


7391_hornit_db140_cycle_horn

Hornit DB140 Cycle Horn

Merlin Cycles price £29.95

You will possibly regret buying this.

It’s an EXTREMELY loud bicycle horn. Like, 140 decibels of loud.

(It does thankfully have a ‘low’ volume setting too).


5495_merlin_gift_vouchers

Merlin Cycles Gift Voucher

Available in amounts from £5.00 to £100.00

Now then, I used to hate getting gift vouchers at Christmas. I didn’t understand them. “Why not just give me a real £5 note?”

But nowadays I understand. Gift vouchers are a way of giving a bit of choice to the child whilst also giving the giver a bit of a say as to what pastime they want the child to spend the money on.


Bikes!

Alrighty then. You want to get your kid a bike for Christmas. Good. That will make Jesus very happy. JC is a big cycling fan.

Where to start?

Toddlers

If your child is 2 years old then I’d recommend getting them a balance bike. Balance bikes teach your child the fundamentals of cycling. The fundamentals being momentum and balance.

frog tadpole purple

Frog tadpoleMerlin Cycles price £100.00

All the pedalling and chain stuff can come later. It just confuses things.

As do stabilisers. Stabilisers actively prevent your child learning how bikes work and feel. They promote passive ‘passenger’ riding.

Primary school age

If your child is a bit older and has progressed on from balance bikes, then you can introduce bikes that have pedals and chains.

frog 48 kids bike purple

Frog 48Merlin Cycles price £190.00

If your child is under 5 then don’t be tempted to get them a bike with gears. Kids don’t need gears. They’re confusing, distracting, add weight and go wrong.

Similarly don’t saddle your kid with a bike that has front or rear suspension. Or disc brakes. That stuff is all looky-likey junk that doesn’t work and will actually detract from the ride.

A simple but well-made singlespeed bike with suitable size wheels will be loads more fun to ride.

felt f24x kids cyclocross bike

Felt F24X Kids CyclocrossMerlin Cycles price £579.00

From the ages of 5 or 6 and up, bike choice gets a bit more varied and interesting. Bikes begin to resemble adult bikes a bit more. You can get kids road bikes, mountain bikes and even cyclocross bikes. Again, less is more. You need to keep kids bikes as light as possible and reliable.

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