When you have a growing toddler, there are certain things to buy that are on an imaginary tick-list. Paint set? Tick. Julia Donaldson books? Tick. Scooter? Tick. You look around at other kids for inspiration and ideas, because, when it’s your first child, you usually have to constantly learn what kids of that age are into, and need ideas for how to stimulate their minds and encourage their creativity.
For a while now, I’ve had ‘bike’ on my imaginary tick list. From chatting to other mums and reading blogs, I knew that age three is a pretty good age to get your kid using a bike. The options for bikes are either a) get a regular bike with stabilisers, to get the child used to pedalling, and then removing the stabilisers when they’re ready to balance themselves. Or b) get a balance bike, which has no pedals and encourages the child to balance and use their feet to propel themselves along. Then you buy a regular bike and teach your child to pedal.
Oh blimey, just the thought of it makes me want to sit down with a cold glass of wine. Or three. I know teaching your child to ride a bike is meant to be seen as a special experience – something you’d see in the opening credits of The Wonder Years – but I just envisage the child getting frustrated, falling off and scuffing their knees lots, and yells of “just pedal!”
But I digress. So those are the two choices when it comes to buying a child’s first bike. OR SO I THOUGHT.
Paul’s Yard make a whole different option of first bike – the Boomer 2 in 1 Balance bike. Made from steel (like a proper bike), the child uses it like a regular balance bike and then when they are old enough, you just attach the chain and pedals that come with it, and it transforms into a proper bike. Genius.
We have been road testing the red Boomer 2 in 1 Balance bike (it’s so red and shiny!) for Paul’s Yard, and so far, we love it. The three-year-old loves the novelty of just having a bike – something she’d previously only seen older boys and girls with. One important point to make is that when Paul’s Yard say that this bike is recommended for 3 years and up, they mean it. We received the bike a few months ago, and being a typical blasé mum, I thought our nearly-three-year-old would be fine on it (“She’s used her friend Ethan’s balance bike before, so she’ll manage this one,” I thought.) But her little feet didn’t touch the floor, even with the seat on its lowest setting. But a few months, and a little growth spurt, later and she can use it just fine.
Stuff I love about the Paul’s Yard Boomer 2 in 1 Balance bike:
- It was really quick to put together when it arrived – the less time that an impatient child has to wait for her new bike, the better, in my book.
- It’s sturdy and will take a bashing. I can’t be doing with flimsy toys.
- It has a handle on the back of the seat for parents to hold onto – really handy when you’re first using the bike and when they’re learning to pedal.
- The seat is adjustable by hand.
- The removable chain comes with a plastic chain guard to protect trousers and legs from getting oily.
At £130 it’s not a cheap option, but that includes postage and it’s kind of saving you in the long run - going for a 2 in 1 balance bike means you don’t have to fork out for a ‘proper’ bike in a few years time. Plus! Paul’s Yard is a family run business, based in North Berwick in Scotland. I love the idea of supporting a family business. Check out their website.