Picking the Best Size Bike For Your Child

by Christopher P Clark - Date: 2010-11-16 - Word Count: 517 Share This!

Bicycling can be a great way for your child to get a little extra exercise. Learning to ride a bike is also a right of passage for many children. If you've decided to purchase a bicycle for your little one, put a lot of thought into this choice. One that is the wrong size will make learning to ride difficult, if not impossible, for your child. Choosing the right bike for your child depends on a wide range of factors, which begin with age, gender and height. Naturally, you want to make sure that your child is safe and comfortable, and with bicycling, this begins with choosing the right style.

If you're just getting started with teaching your child to ride, you'll want to start on a bike with training wheels, which prevent it from tipping over. The overall purpose of training bikes is to get your child familiar with being on a bicycle and pedaling, without them having to worry about balance Bicycles come in a variety of heights that correspond to different age ranges. What you want to remember is that your child should be able to sit comfortably on the bicycle and should be able to touch the ground with both feet while holding the handlebars.

For your child's first bicycle, consider purchasing a bike store, where the staff will help you try several bicycles. Try adjusting the seat and handlebars until your child is comfortable. Once he or she is comfortable make sure that they can touch the ground on either side. No doubt this will be an exciting experience for your child! They may even want to ride a few laps around the store on the bike you're purchasing.

Children's bicycles are typically measured by the diameter of the wheels. If your child measures 34" tall or less, a 12" bike is probably the right size. Likewise, children measuring 34 to 42 inches tall should try a 16 inch bike, and 42 - 48 inches tall should ride a 20" bike. There are also 20" and 24" bicycles for older children. Remember that these sizes are just a guideline - your child may need to go up or down a size to find a comfortable fit.

When do you need to buy a new bicycle for your child? This is best done when your child has grown so much that their old bike is no longer comfortable to ride. Though most bike seats can be adjusted as your child grows, there will come a point when it's time to upgrade.

As an alternative to a bike with training wheels, you may consider purchasing a "balance bike," which is a bike that has no pedals and is designed for kids as young as two years old. Another option, which is particularly great for young toddlers, is a tricycle, pedal car, or other ride-on toy. These toys are a great way to get your child exercising and get them used to the idea of pedaling before they're tall enough for a real bicycle. Most kids are ready for a bicycle with training wheels sometime between the ages of three and six.

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