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Family Cycling Help

Are you searching for a new bike for yourself or one of the kids?  Maybe you’re looking for a practical solution to carry them with you on your bike along with the weekly shopping. From Trailers to Kid’s Seats to Tag-alongs to Stabilisers to finally their Own Bike, in our shop we have everything you will need. Come in or call for impartial advice.


THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A KIDS BIKE

1: QUALITY FRAME, SIMPLE DESIGN i.e. No rear suspension, light weight, solid construction, aluminium preferably.

Below is an example of a heavy, poor quality full suspension kid’s bike. It aims for the wow factor rather than being good quality and trouble free.


2: SUSPENSION: Look only for suspension on bikes of a 20 inch wheel size or above. Avoid rear suspension as on children’s bikes as it increases the weight dramatically, also the other components will suffer.


3: GEARS: Gearing should only be fitted to bikes of 20 inch wheel size and above. 20 inch wheel bikes should have a maximum of 5 or 6 gears on the rear,  this will introduce your child to gearing. Only look for more gears on a 24 inch wheel or above.


4: COMPONENTS: Look for branded components e.g. Shimano or Sram gears and brakes. Branded parts ensure quality design and correct function.  Ensure brake levers and calipers are made of metal and not plastic. Plastic brakes are poor quality and will not provide easy action strong braking. Also try to avoid a very knobbly tyre, as a semi-knobbly tyre will roll easier along the road and enable a smoother ride.


5: BRANDS: Try to avoid brands associated with toy companies, films or fictional characters. These bikes will not have been designed for proper cycling.   Reputable cycling brands such as Trek, Ridgeback, Specalized, Giant, Dawes and Gary Fisher spend a lot of time researching and developing bikes specifically for children. They take into account the comfort, style, biomechanics and size of many different children to gauge what is required in the bikes that they produce.


6: LOOK FOR CORRECT SIZE: Don’t only look for the size of bike that the child will grow into, look for the size of bike that fits them correctly now. Buying a bile that is too big for the child to control will not only knock their confidence it will make cycling the bike harder until they do grow into it. As a guide expect the child to sit on the saddle and hold the bike up comfortably, also ensure that they can reach the handle bars easily. A feature of more and more children’s bikes is adjustability. Lots of bike have adjustable handlebars and stems which can bring the position of the handlebars closer to the rider or further away to suit the size of the child.


7: AGE GUIDE…….    These are very approximate sizings as nothing can replace coming into the shop and sitting your child on a few bike to get the size right. Childrens bikes are usually sized by the wheel size.

12 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes – Age 2 ½ to 3

14 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes – Age 3-4

16 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes – Age 4 ½ -6

20 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes- Age 6-8

24 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes – Age 8-9

26 Inch Wheel Boys & Girls bikes – Age 9 plus (13inch – 16inch adults frame)

 


8: WHERE TO RIDE with younger riders?

Riding with small children (under 7’s approx) is slow going but you can still have a fun family day out if you know where to go…..

Most of the time it is a case of walking or jogging alongside while the child grows in strength and confidence. Rather than head to the park every time, here are a few other suggestions to give the child and adult a little more variety and interest. At this age rides need to be pretty flat, as traffic free as possible and on good surfaces.

See the ROUTES section of our website for downloads and information on where you can ride around the Marlow and the Chilterns.

 


THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN AN ADULTS BIKE

Get outside and see the world!

So what do you need to consider when choosing a bike for family use? Well there are 3 main things to think about.

1.  Where are you going to be riding ?

The type of terrain you will encounter on your ride is a big factor in selecting the right bike. The more off road(non tarmac road) you do the greater the need for a wider tyre whilst if the majority of riding is road based, a bike with a larger wheel and narrower tyre will be quicker and require less effort.

2.  What is a comfortable ride?

Some people really like to have an upright riding position whilst some don’t.Do you want suspension in the forks or even through the seat post? If you want a lighter,faster bike you may want to go without suspension entirely.

3.  Riding without the Children? A leisure orientated bike is ideal for family adventures but do you envisage going out much on your own or with friends? If you see yourself doing some more challenging riding without the kids in tow you may need a higher spec bike.

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Multi-Purpose Hybrids   Versatile and stylish, light weight Aluminum frames, wide range gearing and a suspension fork to smooth out your ride, Comfort Hybrid bikes are a great choice for people who need a bike for every occasion. Much like road bikes, hybrids use larger diameter wheels and wider ratio gears compared to comfort and mountain bikes, this allows them to roll quickly on the road and easily tackle hills. They utilize suspension forks, riser handlebars and medium width, semi slick tires to handle tow paths and gravel tracks with ease. With rack fittings capable of carrying pannier bags and other loads, hybrids have become a firm favorite riders looking for a multipurpose bicycle. The hybrid bike is a true jack off all trades!

Click here to find the right hybrid for you!

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Hardtail Mountain Bikes   These are great family bikes as they have suspension at the front only which means you can still fit child seats, trailers and trailer bikes without a problem.
Mountain
bikes under £500 tend to be slightly more upright than more expensive models as the manufactures presume they are going to be used for leisure purposes.  They are great for the off road and road as they have efficient 29in wheels and the front suspension will soak up lumps and bumps.  You can still use them on the road without a problem, the only disadvantage is that they have more drag on tarmac than other types of bikes.

Click here to find the perfect hardtail mountain bike for you!

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