Velo News Pro Rider Diary : Amber Neben

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19 Feb ’10 Comments (6) Blog, Cycling Tips, Family Riding

Child Bike Rental Program

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Over at Velorution they talked about a program that rents the small push/glide bikes by the week.

This triggered many thoughts in my head as I love the push bikes instead of training wheels.  It allows a child to learn relying on themselves only, and not training wheels.  The learning curve is gentle and quickly conquered.  My shop sells the Strider running bike, light weight and under $100.

The biggest concern I’ve had with these Striders are once the child learns to ride it, they are ready for the next bike with pedals.  The purchase is very short lived if the child progresses quickly. Unless the parent has another smaller child, or perhaps a friend they could pass it on to.  Yes, these little things hold their value and could sell on Craigslist quickly, but why bother?

Now, what about a rental program to allow the child to try it?  A week for $20 seems fair to me.

Parents : What are your thoughts?

6 Responses to Child Bike Rental Program

  1. Keith Snyder says:

    The combination of high price and short usable life is the only reason I didn’t get these for my kids. As a result, they’re still on training wheels.

    $20/week would have worked for me.

  2. gwadzilla says:

    the “push bike” was something I was very excited about when my boys were at the training wheels age

    but… at that time there was not a 100 dollar option

    my kids went old school with training wheels

    both my boys had their training wheels off just after 4 years

    I always see kids on push bikes… but not sure if they get the kids riding a bike without training wheels any sooner

    it becomes something different

    I think the idea of having access to one of these for a week or two during the transition from bike with training wheels to bike without training wheels is an interesting idea

    because riding a bike is pedaling and turning in a way that I am not sure the kids get on the push bike

    http://gwadzilla.blogspot.com/search?q=push+bike

    I would have liked to try the technology with my boys
    but it just never happened
    now at six and 8 training wheels are a distant memory

  3. I think the useable lifespan of the prebike is a bit misunderstood. Kids can start on these bikes as young as 18-24 months. They won’t EFFICIENTLY being riding a pedal bike until they are 4 mainly because their legs are too short relative to the crank length. But, the whole time they are on the prebike/push bike/balance bike, they are learning vital bike handling skills. When they transition to a pedal bike, they are not at zero on the riding ability scale, they are QUITE good riders (and should be since they’ve been riding for more than 1/2 their life by this time. Pedalling is merely a form of propulsion. Riding is the art of balancing, steering, and leaning a two-wheeler. It is the same skill whether the bike is propelled by striding motion, pedalling motion, gravity downhill, or a motor. I’ve also noticed that kids with prebikes have at least a year of overlap where they will ride both the prebike and the pedal bike. The prebike is a fraction of the weight of the pedal bike and can go places that the pedal bike can’t. It has a fun-factor for little riders that they just don’t find on a pedal bike until they get much stronger and taller. I’ve seen so many kids thrive on prebikes and gain so much confidence and coordination that I’d hate for the value of a prebike to be underestimated. I hope that is helpful to the discussion.

  4. steve says:

    These make sense if you could rent one for a week – assuming that is a reasonable period. It could be part of a package that includes the child’s first real bike. I could see this being a good story a salesperson could use and it might bring in new customers via word of mouth as other parents saw this as a solution.

  5. wari says:

    What I do is get a cheap bike, take off the training wheels, pedals and cranks, and there you go, a push bike. May not is as light or as good as an actual specially designed push bike, but it works for me.

    My daughter is now happily pedaling on the same bike, after I put back the cranks and pedals, and is ready for a bigger bike.

    Two bikes for the price of one, all you need is a bit of initiative, and some willingness to get your hands dirty.

  6. Ed says:

    Push bikes are to some extent a “lifestyle” choice. There are relatively inexpensive push bikes, inexpensive solutions (remove pedals) and then there are the $$$ LikeABikes – a push bike as design artistry in the same sense a $$$ Italian bike is.

    Push bikes can be used at 18months and up – by they time they are on them for some time they have learned MANY more bike riding skills that take much more effort to learn on a pdeal bike (like banking a turn via body english).

    They also have much more bike control confidence (the ability to STOP on a dime).

    I think the point of a push bike rental misses the point – push bikes are a mode unto themselves rather than merely a means to substitue for “training wheels”. For one – most kids bikes are single speed – and a push bike by definition has infinite “cadence to ground speed” ratios – which has (IMHO) additional bike handling aspects which they can learn easily.

    I have no intention of “upgrading” to a pdeal bike until I a soildi set of push bike handling skills. When the kids start pulling “tricks” onthe LikeABike – I’ll know its time to get a pedal bike (and they will be “zoom” at that time!)

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