I am slightly concerned that in this blog I may come across as a sanctimonious, tree hugging, earth mother who spends every waking moment gambolling through the grass with her rosy-cheeked daughter. In reality, I worked full time from when CJ was very small, until very recently. I spent yesterday in the Trafford Centre buying CJ new shoes. No park love was felt. Not even any Trafford Park love. I love living where I do, because there are so many green spaces, but it is also within 20 minutes of the middle of Manchester, where I can do all manner of cultural things combined with all manner of eating and drinking opportunities.
Now that I have “shared” I will return to the parklove. Today seems a good day to discuss “bigbike”. I spend alot of time discussing “bigbike”, because CJ can barely ride it 100 metres before another parklover has approached me to enquire about what it is and where they can get one. Therefore, I thought a post on balance bikes, as they are properley called, might be of assistance to anyone who has spotted CJ enjoying hers in any of my photos and would like to know more.
The idea of these nifty little beam machines, is that your child learns to balance and can then progress more easily to a real bike when they are ready. I am no expert, so I will refer you to a site about balance bikes, which gives an explanation as well as a variety of different brands and stockists. I also found this article about teaching your kids to ride bikes, which I thought people might find useful.
Speaking from personal experience – and emphasising that I am completely unbiased and no-one has sent me freebies or anything – I would say it is the best money that we have spent on CJ. We bought her one for her 2nd birthday and I have not used her buggy since. She can ride much further on the bike than she’d be able to walk and she rides it at a speed that I sometimes have to jog to keep up with ( and I used to be a racewalker). She got the hang of balancing on it very quickly. For a glimpse of the super-cuteness of this, have a look at the short video clip I found on another website here.
We chose a wooden one, which is light to carry. Important as, inevitably, there are times when I end up with CJ under one arm and the bike under the other. It’s also small enough to be chucked in most boots (I have a Beetle with a non-too capacious boot).
I actually did more research for this post than I did when buying it, so I think we probably have one of the more expensive brands, but it is robust and adjustable, with proper tyres that you can pump up. What we did do though, was a good search round on t’internet to get one much cheaper than the RRP (think we paid about £80). Other than a buggy and cot, I think it’s probably the most expensive thing we’ve bought CJ, but it’s worth every penny and should last for a few years. I should point out that I am really quite tight, so I don’t take spending that amount of money on a 2 year old lightly. However, using a cost per use calculation, similar to the cost per wear that some people like to use to justify purchasing expensive items of clothing, it has cost us practically nothing. Be prepared for lots of people to come and ask where you got it from though!