Spread the simple joy of biking
As we enter another season of giving, we are inundated with messages about “hot holiday toys” for children. And while I have no particular opposition to Air Hogs Hyper Actives radio-controlled vehicles, or My Keepon Robots, I do question whether these gifts truly represent what kids want, or, more importantly, what we should want for our kids.
Though it may be tempting to buy a trendy toy, skip the lines and purchase one of the most iconic children’s gifts: a bicycle. Call me old-fashioned, but when I conjure up childhood memories, none measure up to the feeling I felt when I rode my first bike.
I learned to ride a bike when I was three, and that experience led to a childhood of independence, freedom, and health. I was probably the only four-year-old who rode his bike to preschool on Ohio’s Little Miami Scenic Trail. My bike was not just my way to have fun, but also my ticket to independence. I rode my bike everywhere: to elementary school, the pool, the store, and friends’ houses. As I entered high school it became a vehicle to get to sports practice, work, or anywhere else I wanted to go.
As an adult and a father, I love bicycling in all its forms—I use it for recreation, transportation, and exercise. It allows me to spend time with my family as well as maintain my physical and mental health. But what I appreciate most about bicycling is how it is helping my children develop into smart, independent, and healthy teenagers. My two sons are learning to be responsible and self-reliant while building healthy habits that will help in their development to adulthood. I can say with 100% certainty that Madden 2012 and Modern Warfare 3 will not have the same positive effects as a bicycle.
Functional and fun, bikes make the ultimate gift for kids because they can use it every day. More importantly, a bike will help your child develop independence and a healthy lifestyle. If you are considering purchasing your child’s first bike, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.
1. Stick to your budget
Children’s bikes come in a range of prices. Shop around, and determine which one will be within your budget.
2. Find the perfect fit
The right size and set up of the bike will make a big difference. Most bike shops will help guide you on the bike’s size.
3. Stock up on proper gear
Of course, this means a properly fitted helmet. Make sure your child has pants that won’t get caught in the chain, and a good pair of sneakers to safely pedal.
As we set out to make holiday wishes come true, I challenge you to carefully consider your purchase decisions. Certainly we all desire to see that look of unbridled joy dance across the faces of our little ones. In my opinion, there’s no gift that will have the lasting impact of a sparkling, new two-wheeler.
PFB Vice President Bruno Maier on his first bike