It’s amazing what you can come across online by complete accident. One minute it’s D.I.Y puff box’s and the next it’s handlebar bags for trikes and balance bikes!I found this gem of a handmade good on the My Handmade Home blog. The woman is a full time mom, with an Etsy/online business that specializes in items for kids. Feel free to check out her store. I don’t think the bag is listed on her Etsy store, Josh & Teo, but I’m sure she’d be more than happy to make one by request!
The famously crazy patterned helmet makers, Nutcase, makes some of the best toddler and kids helmets available. They tend to shy away from marketed characters (Disney, Dora, Blue’s Clues) and stick to fun, basic designs. Many of them are non-gender specific which makes it great for people who are planning on having a few kids down the line.
Another great concept that has been growing in popularity is balance bikes. I strongly believe that this is the route parents should go, in order to teach their kids how to safely and effectively ride a bike. I’ve heard a few horror stories of when people were first learning how to ride and how biffing it big time made them never want to ride again.
Balance bikes teach kids the much needed ability to steer and balance their weight on a bike. They push themselves along with their legs and feet rather than pedaling and teeter-totting back and forth on training wheels. Training wheels actually go against the natural feeling of what it’s like to ride a bike and can cause children to take longer to learn how to ride.
If you’re concerned with your child outgrowing the balance bike, you can look into models that are designed to grow with the child. At one point Trek even made a balance bike that you could eventually install a crank and pedals on!
A good resource for balance bikes and toddler accessories online is www.kidsbalancebikes.com . It’s still a good idea to look at models your local dealer carries as many of them offer trade up programs for when your child eventually does grow out of their balance model. Children also get to know the local shops and will learn good purchasing habits than if you were to visit a big box store where bikes are usually not assembled by a certified mechanic, are made with irreplaceable parts, and there’s no real customer service for when you have questions.
Remember, the earlier we get kids on bikes, the better our cycling communities will be in the future!