As regular readers of my blog will know I am far from outdoorsy and my indifference to the great outdoors has sadly been passed onto my kids. Despite my best efforts they would rather be playing some imaginary game in their bedrooms, reading a book or living out a make believe world with their army of Happy Land figures than tramping through woods or going to the park.
I was exactly the same when I was a kid and much to one of my best friend’s amazement I have reached the grand old age of 41 never having climbed a tree or jumped a beck! So it will come as no surprise to you that I can’t ride a bike. I have no sense of natural balance and so when the stabilisers came off my first bike, so did I, and that was the end of that. I was much happier (and felt much safer) on two feet as I ran, skipped and hopped through my childhood. But like most parents I am determined that my children will have what I didn’t – not content with dragging them outside at every opportunity, I am also determined to get them cycling.
The six year old, like me, is quite happy with her stabilisers. She has no ambition to give them up and despite my best efforts I can’t get her on to just two wheels. So I thought I’d try a different approach with three year old Henry. This is where the amazing BikyBiky vest comes in. The colourful vest aims to get your little one riding unaided without the false security of stabilisers. The idea is simple. There’s a padded handle on the back of the jacket. You hold onto this as your little one is cycling – allowing you to help them balance without any of that backbreaking bending over to grab the handlebars and back of the seat. You can even lift them up by the handle if they have a major wobble! The BikyBiky allows you to give a helping hand to your novice rider but they still feel in control and you don’t end up steering for them as well as helping their balance.
So we decided to give is a go. For starters Henry loved the style and the colour of the jacket. It’s bright and cheerful and looks fun. OK it’s not the coolest of design for older children but for the age group it is aimed at it’s perfect – and a whole lot cooler than stabilisers. Henry was very keen to get on his bike and practice. The BikyBiky made the whole learning to ride experience so much easier. I could stand up normally and run alongside him, rather than trying to keep up whilst bent almost double over the bike frame.
He gained so much confidence knowing I was right beside him and had a hand on him at all times but he also felt like he was in control of the bike. He has seen boys in our street riding their bikes and he loved the feeling of being a big boy without stabilisers on his new bike.
This was our first time out and so I’m not going to lie and say we mastered the whole thing in one session. At the end of the day Henry is pretty little to be going off without stabilisers and we are still mastering the pedalling and steering concepts but I will definitely preserve with the BikyBiky. I am also going to try to persuade the oh-so-nervous six year old to give it a go, rather than relying on her stabilisers.
You can also use the BikyBiky for skiing – not something this accident prone, sun loving family will be trying any time soon but a great second use for this jacket. Practice makes perfect and the BikyBiky certainly makes practicing to ride much easier for the parent and a whole lot of fun for the wannabe Bradley Wiggins.
[I was sent a BikyBiky for the purposes of this review. You can find out more at bikybiky.uk]