Prior to the start of the course, all bikes will be subject to a comprehensive safety check to ensure they are road-worthy.
Your child may not be able to take part if their bike is considered unsafe.
To avoid disappointment, please make sure that both front and rear brakes are fitted and working as the manufacturer intended.
Kids come in all shapes and sizes and instructors are often called upon to make minor adjustments to bikes to ensure trainees are in a comfortable riding position and can reach the controls properly. Rest assured our instructors are fully qualified to carry out these procedures. We may also make minor repairs, time and parts permitting, but please remember: time spent fixing bikes is time lost in training. We would urge you to make a brief inspection of your child's bike, several days before the start of the course, paying particular attention to the operation of the front and rear brakes. We also recommend you inflate the tyres to make sure they hold air. See our video tutorial on how to fix a puncture
Help us to help you
Click on the spanner below to see how you can identify and fix the most common bike problems with a little know-how, the right parts and a few basic tools...
We anticipate that parents will wish to take advantage of the free training on offer. Level 2 takes place out of school, for which we require your consent. A form will have been issued to your child, for you to complete and return before the start of the course. Please take time to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing. If you have lost or misplaced the form you can download one here
A word about the weather...
As we all know, the weather in Britain can be pretty inclement, so it never ceases to amaze us when children turn up for training in the midst of winter with no more than a thin fleece or Hoodie for protection. It's very rare that we cancel the training on account of the weather, so we urge parents to see that children are suitably dressed for the day's activities. Gloves are a must on chilly mornings.
Our take on helmets
While the effectiveness of cycle helmets continues to be a subject for much debate, in the interests of safety, we do insist that participants wear them at all times during the training.
If you've yet to buy one, with so many styles on offer, choosing the right helmet has never been easier. This guide highlights the things you should consider before making a purchase
Please note Our instructors carry a number of spare helmets but we cannot guarantee that one will be available on the day
Thinking about buying a new bike? Then read on...
In our line of work we often see children struggling with bikes unsuited to their needs; If it's difficult to ride, it's difficult to enjoy. Deciding which bike is right for your child is a straightforward process once you know what to look for, so if you are thinking of buying a replacement, here are a few points to consider:
Small, independent bike retailers tend to provide a more personalized service and will have an intimate working knowledge of the products they offer
A secondhand bike, that has been well maintained, is usually a better option, in terms of quality, than a brand new bike at the same price
Budget bikes rely on components manufactured from inexpensive materials, making them heavy and cumbersome. If your child struggles to lift both wheels clear off the floor, choose a lighter model. We suggest you steer clear of mountain style bikes with front and rear suspension and avoid bikes featuring over-sized steel tubing designed to imitate much lighter aluminium models,,,where bikes are concerned, it's function, not form, that really matters
BMX bikes are a popular choice among children. They often come equipped with a detangler or 'gyro' fitted below the handlebars (see opposite) which enables the bars to spin through 360 degrees without twisting the cables. Aside from the fact that most riders will never make use of this feature, the mechanism and associated parts require frequent and convoluted maintenance to ensure the brakes remain operable. In view of the safety implications, we strongly recommend you choose a model without this feature or have the retailer replace the 'gyro' with a conventional brake set-up. It's a straightforward job to undertake and should set you back around £20 at the most.
Manufacturers often use the same components for both their adults' and childrens' ranges. Children differ markedly from adults in terms of body proportion and strength and may find controls, such as gear-shifters and brakes, difficult to use. Specialist retailers such as Islabikes go to great lengths to design bikes with child specific geometry and components. Click on the highlighted text if you need convincing.
Don't buy a bike that is too large thinking that your child will grow into it. Children grow up fast and we appreciate that buying a new bike can be an expensive proposition, but remember that other parents will be going through the same process, providing a good local source of perfectly useable pre-owned machines, at a fraction of the cost. The chart opposite should give a good indication of what size to look for.
Try before you buy
Do we cater for special needs?
In a word, Yes, but it's helpful for us to know in advance what these may be. If you have any concerns regarding your child's particular circumstances, please call.
Frequently asked questions