Of all the early parenting milestones, first forward roll, first injured footballer-esque tantrum in public, buying your child their first bike is up there with the most memorable. Especially if you love bikes yourself and remember getting one from your parents as a shining highlight of your childhood.
But what to get? If your child is two or three years old the good news is you no longer need to wait until they’re four and ready for a pedal bike. You can now start them off with a balance bike. That is a bike with no pedals, where children move forwards by pushing the ground with their feet.
Amazon is awash with balance bikes, including some good-looking wooden ones, but they don’t age well especially if mixed with rain. Other bikes are super-cheap, some just £26.99, which given how expensive parenting is these days can be tempting, especially when you’re buying something you don’t know if your child will like.
But having tried and failed with some of the cheaper but notably weightier and more unwieldy alternatives with my eldest child, before he tried and took to the Frog Tadpole,
I’m glad to have started my youngest on it from the off.
The biggest plus for me is that it’s lightweight and therefore easy for small children to manoeuvre. Bear in mind for those first few weeks they’ll mostly be walking around with the bike before they learn how to propel themselves forward with the ‘push push glide’ motion. The Frog Tadpole is so light that my two and a half year-old could even lift up the front wheel and pretend he was doing a wheelie!
Another crucial thing is that the handlebars are in proportion and not too wide. My eldest son rode another balance bike with bars so wide they felt like wings; he struggled even walking with it on the flat.
The Frog Tadpole’s seat is very comfy and easily adjustable, which is good as I sometimes change the height on rides depending on whether my youngest is walking or pushing and gliding on his bike. The brakes are good and not too stiff for his little hands to use.
The Frog Tadpole also looks amazing and comes in a range of stunning colours, from red to purple to orange and even spotty. Of course that shouldn’t be a factor, and if the substance didn’t back up the style I wouldn’t mention it at all but when you’re trying to get a child to be excited about a bike, especially when the pavements are brimming with bright neon scooters, the fact it looks nice helps the sell. As does the fact it has a bell, which comes as standard, along with reflectors.
Your kids won’t care a jot that Frog is a British brand owned by a bike-loving couple who have their own bike-loving kids, but that was a big plus point for me.
So in conclusion yes the Frog Tadpole is £100. But it’s durable, it has a five-year warranty, and as I mentioned above ours has been through two children but it runs as good as new, save the odd scratch, which considering the amount its been clattered about by them both is a miracle. They keep their value too, so you could always sell it on eBay down the line if you need extra help in justifying the price.
– Very light and easy for kids to manoeuvre.
– Well built with components in proportion.
– Small British brand run by bike-loving parents so they know what they’re talking about.
– Super-nice looking with a great range of colour choices.
– Brakes are good and not too stiff for small hands.
– Great name!
They have a larger model for taller children with a 34cm inside leg (the regular model is 32cm inside leg)
– Pricier than some other models.
Price: £100 available from Frog Bikes.
Sam Haddad is a Senior Editor at Mpora, catch her on Twitetr at: @shhhaddad.