Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sizing up your child's bicycle

Need to get your son or daughter a new bike? You can get the right size the first time.

Learning to ride a bicycle is a right of passage for children across the world. In order to help your child make the passage as comfortably and safely as possible, you'll need to pick out a bicycle for your child that fits him or her appropriately. To do this, you'll need to follow a few easy steps.

Step 1: Measure Your Child's Inseam

The first step to determine what size bicycle your child needs is to measure his or her inseam. To do this, grab a measuring stick or tape measure, have your child stand up straight, and measure the distance from the crotch of your child's pants down to his or her ankle. Write the measurement down and get moving to your local bike shop.

Step 2: Match Inseam with Bike Size

Now that you have your child's inseam measured, it's time to figure out exactly what size bike you need. Here is a general idea of the size you'll be looking for, based on your child's inseam.
InseamBycicle Size
14-24 inches
35-42 centimeters
12 Inches
16-20 inches
40-50 centimeters
14 inches
18-22 inches
45-55 centimeters
16 Inches
20-24 inches
50-60 centimeters
18 Inches
22-25 inches
55-63 centimeters
20 Inches
24-28 inches
60-72 centimeters
24 Inches

Step 3: Let Your Child Try It Out

As careful as you may be measuring your child's inseam, this is not a perfect measure of what size bike you ought to get for him or her. In order to make sure your child's bike fits just right, you'll need to have him or her take a seat on the bike and take it for a test ride. Then and only then can you determine whether the bike fits well.

Step 4: Watch Your Child Ride

When your child goes on his or her first ride on the new bike, pay careful attention. If your child's knees get close to the handlebars, the bicycle is too small. Also, if he or she can't reach the pedals or easily touch the ground when stopped, the bike is too big. Remedy these problems by getting a bigger or smaller bike as needed. Ideally, your child will be able to stand up while straddling the bicycle (feet not on pedals) and his or her legs will extend almost completely when pedaling downward.

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