Bike Shop Rant

Posted: September 19, 2011 in 2011, The Polemics Page

I guess this is aimed at shops selling low end stuff rather than the type of emporium of glittery goodness frequented by serious/hobby cyclists. Why, oh why oh why do they persist in selling kids bikes that are patently too big? Maybe it is the parents’ fault, thinking that if they buy big, the kid will somehow ‘grow into it’ like a pair of trousers or a jumper. I saw another example on Saturday of a diminutive child wheeling a new bike out of Halfords and riding off with its Mum. The saddle was in the lowest possible position, the bars were set really high and the poor little mite was struggling to keep its toes (I keep calling the child ‘it’ because I couldn’t tell whether it was male or female) on the pedals when the cranks were at bottom dead centre. As the child rode off, following Mum – also on a bike- it was struggling to keep a straight line on the road…a recipe for disaster I felt. Anyway, I caught up with them later as I drove home and the kid was just about coping though not helped by suspension forks which were pogoing even on the road, with someone way too small and light on board. Waiting behind until there was enough room to pass safely, I reckon the frame was at least an 18 inch-er and the kid was no bigger than Tom Thumb. The idea that the bike would last until the kid had grown into it seemed unlikely as it was one of those £100 jobs which fall apart as soon as you mention riding off road.

Apart from maybe damaging the child’s hips, all it will do is imprint the idea that cycling is painful and no fun. In the longer term, the shops ave to realise that going for these one off sales, they are reducing the future market as people leave cycling as soon as they take it up.



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