First Bike Guide

Weight

Kids bikes should be light enough for the parent to lift and handle easily. Generally, an aluminium frame will be lighter than a steel one.  If you struggle to lift the bike, then think how had it is going to be for your child to control, let alone pedal.

Luckily all of our Kids bikes come with an Aluminium frame, so no worries on your child struggling when first trying to learn!

 

Gearing

We suggest for smaller kids whose bike will be the first, to avoid having gears, as they confuse young riders and just add weight.  Pedal advice would be to avoid gears until they reach at least the 20″ wheel size and then only consider them if they’re really necessary, or you'd like them to learn for their first 'Adult' bike.

Once your child is comfortable taking on hillier terrain, then gears become important. Start simple with around 3 gears. Providing 18, 21 or more gears, will confuse your child and put them off geared bikes for life. However to start off and to keep them enjoying learning to ride, avoid the gears altogether.

 

Brakes

Like gearing and shifters, brake levers also come in different sizes. Our kid's bikes come fitted with scaled-down levers that are ideal for small hands to reach and operate. Meaning there will be no problems of stopping when they reach a wall or the lights.

Coaster brakes are found on our smaller kids bikes, and make it easy to slow down or stop, by pedalling backwards, rather than having to use a handlebar brake. Some kids (and parents) love coaster brakes, others hate them, so make sure to try them both out and see which suits you and your child best.

 

Chainguards protect your little one

A chainguard will protect little hands and legs from the bike chain. Not only reducing the chance of injury but making sure that their clothes stay intact and without stains! Our smaller Kids bikes and our Bam model feature chainguards

Road Riding Essentials

1. Helmet

This is a given and there's more than enough science to back this up, so don't be a helmet, wear one.

2. Water bottle cage and water bottles.

Staying hydrated is essential during exercise and especially during a hot day of road riding where you have no protection from the sun. Keep hydrated, keep healthy and perform better when you're running on fluids.

3. Saddle bag

Taking the bits out of your pocket and handily away, get one big enough for a bike lock, mobile and wallet - everything you need to get around town! You'll notice the difference to those stuffed pocked and won't be able to ride without one again.

4. Track pump with gauge

Just in case the wheels get a bit flat - which they inevitably will. Make sure you wheels are at the right Psi to make the most out of your pedal, which is where a gauge on the pump is really handy.

5. Lights

 LEDs are preferable for the high power and low battery usage. Visibility is so important, not just in the evenings, but during a bad weather day also, so make sure to always have your lights onhand.

6. Road shoes and pedals with cleats.

 Cleats allow you to use the power from raising your feet as you cycle, which means less energy is exerted and more power is realised. The trick however is to not get caught up when putting your foot down!

8. GoPro

A long ride didn't happen unless it was captured! You've all heard the saying 'Pics, or it didn't happen' so make sure to capture everything in an extra wide angle with a gopro.

9. Cycling sunnies

These make a huge difference on the road. They do everything standard sunnies do, but the tighter fit helps keep the wind, bugs and other bits and pieces from nailing you in the eyeball. Being able to keep your eyes wide open also helps you to see more and be more alert.

10. Cycling gloves.

Cycling gloves make you feel more in control of your bike - and definitely help on the cold mornings!

Mountain Biking Australia

When you picture Mountain biking, you picture remote wilderness, rugged beauty and epic trails - all things we have here in Australia. Most people, however, live in cities and the day-to-day of work, partners, kids, money or inspiration do not allow them the privilege taking  MTB mini-breaks.

Luckily there are some ripping trails within easy striking distance of all Australian capital cities. But first, if you are just beginning to venture into this world of dirt, there are a few important things to consider before hitting the trails.

 

Are Bikes Welcome?

There is all manner of places to ride Australia - both groomed mountain bike parks and various public trails.

Firstly though, check that riding is legal in your chosen location. Some places do not welcome bikes and some areas are only for one certain use, so make sure where you are is a fine place to be to avoid some on-the-day hassle. Being in the wrong spot at best will damage the reputation of the sport, and restrict access to trails in the future, and worse could see you face to face with half a fine that forces you to sell your bike!

 

Know Your Route

When you do head off, know roughly where you plan to ride. The magic of the internet can provide you with maps, so work out a route and know your boundaries – for example, “crossing a fence to the south will put me in private property and make people grumpy.” Maps can also provide an escape route, as in, “now I’m really tired but I can see an easy road back to the car just over the hill to the right, let’s go home for beers and lie about how rugged we are”.

Many MTB parks are well signposted, but don’t always expect this to be the case. In addition, there are always those mystery tracks are a mystery and not-signposted for a reason, because they want to keep the best trails a secret! So always look to explore as much as you can, without getting lost of course.

 

Be Prepared

Mountain biking is one sport that can take longer than planned. The trail may be harder than you think, you may explore further than anticipated, there could be a mechanical issue, or the trial may have differed from last time due to weather. It’s wise to be prepared for these eventualities, and plan to be out for longer than you think.

Dress for the occasion and have clothing you might need in the future – raincoat, jumper and so on, the key is layers! Your clothing does not have to be technical, and there is no need to be a lycra lizard, but padded pants, either on the outside or under a baggy short, are advisable. They help with the bumps of a rough track, and provide support and padding for both men and women should the seat decide to… go places inadvertently. As it were.

Hydration packs are a wonderful way of carrying plentiful water, and also allow the carriage of extra items – some food, relevant clothing, sunscreen, as well as a phone, first aid, (or at least something clean to plug a leak), and some lights if your planned time of finish is within an hour or so of sunset.

First aid does not just apply to the brave and bold punters on the ride, and sometimes bikes need a little help too. As a minimum you will need a spare tube of the right size and valve configuration, some way of inflating the tube that is not your lungs, tyre levers and a multitool.

 

Take a Mate

One of the best things to take riding, especially as you start out or explore a new area is a friend. Good to share fun times with, great for back up, and an aid to constructing improbable stories. 

 

Mountain Biking in Australia

Mountain biking is growing in popularity, and more trails are being put in as councils and governments realise the health and economic benefits of attracting cyclists to their area. Consequently there are more opportunities than ever for the new mountain biker to get involved in the sport.

There is also a range of worthwhile courses out there for beginners, women only, racers, kids and more which are a great way to gain greater skills than you currently have. If you think this is a pastime for you, think about a course to fast track your knowledge base, rather than learning by trial and error.

Don’t have a Mountain Bike? Check out our range, made for those getting into the sport and with a price tag that won’t scare you away!

Whats the difference? Fixed Gear vs Single Speed

Fixed Gear

In the beginning, all bikes were fixed gear bikes. Imagine a penny farthing or a kids tricycle; the pedals are directly connected to the front wheel. So if the wheel is turning, the pedals are turning. You can’t freewheel or coast, meaning when the pedals are turning, you’re legs are turning too.

On a modern fixed gear bike, the pedals are separated from the wheel but connected by the chain. At the pedals, there is a big sprocket called a chainring, the chain goes around that and around a similar, smaller sprocket on the rear wheel. This smaller sprocket on the rear wheel is fixed to the wheel and can’t turn without the wheel turning. There’s no ‘freewheel’ in the system.

So just like the penny-farthing or the tricycle, if your wheels are turning your pedals are too. That’s a fixed gear.

Fixed gears are harder to ride as you must constantly keep pedalling, no laziness with one of these. This is fine on a competitive track and there are advantages to riding a fixed gear, but generally, it’s better to get comfortable on a single-speed bike with a flip-flop hub when riding on the road. before trying to ride a fixed gear later.

A ‘flip-flop’ wheel is a kind of wheel that has a fixed gear sprocket on one side and a freewheel on the other. If you install the wheel one way, your bike will be a fixed gear. Take the wheel out, flip it around and reinstall it and it’ll be a single-speed. Our Pedal Messenger can be used as a single-speed or fixie, with all coming with a flip-flop wheel.

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Single-speeds

A single-speed is similar to a fixie but the rear sprocket can spin backwards on the wheel and it can stop spinning while the wheel keeps spinning. This is because the sprocket is attached to a ‘freewheel’. When you coast along without pedalling, it’s the freewheel you can hear making that lovely clicking sound. So you’ve got one gear and you can coast without the pedals turning – that’s a single-speed.

In general, single-speed bikes and fixed gear bikes are the easiest to maintain as they have the fewest parts, so they make great basic commuters and cruising bikes. Singlespeeds are much easier to ride and are great for new riders as there are no gears to worry about, so it’s as simple as hop on and pedal.

As our Pedal Messenger comes with the option for both, why not try out both ways and see what works best for you.  Just flip the backwheel and off you go!

 

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