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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Whether you’re a grandparent itching to get that first bike for your beloved grandchild or a family friend who wants to provide a needy family with a bicycle they can’t otherwise afford, a bike can be a memorable gift. But these gifts are traditionally given by parents, so it’s wise to think carefully before buying a bike for someone else’s child. Here are five things you should think about before taking the plunge to buy a bike.

Parents’ Feelings

Many parents think of a bicycle as the biggest gift they will ever get their child. Thus it’s important not to rob the parents of the opportunity to give their child this gift. Consult with the parents before purchasing a bike. If you’re considering getting the bike because the parents can’t afford it, think about giving the money to the parents as a gift instead, and allowing them to buy the bike. While you won’t get all the acclaim for the present, you’ll know that you helped both the child and her parents feel great.

Bicycle Safety and Bicycle Shop Supplies

Although a bicycle can be an amazing gift, it can also pose the risk of head injuries and broken bones. If you’re purchasing a bicycle for someone else, don’t leave the bicycle shop until you’ve purchased a helmet and knee pads. Consider also giving the gift recipient a brief lesson in bicycle safety or a child-friendly book on how to stay safe while riding a bike.

Child’s Preferences

Many of us tend to buy the bicycle we would have wanted for ourselves. Maybe you’re eyeing a bright pink bicycle with a big basket and pink hearts. But this may not be what the child wants, and even if it is, her preferences may change in six months. Instead, consider buying a relatively neutral bike that can be decked out in accessories of the child’s choosing. Then take the child shopping for a great bicycle basket, bike stickers and other add-ons. This ensures that the child will love the bike for years to come, not just in the present moment.


It’s important to choose an appropriate time to give the child her new bicycle. The odds are good that she’ll want to ride it immediately, so make sure the training wheels are securely attached. Avoid giving the bike at night or during a busy family gathering. Instead, wait until the child has a few spare moments during which she can take those memorable first rides on her new treasured companion.

Child’s Maturity

Even if you get the child’s parents’ permission to purchase a bike, consider the maturity of the child before taking the plunge. Some four-year-olds are ready for a bike, while some seven-year-olds are still too reckless to ride. Can you picture this child obeying directions, taking proper safety precautions and not overestimating her own skills? If so, go ahead and take the plunge. Otherwise you may want to consider waiting a few months.

Although a bicycle can be a great present, it is also an immense responsibility. Plan on helping the child learn to ride, ensuring he takes proper safety precautions and acting as a helpful adult mentor and role model. You’ll quickly be rewarded by a child who loves biking and learning!

Christobel Edwards became a grandmother two and a half years ago for the first time. Although keeping quiet is difficult for this marketing maven, she’s learning to let her child and grandchild make their own decisions. She loves buying things for her grandchild and recently bought her a bicycle.

Earnest Parenting: help for people who are considering purchasing a bike.
Image courtesy of Thierry Draus via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.