There are lots of things to consider when buying kids bikes,includingwhether to invest in a lightweight frame and what size to buy. But when it comes to gears, the good people at Woom say that these are not necessary for young children. Gears can be confusing for kids, especially when they are first learning to ride a bike.Therefore, you should wait to introduce these until your child has mastered the art of cycling and is a little older.
What are Gears?
Even adults can struggle with gears on a bike and end up making things harder than they need to be – simply because they are cycling in the wrong gear. The aim of gears on a bike is to enhance the ride. Changing the gear can make it easier for you to get up a hill or ride faster on a stretch of flat terrain. But if used incorrectly, they can make it tougher to cycle uphill or force you to use more effort on what should be an easy surface to traverse.
The effort that a person puts into pedaling determines how fast the wheels on a bike spin. Gears increase or decrease that wheel output depending on the terrain or gradient being traversed. Different bikes have different numbers of gears and the more gears a bike has, the easier it is for the rider to find a comfortable cycling cadence (speed). A bike with 3 gears is referred to as a 3-speed bike, while one with 30 gears, is known as a 30-speed bike. With that many gears to choose from, it is understandable that it might get a little confusing.
When Should Your Child Have a Bike with Gears?
It is best to avoid a bike with gears for your child until they are more experienced and have reached at least a 20-inch wheel size. This is because gears are simply not needed, are likely to confuse your child, and will add unnecessary weight.
There are some exceptions of course. If your child is using a bike with a wheel size of less than 20 inchesbut is regularly cycling on hilly terrain, then gears might become a more important consideration.
Teaching a Child to Use Gears
With many adults finding gear changing difficult, it is important to teach your child how to correctly use them. The first thing to teach them is what the numbers mean. The low numbers are called low gears while the high numbers are, unsurprisingly, the high gears. The low gears are used to make it easier to pedal uphill while high gears are used to make pedaling back down the hill easier.
In general, bikes will have both front and back gears. The lever on the left is used to change or shift the front gears and the lever on the right controls the back gears. Children’s bikestend to have rear gears only.
Shifting from one gear to another is achieved by moving the lever to the desired number. It is important to shift gears while the bike is moving. It is a good idea to teach children about gear changing while they are on a flat surface. It will make it easier for them to get the hang of it so that when they are cycling uphill, they can shift gears without thinking about it.
Your child should practice shifting the gears and riding to see how each one feels. The lowest gears are for going uphill, the highest gears for coming down, and the middle gears should be reserved for flat surfaces.