When the time came to buy my eldest son his first bike – at the grand age of two – it wasn’t a decision I could take lightly. Well, his entire future as an Olympic track rider/Triathlete/or Tour de France legend could hinge on this very fundamental choice.
I needed to make sure that this first bike was usable right from the start and able to provide a platform for my littl’un to develop his riding skills, well his balance at least, and not be outgrown too quickly. I wanted the transition from this first bike to his next to be seamless, ideally avoiding the need for stabilisers on his second bike. Following a little research I decided on a LIKEaBIKE Mountain Classic. I bought it for his second birthday and it’s lasted him beyond two years, and he still likes to ride it from time to time despite his new steed which I upgraded to an IslaBike Cnoc 16 for his fourth birthday.
Being a keen cyclist in multiple disciplines I was naturally eager for my son to eventually come out and ride with me on a Sunday morning, whether in the forest on off-road bikes, or through the Essex countryside on road bikes. So to see him take to riding the LIKEaBIKE like a fish to water was a real joy not to mention a relief, and I could start imagining the reality of future bike outings.
Out of the box, the bike simply needs the handlebars to be fitted as well as the grips and seat cover, a ten minute job. Once on the bike the riding position is very natural and the new riders seem to know exactly what to do as soon as they get on and start pushing themselves along the ground with their feet, eventually building up a pretty good pace and momentum. Before long they’re zooming off and riding with feet in the air, balancing and controlling the bike as they ride. Great to watch.
Because there are no brakes, stopping is carried out using feet, which at first is a little disconcerting, but as they get used to slowing down and stopping, any worries quickly disappear.
When my eldest moved on to his second bike, the beauty was he didn’t need to use stabilisers at all, and despite not having used a pedal bike with brakes, he instinctively new what to do and began pedalling off unassisted straight away, as hoped. Quite impressive. Take a look at a quick video clip of my son riding his first pedal bike on the first day.
The build quality is second to none as you’d imagine from German engineering. The wood is birch marine plywood, which is incredibly strong and won’t warp. The LIKEaBIKE is held together with high-grade steel, felt, textiles and rubber. To date the bike hasn’t required any mechanical servicing besides adjusting the height of the seat. The pneumatic tyres provide great ride comfort and added bumper like protection.
These bikes are not cheap, far from it infact, but the quality is unmatched. From my point of view, worth every penny. And now that my youngest son is showing an interest in riding, the LIKEaBIKE which is still in mint condition will be passed on to him so that he can start learning to ride.
Here are some close-up pictures of the LIKEaBIKE Mountain Classic…