(Elma was very kindly sent a Toddlebike to explore the world with and we’ve had great fun putting it to the test. All words, pictures and children are my own, all aeroplanes are not)
Just before she turned two, our Elma became a Toddlebiker. It arrived at the end of a long cold dark afternoon of the sort that has everyone a little cabin feverish no matter what you try to do to alleviate it and it couldn’t have been better timed. I think the packing paper had barely touched the floor before Elma had it out of the box and pressed into service.
“It mine! It my bikey!” came the little voice as she shot off down the hallway, and back up again, and down, and up, and, well I don’t think you need much imagination to work out how the rest of our afternoon went.
And we’ve carried on as we started. For the first couple of days we had it inside and it would be a good inside toy if you’ve got the space, it’s little enough to tuck away, light enough to move easily and provides hours of entertainment. Well unless you have a big sister who doesn’t see any logic in her sister’s new toy being allowed inside while her scooter is still outside only, especially as she herself is too tall to have a proper go on the new bike. She had a point so our became outdoor only and I’m sure you’ve seen it pop up in the background of more than a few photos over the last month or so. And if you were paying really close attention you can see from the wheels just how much we’ve committed ourselves to putting it through its paces.
We’ve taken it to the park, the other park, the other other park, to see a reservoir and up and down our patio and it’s proved the perfect companion to Kitty’s ‘kicks’ and a really great bike for Elma’s height and current stage of development. Over the summer and early autumn Elma had stopped taking so much interest in her sit in push along car in favour of sneaking a go on her sister’s scooter, which led to more than a few ‘heated discussions’ between the pair of them. We’d thought about getting another scooter but Elma just isn’t tall enough yet for one like Kitty’s and with her impressive ability to fall over the one speck of dust on a perfectly flat floor we weren’t too sure about the balancing side of things either. The Toddlebike is definitely more big girl than a nice round fat sit on toy but it’s got enough wheels that is isn’t too wobbly either.
If Elma falls off the Toddlebike it’s because she wanted to, not because she was trying to turn left and missed.
When it first arrived she used to sit on the crossbar and scoot along but she soon got the hang of sitting back on the seat to go a little faster. The next step will be for her to sit back and use both feet at once, in the same sort of action that you’d use on a strider bike but she’s not really figured that out yet, and I think the couple of times she tried it were accidental. And in many ways it’s nice that she hasn’t mastered it all at once, it keeps it interesting for her to work out new ways to ride, and fun for us to watch the gradual changes as she develops.
From a parent’s point of view it’s great. It’s very sturdy but also incredibly lightweight; I can genuinely carry it with one little finger looped under the crossbar, which has been great for carrying it up to the park when we have to go along the road and then letting loose when we get there. I love the look and feel of wooden bikes but at the same time it’s great to go out knowing that if it gets driven through a few muddy puddles and then abandoned in favour of more splashing, it’ll be fine and I won’t dislocate a shoulder lugging it home. And I do genuinely like the colours, it’s good to see activity toys that are truly gender neutral and fun with it, and I have no doubt that a year or so from now Pip will be champing at the bit for a go (there is also a pink and purple one if they’re the only colours that will cut it!).
And as for what Elma thinks…? Did you ever see Michael McIntyre’s sketch about buying a hoover where everyone is essentially just taking a hoover for a walk because none of them are plugged in and thus failing the very essence of being a hoover? (if you haven’t it’s really funny and it’s on You Tube here). Well in similar vein I can tell you that Elma thinks her Toddlebike is awesome, but unless you want one as a piece of modern sculpture, a picture and some words can only go so far. So instead the girls and I decided to put together a little something special to show you all about life as a Toddlebiker – by our special correspondent: