Posted on 17 June 2017
As anyone in Toronto knows, we've seen an explosion of new cyclists while infrastructure breathlessly tries to catch up. However, if we were to conduct a demographic study of who's buying bikes (and who's riding) our hunch is that the numbers would reveal a population segment that ranged predominantly from 18 to somewhere in the 60's.
Toronto is home to a great urban planning consultancy named 8-80 Cities whose name reflects their mission to make streets safe for cyclists from the age of eight to eighty. This is a sentiment we share. Which brings us to the topic of kids bikes.
Frog leaps from balance bikes to bikes for young adults
Selling kids bikes is one of the ways we can invest in continued multi-generationality of city cycling here in Toronto. That means we need to take kids bikes seriously (most stores treat kids bikes like an afterthought). So, we created three rules to guide our purchasing.
1) The bike has to be enjoyable! After all, it needs to introduce kids to cycling in a way that plants the seed for a lifetime of riding.
2) It has to be high quality. They can't be designed for occasional use in suburban cul-de-sacs but on actual bike lanes. Most kids bikes aren't designed with that in mind.
3) We need to respect the fact that kids grow fast and that there's a fine balance between cost and growth.
Super short-reach brake levers actually designed for kids hands
Most parents focus on issue three, which is fair enough. But, this raises a problem. When you buy a department store bike, it is barely made to last several years and when its used the way its used in Toronto, things fall apart very quickly. That makes the bike both unsafe and - with their heavy heavy frames - the worse introduction to cycling you can imagine.
Most of the bike industry follows the same ethos, which is why its so hard to find decent bikes out there. Companies like Raleigh (which we carry) often have the same quality parts found on department store bikes but at least feature lighter aluminum frames. But, if this bike is actually going to be used (and handed down) having good parts is equally important.
Chainguards because who wants to do more laundry?
Frog Bikes are assembled in Cardiff, Wales, and are well known as the best kids bikes on the market (well, there's also Early Rider, but they tend to be designed for future champion cyclists). The frames are aluminum, feature sealed bearings throughout, have quality three-piece cranks (most department store bikes use awful one-piece cranks), high-quality brakes and feature lovely additions like Tektro's short-reach brake levers, actually designed for kids. The colours are terrific, and if we're out of stock we can usually get you the colour you want in under two weeks.
But, we need to take care of cost versus growth, and while that's nothing Frog can solve, but that is something we can solve. That is why we launched the Frog Trade-Up Program. While a Frog bike holds terrific resale value (if you want to sell it privately), we are happy to buy your Frog back for a bigger Frog as your child grows. That gives your pocketbook a break, your kids a safe and enjoyable bike, and a whole new generation of cyclists on the road!
Frog: helping create a new generation of city cyclists