In partnership with Freewheel.co.uk
Anyone who has been lucky enough to wake up to find a new bike under the Christmas tree – whether at the age of four or 64 – knows that it's one of the best feelings in the world.
And if you've ever given a bike for Christmas, you'll know it feels even better.
It isn't too late this year to buy a high-quality kids' bike, and you don't even need to leave the house to do it. If you order from Freewheel.co.uk before December 18 then you're guaranteed delivery before Christmas, and because you're buying from Freewheel, you're supporting your local bike shop, too.
Set up by Madison, the UK's biggest distributor of bikes and bike parts, Freewheel partners with independent retailers to offer click and collect or delivery. You get all the convenience and choice of buying from an e-commerce giant, but you're actually giving your business to a local shop.
In among the countless brands offered by Freewheel is Ridgeback, which offers a huge range of kids' bikes from balance bikes for little ones to flat-bar bikes for children up to the age of 13.
Here's a quick guide to the Ridgeback range.
Forget pedals and stablisers; a balance bike is now recognised as the right way to get your child riding.
Beginning by "walking" the bike and gradually learning to lift their feet and glide, kids learning on these bikes are learning how to balance and how to steer by leaning their bodyweight. Trikes and stabilisers encourage wild twists of the handlebars, whereas children learning through balance bikes are picking up the right skills and principles from day one – which means that transitioning into riding a full pedal bike is quick and easy when the time comes.
With its 14in wheels, the MX14 is designed for children between 100cm and 110cm high (height is a much better indicator for sizing than age).
A tough aluminium frame means the MX14 can withstand crashes, bumps and everything that goes with being a child's pride and joy, but a weight of 7kg is light enough to keep riding fun and easy.
Nobbly off-road tyres make this a versatile bike for use on grass, trails or tarmac.
For kids of 110-120cm height (typically around 3-6 years old), the MX16 is where bikes start looking really grown up for extra playground kudos.
The weight now reaches 8.8kg but this is an easy-to-maintain, easy-to-handle bike that's perfect to help your child really get the cycling bug for life.
When your child is ready for gears as well as brakes, the Dimension is what you're looking for. This 20in model is for kids of 120cm to 140cm height, and with a high-quality lightweight aluminium frame and components from the links of Shimano and Tektro, it's the ideal companion for longer rides and steeper hills.
And because bright, fun colours are a prerequisite for the perfect kids' bike, Freewheel stocks the Dimension 20 in a choice of red or purple for maximum "look what I got!" Boxing Day pizzazz.
Weighing in at 9.5kg, the Dimension 24 is suitable for kids at 140cm-150cm height, which typically means about 9-13 years of age.
The frame size grows but the specification remains consistent, with Shimano seven-speed gears and Promax rim brakes.
The final step before they're ready for that adult-sized Pinarello Dogma they've been lusting after (serves you right for letting them fall in love with cycling), the Dimension 26 should take your not-so-little-one up to around 165cm in height.
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