Essential bike gear for little riders
7 February 2022
To get the most out of riding a bike, children benefit from the right cycling kit. Little riders are becoming pretty handy on their bikes and pushing the limits, which means having quality cycling gear to accompany a quality bike. Proper cycling clothing and protection help kids progress and shred the trails with confidence whilst ensuring safety and comfort.
We spoke to the experts at Little Rider Co who create technical bike clothing and gear specifically for little riders paying special attention to sizing, comfort, safety and style. Here’s their guide to essential cycling gear for kids:
Benefits of technical cycling jerseys
Kids cycling-specific clothing ensures little riders are comfortable and safe when rocking their two wheels. Made from technical materials, they help to keep kids dry by wicking moisture away from their bodies. The moisture is drawn to the outer surface of the fabric where it then evaporates. And, as these technical materials are also breathable, water vapour can escape from the fabric.
Mike Douglass, Co-founder at Little Rider commented “You may be tempted to put your little rider in a cotton t-shirt. But cotton makes moisture condense on their skin, so as they cool down, the trapped moisture makes them cold, especially when riding in colder temperatures.”
Technical bike clothing also gives kids unrestricted movement. Quality tech wear is manufactured with an ergonomic shape and fit, allowing the rider to move comfortably whilst shredding the trails, hitting the parks or pumping at the tracks.
Little Rider Co offers some excellent technical jerseys and shorts for kids in a range of fantastic styles: Check out our selection of kids technical bike wear here.
The importance of a helmet
The most important accessories! Nobody should ride any kind of bike without wearing a helmet. There are some great kid's helmets on the market these days. You don't want to scrimp on your kid's bike helmet, as it is the most important piece of protection. Many good bike helmets for kids come with the same features as their adult counterparts.
Mike Douglass, Co-founder at Little Rider said “It is a good idea to get your child a very lightweight helmet that does not compromise safety. The weight of the helmet is important, as it can cause unnecessary stress on their necks. But, the helmet also needs to provide sufficient coverage. We recommend full-face helmets - Full-face helmets offer the most protection, thanks to their chin and full-face cover.”
Learn all about MIPS here and why it is so effective in keeping your child safe.
Knee and elbow bike protection
Kids fall off their bikes a lot, especially when they are learning or trying new things. That’s part of the fun and progression! But with some good knee and elbow protection, they can avoid scrapes and bumps.
There are different types of knee and elbow protection for kids biking. Which you choose will determine how much protection you want. You can get heavy-duty knee and elbow pads that offer more protection with hard plastics. These are excellent for nervous riders or kids that ride in rocky areas or are accident-prone. However, they can get quite hot in warm weather while compromising range of motion slightly.
You can also buy lightweight knee and elbow pads. These pads use softer foam to protect your child's joints from impacts. They offer a more range of motion and are more comfortable. For examples of knee and elbow protection, you can check out: Little Rider Co knee and elbow armour.
Technical bike gloves
Wearing gloves while riding is another essential accessory. Gloves offer kids many benefits, such as enhanced grip on the handlebars, protection during crashes, preventing blisters and keeping fingers toasty on cold days. With these benefits in mind, it is worth looking at the characteristics of kids gloves before you buy them.
Mike Douglass, Co-founder at Little Rider commented “Having a good grip on the handlebars gives your child better control and comfort. Some gloves have a material on the fingers and palms to enhance grip. If your child rides in cold weather often, you should pay attention to how much insulation the gloves have. Lots of insulation is great for warmth, but it can compromise dexterity and feel. If the gloves are too thin, the material can bunch up, causing friction and blisters.”
It is essential to get the glove size right. If the gloves are too big, your little rider can get blistered hands.
So how do you know what size to buy?
Standard glove sizing is based on the circumference around the palm of the dominant hand. You will notice that most bike glove manufacturers size their gloves as XXS - XL. We have a size guide on our glove product pages for you to check out.
Another frustration can be trying to get the gloves onto the little rider. So it’s good to make sure the gloves offer flexibility and an open strap to allow parents to get those little fingers in with as little effort as possible.
Little Riders’ kid's gloves strike a good balance of all of these characteristics. Check out the kid's cycling gloves in their online store.
Footwear suitable for cycling
Bike specific footwear is great, as it absorbs shock and improves grip on the pedals. You can get away with footwear with flat soles, such as skate shoes, but they won't be as good as specific bike shoes.
A firm favourite brand in the world of bike shoes is Five Ten. Five Ten are owned by Adidas, and they offer superb comfort and lots of grip. Grip comes from the "stealth rubber" soles, which keys into the pins on the pedals for excellent traction.
Great alternatives are available from Ride Concepts, which makes a range of youth bike shoes that look and perform great on and off the bike. You can also look at what Vans have to offer. Vans are best known for their skate shoes, but they also make some excellent cycling footwear too.
Having the right technical clothing and protection for the job makes riding bikes easier and more enjoyable for your little riders. But, more importantly, improved confidence and safety!
If you would like more information you can check out the Little Rider technical ranges to help your little riders start earlier, improve confidence, and get them looking like a PRO.