First Bicycles

Raleigh MXR Micro 12″ Kids Bike from REI

This post (like much of the work on this site!) is inspired by a gift-giving experience for the twins. My mother, their grandmother, wanted to purchase bikes for their third birthday. Learning to bike is a fun and useful skill, and bikes are a great active play option for developing gross motor skills and the brain skills that come with coordination and attention. So, she set out to purchase two starter bikes with removable training wheels.

My mother has always worked hard to keep the twins’ gendered toys to a minimum and figured there would be many options for children’s bikes in the bike-friendly Pacific Northwest metropolis in which she lives. Unfortunately, this was NOT true! Most of the more affordable options (Toys ‘r’ Us for example) had pink princess bikes for the girls and aggressively colored, macho bikes for the boys. Moreover, many were heavily branded with the child movie and TV characters du jour. A quick Amazon.com search shows this is much the same online as well.

Tireless in her quest and resigned to spending a bit more money to avoid the many gendered options, she settled on the only non-pink, non-macho option with training wheels available at the REI store – the Raleigh MXR Micro 12″.
The red color (last year’s model was orange) and unisex marketing make this an excellent gender-fair choice. The bikes are sturdy and now, a year later, well-loved and still going strong. But, they are a pricier option ($150, $120 currently on sale). Available in stores and online, this bike is easily available. Fair Play gives this bike 4 (of 5) pinwheels.

$120-$150 for a bike your child may soon outgrow seems a little steep to me. So, Fair Play turned to the web in search of a more affordable option. The Mantis Lil Burmeister bike is another straightforward, sturdy red bike with a much lower price tag – $60 with $14 shipping for a total of $74.

However, if you click through to the link you will see the bike is listed as a “boys” bike. Fair Play does not endorse the use of “boys” in the name of this product. But, as the bike itself is unisex in design and color, I feel it is sufficiently gender-fair to include on this blog. Given the price, color, and ease of availability, Fair Play gives this bike 4 pinwheels as well.

What do you think? Leave a comment!