What, me hurry?
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Boston, MA
Bikes: Rivendell Atlantis, 1987 Peugeot Iseran mixte
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I got my 8-year-old girl her first real bike at REI in early June. It's a Novarra (I think the model is "Dirt Rider") with 20" wheels. We chose the one-speed with a coaster brake and single hand brake, but there's also a 7-speed version. Color is a nice light blue and white. We added a white basket, and REI also sells bells and grips with colored streamers if you want.
She loves it. It took her three weekends to learn to ride. Last weekend the family rode 15 (flat) miles together, half on a paved bike path and half unpaved (Lexington to Concord MA and back). She will probably need a bigger bike in just two years, but this is perfect for now.
One extra suggestion: we got a seat wedge for her bike and filled it with a patch kit for people (instead of the usual patch kit for tires). Contents include wet wipes, bandaids, sunscreen and bug repellant. We have used it on almost every outing, either for our own daughter or for other people's kids. A kid with a scrape is MUCH happier after getting a bandaid, especially one with a picture on it!