The other day, we talked about how to choose the right size bike for your kids in “How to choose the right bicycle“. With spring just around the corner, it’s the time of year to think about buying a new bicycle if your child has outgrown his old one. Easter is only a couple of months away, and that might be the perfect time to surprise your child with a shiny, new bicycle. A trip to the bike shop or a discount store may yield a huge range of prices; how can you make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible?First, consider how your child will be using the bike. A little one who will be pedaling around in the driveway, on the sidewalk, or at the local park probably does not need an expensive bicycle. A $40 or $50 bike from a big box store will probably suit your purpose, and will last as long as your child fits on the bicycle. On the other hand, a pre-teen or teenager who might bike to school every day or hit the trails on the weekends, and who will likely use the bike for a few years may need something of better quality to ensure that he does not wear it out before he outgrows it. In this case, you might consider spending a few hundred dollars and shopping from a specialty bike shop.If that’s not in the budget, don’t despair! You very well may be able to get a quality, used bicycle. First, visit a bike shop to get a feel for how much bikes are worth. Make note of the brands that are considered good quality, and talk to a salesperson about the features available on different bikes. Make a list of what you want, including brand name, size, features, and accessories. While you most likely will not get the exact bicycle you want if you buy used, you might come close. Check local estate sales, or yard sales, if they have started in your area. Also, check thrift shops. Many time, the people in charge of pricing will price all bikes the same, whether they’re from Walmart or from an upscale bicycle shop.You might also have good luck watching the ads on Craigslist.org or Freecycle.com, or even placing your own free “wanted” ad. As kid outgrow bikes, most people don’t keep them around for long, so particularly this time of year, when parent are starting to clean out their basements and garages, you can get a good deal, or even a free bike! Ask your friends, as well. You might find that someone with a child just a year or two older than yours is getting rid of a bicycle that will fit your child perfectly. Even if a used bike is not in new condition, you can often sand off any rusty areas and re-paint, making it look as good as new. Do check the tires and chain, of course, to make sure that it’s still safe and serviceable.While you’re in the market for a new bicycle, you may need to pick up some safety accessories as well. We’ll talk more about that in the very near future.
Have you gotten a good deal on a bicycle for your child? Tell us about it!