Hargroves Cycles RT Kids News Road

‘Alf’ d’Huez

When Alfie Earl told his dad at the age of seven that we wanted to ride up all the legendary mountains of the Tour as soon as he could, plus a few other challenges to boot, it seemed a tall order.

But now aged 10, and supported by Hargroves, that’s just what he has done after climbing Alpe d’Huez recently.

It brings his palmares to the Tour of Flanders at just seven years-old, the Col du Tourmalet at eight, Passo dello Stelvio, Mont Ventoux, London to Paris via Dover and the Col du Galibier at nine, and now the infamous Alpe.

“I wasn’t going to stop until I’d done Alpe d’Huez too, and we were going near it on a cycling trip to Annecy, so I had my chance,” said Alfie, who lives near Horsham in West Sussex.

“Those first few kilometres were a killer and I had to get out of the saddle a lot, but the top was a lot easier. Now I want to try the Zoncolan because since we moved house I now have roads like Barhatch Lane and Leith Hill to train on, so 20 per cent is hard but I can do it. I like proving that I can. The most important thing is to enjoy it though and challenge myself to keep going.”

Alfie is also targeting Paris-Roubaix for next year, having done Flanders twice already.

“Last time I went up the Paterberg without stopping while most of the adults were walking, so I know Paris-Roubaix has worse cobbles but I’m used to them now. Also I’m now on a Ridley full-size bike from Hargroves so it was born for it!”

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Kids Bike Buyer Guide

The classic gift you see crop up in every Christmas film, one that is hard to hide and even harder to wrap. The bike is the essential childhood vehicle that will see your little rascals pedalling about the neighbourhood and exploring woodland trails. There are some questions every parent asks when purchasing a kids bike, hopefully, this guide will help answer those important questions and give you a clue on what to get!

What size do I need?

Unlike adult bikes where the different sizes are measured by frame size, kid bikes are differentiated by their wheel size. The wheel sizes from 12 Inch to 24 falls loosely within age groups but we at Hargroves have found that height is a better gauge on which bike to buy your child rather than age group. Seeing as kids grow so fast, it’s hard to shoehorn them into an age range. The sizes within the age range are a rough guide that you can use to help find the right bike for your child.

Balance Bikes

These bikes have changed the way kids learn how to ride, with the main focus is keeping your balance and learning how to steer. Research has shown that kids who learn how to ride with Balance Bikes progress quicker onto pedalled bikes, rather than kids who learn via stabilisers.

Ridgeback Scoot
Our pick: Ridgeback Scoot £99.99 – This is the perfect little bike for your little one. Simple design and helps them grow their sense of balance and control on a bike.

14 Inch Wheels

Moving on from the balance bikes you have the 14-inch bikes that introduce pedals, brakes and usually a single speed drivetrain. These bikes will go everywhere, from the pavement to fields, through mud and through puddles. They are durable and light and will give your little rider confidence in their riding.

Ridgeback MX14

Our pick: Ridgeback MX14 £139.99 – The next step up from a balance bike. The wheels are durable and ready for any adventure your child will take this bike on.

16 Inch Wheels

Much like the 14 inch wheeled bikes, the 16 inch is the next step in your tiny cyclists’ life. Again they’re durable and easy to throw around. Most of these bikes are designed to be tough, thrown around and crashed into bushes. A perfect jumping off point to the larger bikes.

Specialized Hotrock

Our pick: Specialized Hotrock 16 Coaster £134 – Much like any other bike this size, the Specialized Hotrock has durable alloy wheels, ready to take on any trail and urban course your kid can tackle.

20 Inch Wheels

This is probably the bike that will define your kid’s childhood. Including more gears, stronger tires and light but sturdy frame, these bikes are for the kids who want to explore and have fun whilst riding. Most are equipped with V-brakes but some even have disc brakes for ultimate stopping power.

Cube Kid 200

Our pick: Cube Kid 200 £279 – A bike designed for kids going off-road. An easy to change derailleur for any accidents that could happen on the trails. This is made for the kids to tackle the trails and to show the parents whose, boss.

24 Inch Wheels

Probably the last stop before your child moves onto an adult size (they grow up so fast). This is essentially a full sized bike scaled down for a child. Some have double or triple chainsets and even front forks. Much like the 20 Inch bikes, brakes can be V-brakes or disc.

Specialized Riprock
Our pick: Specialized Riprock 24 £350 – Made from premium aluminium, for a lightweight hardwearing frame. With 2.8 inch tires, that are comfortable and easy to take on any terrain, paired with mechanical disc brakes. This is a great bike for any kid who loves to ride.