It’s hard for a 9 year-old to reflect on the past year and point to the one thing that made the most difference. With some help reviewing the few changes that occurred as a natural consequence of being 8 (bigger shoes and so on…), she does however point to her bike as the one big improvement for 2015.
Her previous bike, a Cube team 200 was pretty good, in particular its gear ratio. We didn’t have or need a car until last summer so most of our commuting was (and still is) done by bike, hence The Cub also needed a decent pair of wheels.
However it was becoming obvious that she was becoming to tall for the 20 inch wheels. So I set off on a hunt for the perfect all-round two wheeler. Criteria where: lightness (aluminium frame), 24-inch wheels, a good gear ratio, no suspension and no front derailleur for ease of use.
I shortlisted the following, which all fulfilled the above criteria:
a) Frog 24
b) Islabike Beinn 24
c) Hoy Bonaly 24
Us being French, the obvious and most fun choice could have been the Frog, on the other hand the Islabikes have a great reputation and a great resell value, while the Hoy was the only bike that had the “third leg” option (a 32 tooth sprocket) just like her previous Cube, which is a great bonus for kids doing some real cycling in Wales.
The deciding factor was the gear ratio and price, the Hoy Bonaly had the winning combination!
Changing bikes was quite an emotional matter so we made a day of it and took the bus to Cardiff to pay a visit to Evans Cycles. She tried the Bonaly, she could ride it with the seat at its lowest, she was totally in love with the colour scheme, all was perfect. We couldn’t take the bike as we were on the bus so we ordered it, quite a hard mental exercise for an 8 year old but she passed it with flying colours.
In the end having the bike delivered was great as she also got to play with the box, endlessly, and for months. What is it exactly with kids, cats and boxes?
While we were in Cardiff we also took a lot of time to find a helmet that fitted her. Her kids’ helmet annoyed her (and me) as it didn’t fit well at all. We eventually found an adult size small (Specialized Andorra) that fitted her perfectly and although it was more expensive than a child’s helmet it was money well spent: since having it she’s never complained and I know that she’s still got a lot of growing room in it. Thanks Specialized!
We haven’t had the Bonaly a year yet but it’s done a lot and it’s never let us down. The Cub’s taken it on a Mountain Biking competition in North Wales, has done her first triathlon in the Alpe d’Huez with it, she cycled some of a Tour de France’s stage on it, did countless commutes to the pool, trips to the pump track, took part in two Mini Burns where she cycled really impressively over the tough 10 k mountain bike part. During our European trip last summer, she also cycled in Italy, between Arco and Lake Garda and had a lot of fun going up and down in the meadow behind our tent in Austria. The one thing this bike doesn’t do so much of is accompanying me on runs, it’s just too fast for me…
We’re now all looking forward to taking it on new adventures in 2016, and we’ve certainly got some good plans for it.