Have you ever thought, "Gee, I'd like to travel more, but I'm nervous about how my infant might handle the rigors and chaos of traveling on trains, planes, and bicycles?".
This blog is meant to be a source of information for active people who either have kids, are expecting, or are planning on having kids, and like the idea of shared family experiences.
This is basically a compilation of my family's experiences, condensed down to what we've learned from traveling with an infant.
It came today! The Islabike that Neva is going to test! After the 5 year mark last year, Neva really progressed quickly in her biking. She went from trailer, to Wee-hoo, to tandem, and she is now ready for a fully functional bike! This now-6-year-old would tell me, "Mom, do we have to take the tandem, it's soooo slow!", unbeknownst to her that the Islabike Beinn 20 Small was on its way.
First of all, first impressions couldn't be better.
Right out of the box...seriously!
As someone who used to work for an online bike company, this packaging was suburb. First of all, it came almost fully assembled! All I had to do was put on the front wheel and pedals. The nice folks at Isla installed the rack and bottle cage, cut to size and installed the kickstand, and installed the upgraded tires onto the wheels. Nothing was out of place or damaged, it was perfect. It took longer to put on my shoes and gather my biking things than for me to get this bike ready to ride.
You've gotta love the small details Isla adds for their customers. Their 'ready to go' set-up is convenient for bike nerds, but a sigh of relief for the bike novice that didn't want to pay a shop to put a bike together. In the picture above, you can see they added little stickers which say which pedal goes on, and which way to rotate the pedal properly for installation. A manual is included as well if necessary, with a variety of allen wrenches for adjustments.
I was also very impressed that Islabikes offers the option of tire upgrades since these bikes use 20" tires. Schwalbe Marathon tires are my go-to touring tire, and I was glad I didn't have to go directly to Schwalbe to get these tires. Also, they installed them, which is super cool of them.
The reason we were looking at this bike is because it really stood out from any other bikes that are in Neva's age/size range. It has front and rear V-brakes with small hand levers, it has a 7-speed shifter on the right hand (not shown here), and a cool bell on the left hand side. You can also see that there is a real headset and stem that you can adjust if necessary.
As if good brakes and shifters weren't enough, the Beinn 20 has tons of eyelets in useful places! I found some here on the front fork, giving a possible option for running a front rack. There are eyelets for a rear rack as well at the dropouts and seat stays, and a bottle cage inside the triangle. This photo also shows the high-quality, sealed bearing hubs that come on the wheels. She'll be able to ride as many miles as she wants on these wheels.
The Beinn 20 utilizes a mountain derailleur and a wide range ratio cassette, which gives Neva plenty of shifting options on different terrain.
Here is the kickstand installed very securely on the bottom bracket. It's a greenfield kickstand that Isla cut down to size to fit this small frame.
The seat is a real seat with collar! It looks sleek and comfy. Even after all of my research on child bike seats, I had trouble finding one for Neva, and she did have some complaints of her 'gluteus maximus' hurting every now and again on long tandem rides, making bike shorts with shammy a necessity for her. This seat is adjustable front to back, and can be angled up or down, just like an adult bike seat.
And voila! The bike all put together! Not only is the Beinn 20 Small the best kids' bike I've seen, it's a great bike in general with all of the options that have gone into it. It's obvious that IslaBikes has an innovative production team that really considers the wants and needs of a young person who knows how to ride and is ready for a good bike. The color is also beautiful. It's a purpley-pink, almost shiny magenta, that really catches the eye. You can even get decals with your child's name made and put on the bike for $14.99, how cool is that! The above pictures don't quite give it justice with the inside lighting, but the outside shots below are more true to color.
I decided I wanted to surprise Neva at school today with the bike, so I packed up the Burley Nomad trailer, tied down the Beinn 20 with 3 bungee cords (front tire removed, and inside the trailer), stuffed her windbreaker and helmet in, and was ready to roll.
We made it! (The Beinn 20 and I, that is!)
I got the bike all set up, and hid it in the corner...
She was contemplating how she would mount my bike when I called her over, camera ready, asking if she knew what this was...
She put her finger up to her mouth, in a pondering position, and asked, "Is this my bike?"
The second I said yes, she was ready to ride it!
It fits perfectly at all the smallest settings, and she has room to grow. She rode the entire 3 miles home. Walking across crosswalks, practicing her hand brakes, ringing her bell. Her first impressions were a big thumbs up!
Right before we got home, she gave me a big smile. She felt very accomplished after her first ride on her new bike that fits her! She's already talking of the panniers she'll add on, and more, so I'll keep you all updated! Have some questions for Neva? We will start some Neva Q&A segments, so if you want it, we will give it to you straight from the 6-year-old's mouth!