This is 19 month old Pascal’s absolute favorite-est toy; a toddler-sized mini bakfiets purchased last year on Queen’s day for €5 and fixed up a little. Whenever he visits dad at work(cycles) (which is quite often since we live just five minutes bike ride away) Pascal immediately searches out his bakfietsje. He then races around the showroom and workshop, deliberately slamming head-on into chairs, doors and shins. Thankfully he avoids the bikes. Sometimes he’ll fill the box with bells, locks, Brooks handlebar grips or whatever products he can reach and “transports” them to far-flung corners of the building.
The other day when I picked Pascal up at the daycare the women there commented that he seems oddly obsessed with the little bicycles, tricycles and rideable vehicles. Apparently he goes from one vehicle to the next much of the day, doing a few laps, “testing” them for fun factor, and generally hoarding them. Hmmm, how strange… I can’t imagine where he got this from.
Pascal also likes the tiny Micro Mini scooters in the shop though this one definitely takes second place to his baby-bakfiets. Probably the scooter is actually still just too big for him. Pascal rides it without problem but the handlebar is at about his chin height, nose height before he’s standing on it.
The same also seems to be the case with the Micro G-Bike “loopfiets” (pedal-less balance bike) we have here. It’s made for kids about 2 years old and up and Pascal can just barely get his leg over it. He’ll go a couple steps, never really settle into the saddle and then fall over. He tries it every now and then but it’s clearly frustrating.
There are a lot of loopfietsen available, a number of which are good. We like and sell the Micro G-Bike (and its bigger G-Bike + brother) because:
They’re all available to try and in stock a at WorkCycles Lijnbaansgracht shop.
Since Pascal loves riding these bikes and little vehicles so much I figured I’d tinker a bit to see whether he would actually ride the G-Bike already if it were lower. I replaced the 120mm wheels with a pair of 80mm inline skate wheels I had. This lowers the bike by 2cm which is a lot considering the saddle is normally only 30cm high in the lowest position. Kyoko and I each rolled around on it, clown style, and it rides just fine. It’s just slower over carpet and bumps. Of course it’ll be more inclined to get stuck in holes outdoors but once he’s ready to ride beyond the living room or playground I’ll just put the original wheels back on.
A toddler on a two wheeler without training wheels might sound like crazy-talk to those not in the Netherlands but actually it’s quite normal here. Dutch kids grow up sitting on mom and dad’s bikes and learn to ride at a very young age. Training wheels (which are actually counterproductive) are thankfully disappearing in favor of “loopfietsen” (balance bikes, run bikes, training bikes…). Just today while an expat family was in the shop testing (adult) bakfietsen I asked their five year old daughter whether she could ride a bike yet. “No, only with training wheels.” Much to her parents’ surprise I handed her a loopfiets and commented to them that she’d ride a two-wheeler by the time they left. As it turns out my statement was conservative; the little girl pointed the bike down the length of the shop, made a couple careful first steps, pushed off and lifted both feet in the air, gliding along until another push was needed. Mission accomplished. Her folks can now remove the training wheels from her own bike.