Editor Susannah Warren turns to Islabikes to make her daughter’s birthday one she’ll always remember
Who doesn’t remember being given their first proper bike? It’s a rite of passage. As the youngest in my family, pretty much everything I owned, clothing or otherwise, was a hand-me-down. But on my 6th birthday, my parents went all out and bought me a brand new shiny white bike. I remember seeing it for the first time, complete with giant bow, as if it were yesterday. Fast forward 30 years and it’s my daughter, Daisy, who is turning six and needs a bike of her very own. And I want it to be every bit as memorable.
Although the eldest in our family, she has two much bigger boy cousins and has been using their preloved Islabikes models since she was two. The balance bike proved the perfect introduction into cycling and built her confidence to such a degree that when she was handed down the Isla starter bike on her 4th birthday, she hopped straight on and pedaled off. Granted, there was a bit of a wobble here and there as she got to grips with stopping but, essentially, she could ride a bike, unaided, without stabilisers, immediately.
To say I am fan of Islabikes is, therefore, the understatement of the century. (Although I will admit, rather ingenuously to feeling momentarily cheated that I never got to actually teach her how to ride a bike.)
It has to be said, the next stage up in the Isla family, the Beinn 20 model, doesn’t come cheap. But given our previous successes with the brand, it seemed the obvious choice. And, ultimately, an Isla bike is an investment, not only in your child’s physical and emotional development, but also financially, as it is built to last and holds its value incredibly well.
As with most things in this life, you get what you pay for. And what you get with an Islabikes Beinn 20 is this: a super stylish, ultra practical and exceptionally lightweight bike that is especially designed for little people and offers them supreme levels of control, comfort and safety.
On day one, Daisy easily manoevred the pavements, river paths and pedestrians of West London; took on bumpy, uneven terrain in the woods; and biked up a severe hill without stalling and flew down the other side confidently using the short-reach brakes to control her speed. She was out of the saddle and leaning into corners as if she’d been riding the Beinn 20 for years.
The thing I was most concerned about beforehand was whether she’d be able to handle changing gears. But I needn’t have worried. The super slim handlebars and intuitive grip shift meant she was able to twist the grip easily to change up or down. And she absolutely loved being able to alter her speed and effort according to her route.
Other features of the bike include a sleek and comfortable saddle (perfectly proportioned for little bottoms), quick-release aluminium wheels and multi-surface Kenda tyres. The pedals are designed to contact your child’s shoe at the perfect angle to set off, while a two-sided chainguard keeps their clothes oil- and rip-free. You can even get a name transfer on the frame. Daisy loved hers!
It’s worth mentioning the company’s excellent sizing advice, too, which ensures you get exactly the right bike for your child and set them on the road to cycling success.
In short, the Beinn 20 is worth every penny – and not just to see Daisy’s face light up as she pulled away the wrapping from this fuchsia gem. But because of the confidence it has given her, on and off the road.