Don’t buy your child a cheap bike

We all like to save money and for me I make a living advising people not to overspend and whip out the credit card for every little thing they desire. Following my own advice that I dish out on a daily basis has served me well…so far. But there are times when parents (including myself) need to spend more money to ensure that their children get to enjoy a quality product and that they don’t spend more on cr*p that they were enticed to buy thinking they had gotten a bargain.

A case in point is my eldest child’s bike. Just like many other parents I paid for a bike at a major retail store. The only thing that drew me to the product was the price – nothing else. It came disassembled so we had to build it up when we got home.

And this brings me to another important tip – rather get the store assistants to build it for you there and then. It will save you time, energy and more importantly your marriage and sanity. Too often these inexpensive goods are sold with pieces missing or not the right equipment to put it together. By the time you decide to assemble it, the store has closed or you don’t have the will to get it exchanged and so on you soldier…

With these types of products, instructions are never clear either and look like they’ve been put together by a 7 year old whose fourth language is English. If you want to test how strong your marriage is – go ahead and buy a cheap bike and build it together with your spouse. For an added challenge make sure your kid is in the room egging you on and whining about when they can play with said item. And just for kicks, do it especially if you have a baby that’s just learned to walk or crawl and that enjoys picking up every inanimate object and eating it – there goes the hex key (obviously don’t do this). But you get my drift – these things are never fun to build. Avoid doing it at all costs.

Speaking of costs let me get back to my main point. While buying the cheapest bike you can find may initially feel like a godsend – it isn’t. Ours ended up falling apart not long after as we clearly weren’t able to piece it together properly. Or the quality of the product was poor – I suspect it’s a mix of both.

It ended up living in the garage with all our other non-functioning trinkets until yesterday when we got a note from the school saying they were having a ‘bicycle day’ and that all the kids had to bring one. What could I do? It was still in pieces.

I phoned around to a bicycle repair shop to get it professionally done but unfortunately and to my amazement they were fully booked. Apparently the kids Argus (there’s a friggin kid’s Argus???!!!) had taken place and they were extremely busy with repairs. What’s more, all the bikes that were designed for my child’s height and age were sold out. I’m clearly in the wrong business.

Another shop was recommended down the street and out of desperation I ended up spending close to R1,200 for a new bike. It’s a beautiful bike and it was an instant hit with our son. I rationalized it was an early birthday present – his birthday is in April.

But this got me all thinking. I should’ve bought the correct bike in the first place. And when it comes to things like this in future, I certainly will.

2 thoughts on “Don’t buy your child a cheap bike

    1. Exactly. There are some things we can’t cut corners on. At times we need to buy things that will last the distance and that are safe!

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