Cycling Tips

Recognizing the difference between Presta and Schrader valves is easy. Presta valves are longer and slimmer, while the Schrader valve is shorter and thicker. Aside from the proportions, these valves work rather differently, too, in how they inflate, deflate and retain air.

Presta valves have superior compatibility with Schrader. If you are going to be riding with spare valves on adventure gravel or mountain biking weekend, Presta's can be dual-purposed, working on rims shaped for both valve types. With a Schrader valve, you are mainly limited to the rims that it was intended for. The valve allows airflow in one direction only, so to pump air into the tire, you need to press the inner pin down. This also allows you to check the air pressure in the tire. Schrader valves are usually found on budget-friendly mountain, hybrid, and city bikes.

A Helmet. Of all the pieces of safety equipment for your child to have, this one is the most important.

Keep in mind that simply having a helmet isn’t enough. For a helmet to be effective, it needs to fit properly, always be buckled, and retain its structural integrity.

Reflective Gear. Reflective or bright clothing is good practice for everyone, but it’s especially critical for kids who live in areas with poor visibility and/or lots of traffic, or who tend to ride in the early morning, evening, or at night.

Lighting. Consider buying a special flashing bike light to attach to your child’s bike along with the standard reflectors, especially if you live in a more rural area. The white reflector in front of the bike and red in the rear of the bike.

Closed-Toe Shoes. For children who have graduated to a pedal bike with a chain, closed toe shoes ensure that their toes won’t get caught in the chain of the bike, and also that their feet are less likely to be hurt in the event of a fall. For kids who tend to wear dresses or loose-fitting pants, it may also be wise to get them a Velcro strap to secure clothing that is in danger of getting caught in the chain.

Knee, Elbow, and Wrist Guards. It’s always good to have that extra protection, especially riders who are still a little. All children might benefit from the extra protection that knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards offer.

A Correctly-Sized Bike. Riding on an ill-fitting bike can make balancing and pedaling more difficult, which in turn can increase the likelihood of falls. As your child grows, make sure you’re regularly checking that their bike still fits, and making adjustments or replacements as needed. It’s also important to maintain bikes by keeping the tires inflated, oiling the chain regularly, tightening handlebars and seats as needed, and checking the brakes.

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Bike Safety for Kids