Bike Clinic FAQ

Have more questions? No problem! We've compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions that families send our way. Check if we've answered yours below!

FAQ #1: Why balance bikes? Why not just use a tricycle or training wheels?

Balance bikes have a lot of benefits over tricycles! Tricycles are very inefficient and as a result, kids generally don’t ride them very long by themselves, which is why many of them come with handles. In addition, tricycles teach kids to pedal first which is a really easy skill to learn, versus teaching balancing first. When kids learn to balance first, they never use training wheels and are on a regular pedal bike by 3 or 4. With tricycles to training wheels, they generally don’t transition to pedal bikes until they are 5 or 6. Furthermore, balance bike are very versatile as they can go over dirt, jumps, curbs, grass and gravel just fine, while tricycles can’t (or need to be pushed). The main concern most people have with balance bikes is that kids can’t simply sit on them and take off. The learning curve with balance bike is longer than with tricycles, but once they learn, they take off! Kids as young as 18 months start riding balance bikes and do just fine, although most don’t master sitting and balancing until they are closer to 2.
— Two Wheeling Tots

FAQ #2: What do they typically learn at a clinic? My kid is really good on a balance bike. They got the hang of it at 2. Not at all meaning that They couldn't learn something new, just curious what the clinic entails.

Our kid, Asante is proficient as well. He started at 9-months and can ride a pedal bike without training wheels, so we totally get what you're asking. The reason our family started these clinics and all of our other Kittie Knox Community Programs was manifold but as it relates to your question: COMMUNITY. Our kid loves to ride and we want to be in community with other families that feel the same.

  • FoCMC co-founders, Adisa & Lauryn
  • We are certified League Cycling Instructors (LCIs) with the League of American Bicyclists. Registering for a clinic gets your family our professional instruction. We'll help show you how to adjust your child's bike and helmet to fit their needs; how to maintain and care for their bike; and how you, as their adult, can create a supportive environment for your young rider.
  • We have ramps. We have cones. We have obstacle courses. We play games. We talk about bike and pedestrian safety. We have a cargo bike available for families to touch and try. We stay late after our clinics are over to give one-on-one instruction to families that want to hang out. But mostly, our clinics are about building COMMUNITY. If any of that appeals to you, we'd love to meet your family and have you attend!
  • And thank you to our Community Sponsor, Xtracycle™ for supporting our Kittie Knox Community Programs by providing us with an Xtracycle Cargo Node™ for FoCMC families to touch and try! This bike is nimble and zippy, and in our opinion, one of the most perfect family biking options out right now. We'll have it available at all our Family Rides, Family Cycling Workshops, and Bike Clinics. Come take a test ride!

FAQ #3: What's the difference between a Strider® balance bike and the bikes you carry?

  • The woom™ 1 comes with a turning limiter, the Strider® does not. This prevents the handlebars from turning all the way around on themselves and oversteering.
  • The woom™ 1's handlebars are significantly wider than the Strider®, making steering less twitchy and providing more control for children.
  • The woom™ 1 comes stock with a child-specific handbrake (the Strider® does not) which is great for when children are ready to transition to a pedal bike because they'll already be familiar with a handbrake and know how to use it.
  • The woom™ 1 also comes stock with air tires whereas the Strider® comes with foam, which while they wont ever go flat, they also wont provide the traction and cushion your rider will need once they get more ambitious and decide to ride on dirt, loose gravel, wet concrete, etc. Also, if you wanted to eventually upgrade those foam tires on your Strider®, you'd be just $20 shy of what it would've cost you to just buy the woom™ 1.
  • Plus, upgrading the tires on your Strider® will add an additional 3.6lbs (6.7lbs stock + 3.6lbs for tires = 10.1lbs vs the woom™ 1's stock 7.5lbs) to the bike which might make it more difficult, if your child is petite and/or less coordinated, to maneuver.
  • The woom™ 1's frame is made of aluminum alloy 6061 which is lightweight, strong, and rust-proof whereas the Strider®'s frame is steel and prone to rust.
  • Finally, woom™ is a small, family-owned and operated bike company that focuses all of their time and energy on designing high quality, lightweight bikes for kids of all ages. They value ergonomics, handling, design, being responsive to customers, and using non-toxic parts.

FAQ #4: We bought our kid a bike for their birthday. Can we use that one at the clinic?

For safety, quality of instruction, and the continued support of our Community Sponsors the only bikes we allow at our clinics are the ones available in our online shop with the exception of kids who currently own a 26" bike with at least 8 gears and V-brakes. We recommend and carry only the highest-quality family bike gear and expect to provide nothing less to your family.

FAQ #5: What is inseam and how do I measure it?

  • Have your child take their shoes off and stand up straight, with their back against a wall.
  • Place a book between their legs and slide it up the wall to meet the crotch firmly as if they are seated on a saddle.
  • Make sure your child still has their heels on the ground, then mark with a pencil where the top of the book the touches the wall.
  • Measure the distance from the floor straight up to the mark.

FAQ #6: I have a helmet but I don't think it fits my kid properly. Is there a brand that you recommend?

Yes! We sell the helmets that we recommend and all proceeds go directly back into supporting our Community Programs and providing scholarships to families that need it. We carry only the highest-quality family bike gear and expect to provide nothing less to you. Most families buy helmets based on the color or how they look, neglecting factors like fit, adjustability, construction, safety certifications, and buckle type. No worries! We've got you covered. Check out our online shop for available styles, colors, and sizes. Please note that because kids grow so much, it isn't practical to expect that a kid can wear a helmet for 3 to 4 years.

FAQ #7: How should a properly-fitted bike helmet look?

Helmet fit is essential. Wearing one that doesn't fit or that isn't properly adjusted reduces the helmet’s ability to offer protection during a crash. It can fall off or move around. Knowing your head circumference (grab a soft/flexible tape measure and wrap it level around your head, one inch above your eyebrows and ears) is the best way to select a helmet that's going to fit you properly. Avoid helmets that have non-essential elements that protrude from the helmet (i.e., decorative horns, ears, etc.) -- these may look interesting but they may prevent the helmet's smooth surface from sliding after a fall which could lead to injury.

  • Helmet should be level on your head (not tilted to the back or forward or to the side) and fit snugly.
  • If you shake your head "no" and the helmet moves side-to-side, it's too big. Cinch down the strap/dial in the back or add the additional padding that came with your helmet to get a snug fit. If that doesn't help, your helmet is too big and you need to buy one that fits properly.
  • If the helmet wont sit flush, it might be too small. Check by either opening the strap/dial or removing the extra padding from the inside and try again. If it still wont sit flush, it's too small and you need to buy one that fits properly.
  • You should be able to fit one or two fingers above your eyebrows while it's on. No more or less than that.
  • Straps by your ears should form a "V" right below your lobe when they are buckled.
  • When your helmet is buckled only one or two fingers should fit between the strap and your chin. If you can fit more, make it tighter.
  • You should be able to eat and talk while your helmet is buckled without it being pulled down by you opening your mouth.
  • Before every ride, recheck, and make sure everything is how it should be and that your helmet doesn't need to be readjusted.

FAQ #8: Do you recommend any additional safety gear? Pads? Gloves?

Unless your child is a super aggressive rider -- going off jumps, bombing hills, etc. -- the only safety gear we recommend in additon to a helmet, long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes with grippy rubber soles are gloves (as that's how kids brace themselves if they do take a tumble) and a bell (for letting people ahead of them know that they are close and want to pass). Regarding pads, most on the market are too bulky and thus, cumbersome for young riders.

FAQ #9: Do you carry adaptive cycles for kids with disabilities?

We are a community-building collective of multiracial + multiethnic families and all of our programming is funded out-of-pocket by us and unfortunately, we don't have the funds for a fleet of adaptive cycles. These bikes are manufactured in low volumes and are specialty in nature. It's the difference between units of ten produced per week versus tens of thousands per week which makes them more expensive. And sadly, this is perhaps why, mainstream cycling manufacturers don't invest in producing adaptive cycles. That said, if you'd like to see a fleet of adaptive cycles in Monterey County, consider joining our team. At FoCMC, we believe we are our own assets and that we have the power to catalyze and facilitate. We believe that we can create spaces to discover and pursue opportunities that unite to achieve the outcomes we want for our families. We believe in harnessing our potential to decide for ourselves how to use the personal and interpersonal resources at our disposal to support our family's needs.


Photography courtesy of Christine Shaw.


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