Not everyone is going to agree with me here. But I think Norco has a brilliant approach to the 'boy bike,' vs. 'girl bike' debate. They've designed a sweet little blue 16 inch bike.
An alloy BMX frame makes this bike light and responsive. It's got training wheels you can take off as soon as you like. The rugged tires offer great grip if your keen little kid wants to ride in the winter as our Jasper does. And at $205 CAD, the price is decent for a sturdy kids' bike with a light frame. It's the kind of bike you can pass down through a family and then send over to the neighbours' so that their three kids can each learn to ride on it.
When you pick the bike up from the dealer, it comes with two sets of stickers and two sets of pads. Pink princess stickers and pads turn this bike into a "Sparkle." Green stickers and pads make exactly the same bike a "Megablaster."
Now before anyone starts jumping around about girl and boy bikes and comparing these stickers to girl lego which is a completely different topic, I'd like to point out that one of the more important movements in recent cycling history has been Cycle Chic. Is there any other contemporary movement that has gotten more people who might not otherwise ride interested in riding? If celebrating looking good on your bike works to get more adults riding, why not try it for kids?
The other thing I like about the stickers is you can peel them off. A "Sparkle" bike can be converted into a "Megablaster" bike. Or you can forget about the factory stickers and personalize the bike by adding your own stickers. Alternatively, you can go neutral and stickerless. Lots of options!
Around here, Anna Sierra and Jasper are not too concerned with the colour or style of what they wear or what they ride. Anna Sierra is three years older and quite a bit taller than Jasper. So she passes a lot of equipment and clothing down to her little brother. He loves wearing her hand-me-downs because they used to belong to her.
I took the kids' relaxed fashion attitudes for granted until the other day when Jasper and I ran into his friend's mom in our local second hand store. She was looking for winter boots for her son. Jasper picked out some pink and purple boots that looked about the right size and was surprised when his friend's mom said they were 'girl' boots and her son probably wouldn't wear them. I don't think he had ever heard that before.
On the one hand, I guess the "Sparkle" and "Megablaster" stickers probably do encourage kids to identify things as 'for girls' or 'for boys' which may not jive with your family's values. But on the other hand, if your kids are already picky about 'girl stuff' and 'boy stuff,' you can buy one bike, change the stickers around to convert it and keep on using it for all the kids in your immediate and extended family that need a bike.
P.S. Jasper said I can put the "Sparkle" stickers on my pink road bike, a Norco from the 90's named, incidentally, "Princess." Thanks Jasper!
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