Help us to grow the Toddlebike community - join up, share with friends, family and colleagues and come along to one of our events!
Exhibitor Profile: Toddlebike
I didn’t invent the Toddlebike, I found it. Or more accurately Elliot (then 15 months) found it in his cousin’s room in Belgium. But I did see right away how perfect it was for the boy – lightweight, small, instantly accessible but clearly with a balance element that he was quickly beginning to master. He then spent the rest of our holiday en Toddlebike learning to turn using handlebars whilst riding faster and faster. Extracting said boy from said bike was something of a challenge but one that I overcame by promising to find him one of his very own once we were back in England.
Back home I tried to buy the small plastic bike but with no luck. So I tried to find something similar – nothing. There were plenty of baby ride-ons; bulky, heavy, cumbersome toys designed for pre-walkers but totally impractical for a trip to the park, Trikes; restrictive in their propulsion which resulted in Toddler leg hitting the back wheels or Pedal or Balance Bikes which at 15 months were still a year or two away. I started asking around, speaking to childcare professionals, visiting toy shops trying in vain to find something to enable me to keep my promise but it was clear that there was a gap in the market, and a toy that could fill that gap. After a few phone calls to the manufacturer in Germany I’d confirmed that the Bike wasn’t currently available in the UK, that it was a quality product (3 year guaranteed, CE marked and with TUV independent quality certification) and that I could have the sole rights to distribute it in the UK and Ireland. And so the fun began with Toddlebike’s launch event taking place in September 2010.
Nearly 2 years later and having used it every single day I’ve often tried to quantify just what it is that makes Elliot love his Toddlebike so much (and the other Toddlebikers – from the Emails and photos I get sent it’s clear he’s not alone on this!). I think they love it because it’s plastic – it’s lightweight, can go on any surface, indoor outdoor, in the wet or dry – in short it’s a bike without rules and anyone with a Toddler knows how they feel about rules. They love it because it gives them freedom; over their toy to decide how they want to use it (today I will be mostly carrying my Toddlebike as if it were a bag), over their speed (the in-line back wheels mean their legs go either side so they go FAST for the first time on their own), and over their body with the gross motor skills that are being developed. Like riding a bike not all get it straight away, and it takes practice but all at their own pace initially in the comfort of their own home. And when you do venture out with toddler and their Toddlebike you rely on their buggy less and less – Toddlebiking keeps them moving at pace making the getting there as interesting as the destination and because its so small and lightweight it is no struggle to carry when they’ve had enough – now Matilda insists on bringing hers too we have 2 Toddlebikes hanging from our buggy everywhere we go.
As an Event Manger in my pre-baby life I’m convinced of the mental and physical benefits of social interaction, sport, games and general fun so have tried to build this in to my new business by way of an ongoing programme of events and activities for our Toddlebikers and their families. We’re very proud of our Event Partners; Blackberry Farm near Lewes, Westows soft play centre in Hove and the Isle of Wight Cycling Festival amongst others. We also offer Toddlebike Training – both for the Toddlers who are free to have a go at their own pace but also for the Parents who will have a range of preconceptions to get past in order to get their Toddler Biking. At cycling events Toddlers can now be more than passive observers and actually get on, get involved and begin to master some new cycling skills. With over 500 Toddlebikers mostly in the West Sussex area this is a rapidly growing network and as the network grows so does the scope for events and activities.
Also in keeping with the general ethos of the company is the desire to keep the cost to families as low as possible. So in a toy market dominated by giants who have the means to drive sales via huge advertising budgets we have to rely instead on the qualities of the product itself which will stand on its own 4 wheels but must rely on its fans and supporters to get the message out. You can’t market to a Toddler – they will be convinced based solely on how successfully they are able to interact with their toy – maybe that’s why the marketeers have left this gap in the market open for so long.
Visit this exhibitor's website: http://www.toddlebike.co.uk