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With my nephew's birthday just after Christmas and my mum determined to buy him a trike she decided to order one in October last year instead so he'd get some use out of it before the winter set in. Being assembly required he didn't get it straight away. Mum and I spent a good hour or two trying to piece it together and it really wasn't the easiest thing to do. At first we had to find the appropriate screwdriver then had trouble screwing a few screws in because the design of the trike got in the way. The wheels and the seat caused the most problems, the wheels because there was no way to hold the nut other than with your fingers because it caves in at the centre and the seat because of the overhang meaning it's impossible to use a full size screwdriver. We managed to put the handlebars on the wrong way round but luckily that was easily fixed. So ladies, you don't need to rely on a man but a second person really helps. The instructions were easy enough to follow.
The fun part was putting the stickers on the wheels although there's no indication of where they should go so it's guess work to evenly spread them. The Thomas logo and bucket are removable so easily slotted into place and the parent handle is also easily slotted into place as and when required which makes storage and wrapping a lot easier. We ended up sticking the trike in bin bags though for nephew to unveil. I was glad I'd filmed him opening his present as his face lit up when he saw his favourite character on the front. As this was his first trike he wasn't sure what to do at first so ended up standing in the bucket with his hands on the handlebars. From that moment it was known as 'beek' as he couldn't pronounce bike or trike.
He soon got the hang of it and enjoyed getting pushed around the living room with the parent handle. The reason why my mum specifically wanted this trike over some of the others was because she knew he'd not be able to reach the pedals until he was a little older so wanted the footrests. The footrests would have benefitted from being at a slight angle rather than straight down though because his legs would naturally spread apart rather than hold his feet back. The trike on the whole is very stable even going round corners although it does have quite a big turning circle as the handlebars can get in the way.
While the trike has the parent handle which is very sturdy, my nephew still didn't understand that it was him who had to do the steering so on the occasions I took him to the park I was holding the parent handle but also bent forward trying to steer with the handlebars too. It really is the most uncomfortable position you can walk in. Even now with him being almost 3 years old he'll still not head in the right direction so if he does get the chance to take a bike out, this isn't the first choice for the adult taking him. Now he's older he can now reach the pedals so does have more control of it than he did at first. There are times when he can pedal and it doesn't drive him forward as the front wheel just turns itself but overall it is pretty reliable.
Before buying the trike I spent a lot of time searching around for a good deal so while most were priced at around £35 before postage, I found this one for £28 which came to just over £31 with postage so saved a little. This model is still available for sale but I've noticed they've now got models in a slightly lighter blue with a different parent handle.
I've never really had an issue with the parent handle other than it not having steering ability like you would with a Swiffer mop which would really help if nephew decides he doesn't want to sit on it when going home. It's not practical to carry it around so does have to be pushed but thankfully you can get over the steering issue by raising the front wheel off the ground. There's far more manoeuvrability with just the two back wheels on the ground. When nephew is on the trike the parent handle is comfortable to grip and it doesn't take too much effort to push him.
He has a lot of use out of it over the last year and other than it getting dirty there hasn't been any damage to it. There is a little wear on the tires but they're plastic so don't have to worry about punctures. The detachable Thomas on the front is rarely on the trike but it's still very recognisable as a Thomas trike with the stickers on the bucket and bars. He's always picking up stones and putting them in the bucket. You do have to be careful with lighter items though as I found balls tend to roll out. Even now with the option of his balance bike and other ride-on vehicles, he will still ask for the Thomas trike.
The bike is recommended for ages 2+ and I would say that's right. Nephew had his from about 1 year 10 months at which point he couldn't reach the pedals but did grow into it. He just had to learn to keep his feet on the footrests. The seat height is fixed but the handlebars can be adjusted between 52 and 56cm. Unfortunately my niece isn't a Thomas fan but I'm sure she'll happily have a go of it when she gets closer to being 2.