IN THE 2009/2010 academic year, there was an increase from 14 per cent to 27 per cent in pupils cycling regularly to school, and more than double the number cycling every day to nine per cent, according to the Sustrans charity.
Its Free Range Kids report also found that over a third of parents surveyed thought their children were more physically active, 30 per cent that they were healthier, and 14 per cent that they themselves were more physically active since their child began cycling to school.
Now, toy retailers are obviously not bike specialists, but with the Government obesity warnings and get active campaigns in the press driving purchases of bikes for all age groups, there are ways in which they can benefit.
“Any manufacturer or retailer of wheeled toys could get involved with the Bike Hub,” explains Carlton Reid, editor of BikeHub.co.uk and executive editor of ToyNews sister title, Bikebiz. “It is a levy scheme; a joint initiative of the Bicycle Association and the Association of Cycle Traders. The objective is to generate funds from within the cycle industry to support the future of cycling in the UK.”
Reid explains that around £400,000 is raised each year, which pays for getting more children cycling to school projects, as well as a special Bike Hub cycle satnav app. Where toy retailers can play a part is by helping to get kids cycling in the first place, he continues.
“A mix of balance bikes and ride-on toys would help children get used to life on wheels. Balance bikes have really taken off in the last few years and I’m glad they have done so.
“Getting kids on to balance bikes and away from stabilisers would be a huge move in the right direction. Bike Hub has the objective of getting more people cycling more often. With effort from organisations such as Sustrans, CTC and British Cycling, more and more children are returning to cycling and cycle use is growing.
“Toy manufacturers and retailers can encourage this by helping to get kids cycling in the first place, and wheeled toys and balance bikes aid this.”
For further information on the Bike Hub, head to www.bikehub.co.uk, while more details on Sustrans can be found at www.sustrans.org.uk.
Re:creation 0118 973 6222
For kids aged five to 14 and up, Razor continues to refresh its range and support products with marketing.
Three TV campaigns will run into December. The lines are RipRider 360, PowerWing and the new eSpark, an electric ride-on that lights up the ride with real sparks.
Stunt scooter riding has grown over the past year as more kids go to their local skate park and ride the ramps with the skateboarders and BMX riders. ‘Scooterers’ are taking to the ramps to master the basics tricks from bar twists and bunny hops to the more complex tail whips. This year Razor ran the very first national and international stunt scooter competition in the UK and will continue to support and build the awareness of the sport with further competition and demo programmes in 2012. Two new scooter focused consumer magazines have just launched and the ISA (International Scooter Association) has been established.
Sales of Razor stunt scooters have already exceeded 280 per cent YOY and Re:creation is predicting triple digit growth for next year.
Spring sees the launch of the Pro scooter range developed for the mass market. The line-up includes the Pro X, Pro XX and the Pro XXX. Each has a new deck design made to raise the standard in stunt scooter seriousness. For the very first time, stunt scooters will be supported with TV ads featuring the Pro XX, which has an SRP of £109.99.
MV Sports 0121 748 8000
MV Sports’ Olympic Team GB range is looking to capitalise on the nation’s strong support and Team GB’s medal prospects in cycling.
Focusing on the patriotic Team GB colours of red, white and blue alongside the official British Lion insignia, MV has developed a range of bikes and wheeled toys to appeal to a broad age range.
The older boys offering has been strengthened with a host of new licences, led by Ben 10 and Star Wars. Other additions include The Avengers, which looks set to be the biggest action hero licensing programme of the year.
Power Rangers Samurai will also join MV’s portfolio, along with the new brand from the creators of Ben 10, Generator Rex. Hasbro’s new animated series Transformers Prime also joins and is already proving to be a ratings winner in the UK. A full range of ThunderCats wheeled toys will also be added. MV’s pre-school range is led by Thomas & Friends and a host of new products will be added to the range throughout 2012.
The first in a new line of Bob the Builder products will be the Toolbox Trike, which comes with a removable six-piece tool set.
The Fireman Sam line will also continue with an exciting new addition.
The BAFTA award winning Ben and Holly has been a successful licence for MV. The line will expand with the new patented Magical Light and Sound Tri-Scooter, which comes with a magical wand that remotely activates sounds and lights from the show.
Other new pre-school licences include the highly anticipated Octonauts, Little Charley Bear and Raa Raa the Noisy Lion.
Last, but certainly not least, is the new Rastamouse range of wheeled toys, based on the CBeebies TV series.
Little Tikes 01908 268 480
Little Tikes is making several new additions to its 3-in-1 Trike range, including a version that incorporates an interactive dashboard from the company’s DiscoverSounds brand. The Little Tikes 3-in-1 Trike grows with the child through three stages – Parent Guided riding, Learning and Independent cycling.
The 3-in-1 Trike with DiscoverSounds Dashboard enables kids to discover the sounds of the road on every ride. Features include lights and sounds such as engine start, revving, police and fire sirens. There are turning signals with LED lights and a real working steering wheel – all designed for driving role play while using the 3-in-1 Trike in its first stage as a parent guided trike. For added play value, the Dashboard can be removed and played with independently.
Another addition is the 3-in-1 Trike with Deluxe Accessories, available in pink or blue. With its padded seat and portable storage bag, kids can learn to pedal, while parents can store snacks and valuables in the zippered pouch.
The original 3-in-1 Trike will also be available in navy blue, in addition to the existing pink/lilac and red/yellow/blue colour ways. Other features include an adjustable shade canopy, four position seat fitting children of all sizes, five-point seat harness, protective safety bar, non-slip pedals and an adjustable, detachable push handle allowing parents one-handed control.
John Crane 01604 774949
Tidlo provides a host of balance bike toys for active play. For boys there are the My First Scooter in red and the My First Motorbike. Alternatively the Lemon Scooter aims to provide a retro feel for all little girls.
Each leg-powered balance bike comes in high gloss paint with detailing, while the grip handlebars and pneumatic tyres make for a more safe and comfortable ride.
The Tidlo Collection is fully merchandisable by retailers, which can request free point of sale with orders to help actively merchandise their new Tidlo section in-store.
On the packaging, an at-a-glance age range symbol and category ensure retailers can show the toys to their best advantage in learning related sections and consumers can make an informed purchase. Plus, there are developmental icons on each toy for extra confidence in the product’s play and learning value.
The Tidlo Collection is backed by a PR and marketing campaign including consumer advertising, promotions to raise awareness via social media strategies.
DKL 01604 678 780
DKL’s newest range, Miniland, is already proving popular and features wheeled toys that are perfect for energetic toddlers. Made from high quality plastic, the colourful vehicles include large ride-ons, pull backs and mini vehicles in a variety of different models.
The ride on Monster Truck is a highlight, and has a chunky, colourful design. The Truck has a tipper attached to carry those all important building materials, which, when lifted up creates space for a child to sit and push themselves along. The tough, all terrain tyres mean the Monster Truck is suited for both outdoor and indoor play. The Super Tractor and Trailer is a large push along toy which features a loading arm and a trailer that can be detached and doubles as a wheel barrow, while the green and yellow Tractor and Digger is a realistic looking farm tractor with loaders on the front and back.
For younger children Miniland’s animal pull backs are a great way to encourage movement and coordination. Featuring non-slip wheels that can be used on all types of flooring, these speedy little animals are easy to grasp and provide hours of entertainment.
Wonderworld’s Mini Vehicles range continues to be popular and has seen four new additions to the range this year – Mini Racing Car, Helicopter, Truck and School Bus. Complete with driver, all Mini Vehicles are suitable from 18 months and make a fun collectable toy with a wide variety of models available including Mini Crane, Fire Engine, Loader, Taxi and Tractor. Made from sustainable wood and featuring rubber tyres, these sturdy vehicles are easy to manoeuvre and perfect for small hands to play with inside or out.
Bigjigs Toys 01904 720908
Bigjigs Toys has a wide selection of wheeled toys on offer, from ride on toys to push along characters.
The most recent additions are two wooden bikes that offer children their first step towards bike riding.
Available in pink and blue, the bikes have soft padded seats that are height adjustable so the bike develops with the child.
They also offer added cushioning with padded wheels and easy grip rubber handles.
Children from one year upwards can enjoy the colourful range of Ride On toys. The Cow and Bunny Ride Ons are embellished with soft touch fabric ears and come with six sorting shapes. The Giraffe and Zebra Ride Ons have taller wooden necks so taller children can sit comfortably.
The designs also come with a shape sorting body panel and six coloured wooden shapes.
Bigjigs Animal Push Alongs aim to make walking even more fun. The colourful Push Alongs come in a pack of eight assorted designs including a cow, a monkey, a frog, a Ladybird and different coloured teddy bears.
Each design has three small wooden balls attached to each wheel for that ‘click clack’ sound as they are pushed along.
For easy display retailers can order a wooden POS unit.
Kiddimoto Bike Accessories 01749 871 175
For safety conscious parents and little fashionistas, Kiddimoto’s range of stylish yet practical helmets are designed to safeguard the most important part of the body – the head.
Kiddimoto’s range of funky, eye-catching designs are based upon the iconic looks of the BMX Dirt helmets popular with children. Made from injection moulded ABS hard plastic, they meet all cycle helmet safety standards, have a rear wheel and chin strap adjustment for the perfect fit, come in different shell sizes and boast an 11-vent cooling system. Prices range from £24.99 up to £34.99.
Kiddimoto bike gloves are a must-have accessory for all Kiddimoto riders. Available in a range of designs to coordinate with the balance bikes and helmets, the cycle gloves are comfortable, functional and look cool while protecting vulnerable little hands as they scoot about on their Kiddimoto.
With the same detail as adult rider gloves, the kids’ bike gloves will make youngsters look and feel like a real rider.
The firm’s bike gloves for kids have padded grips on the palms and velcro straps to keep them secure on even the smallest of hands.
The gloves come in one size to fit children from two to six years (£7.49).
Personal touches can also be added – a child’s name on a Kiddimoto for £8.99 and a number for £3.99, for example. The company’s accessories range also includes replacement tyres (£7.49) and tubes (£4.99) for the Kiddimoto.
Street Surfing 01202 650009
The Wave 360 builds upon the success of Street Surfing’s original Wave.
The new design offers a more versatile range of motion than any previous casterboard, from unlimited spinning to both forward and backward carving.
The casterboard features 360 degree dual-directional technology on a robust board, allowing riders to perform a wider range of 360 and 180 degree spins. Furthermore, the lightweight design improves board speed and trick capabilities. The Wave 360 also features Abec 7 bearings.
Nathan Ridgard, UK and Ireland country director at Street Surfing, commented: “The Wave 360 takes board riding to the next level. Riders will stand out from the crowd when they show off their skills, putting a whole new spin to traditional Ollie, Kickflip and Fakie ticks.”
Hippychick 01278 434440
Hippychick bring you a range of top quality ride-ons that are real poetry in motion; the multi-award winning and best selling Wheelybugs. The sturdy wooden frame and padded layer of sponge covered with tough polyurethane mean that the ‘bugs’ can withstand any amount of robust love and fun. Vibrant and colourful animal designs give the ‘bugs’ a personality all of their own that parents and children will adore.
The unique multi directional castors offer easy manoeuvrability and limitless mobility that toddlers love.Due to their innovative design, the Wheelybugs are not limited to just backwards and forwards or side to side, they can also go round and round, helping children to develop spatial awareness, core motor skills and build self confidence.
Wheelybugs are available in two sizes and six designs with a Ladybird, Bee, Mouse, Cow, Tiger andnew for this year: a Pig.
H Grossman 0141 613 2525
H Grossman is renowned for its range of Ozbozz wheeled toys and is continually adding to its portfolio.
Ozbozz is launching a Moshi Monsters two-wheel folding chrome scooter. It has bright blue/green PU wheels and co-ordinating soft grip handles, with an easy to fold and lock mechanism as well as three different height settings.
My First Scooter is made for children from two years and designed to grow with them. The toddler starts on four sturdy wheels and when they have gained confidence, one of the front wheels can be removed to make a three-wheel scooter. Finally, one of the rear wheels can be removed to make a classic two-wheeled scooter. Available in pink or blue, My First Scooter recently receiving a Gold Award from the parenting website Bizziebaby.
The Star Wars: The Clone Wars Light Up Scooter, has lights on its deck. The two-wheel folding scooter has PU wheels, soft grip handles, secured steering, clip off grips and a rear brake.
Children need to be safe when they are out on their wheeled toys, and the new range of Raskullz helmets offer safety in a variety of funky designs including a Shark, Mohican, Ladybug and Unicorn, each available in a variety of colours. The range has won a Right Start Best Toy Award and has also been awarded a Practical Pre-School Gold award.
Great Gizmos 01293 543221
Great Gizmos’ has a collection of ride-ons and pedal cars for outdoor fun.
The new Mini Tractor and Trailer is a robust ride-on toy designed to endure years of play performance. Hand built from strong steel, the bright red tractor has a large comfortable seat and steering wheel, while the handy trailer is ideal for storing and transporting favourite toys.
For young motoring enthusiasts, Great Gizmos’ selection of Classic Ride-on Cars are hand built with strong steel.
Catering for ages one to seven, there are many different designs to choose from.
Finally, a firm favourite among parents and toddlers is Fropper from okiedog. The ride-on toy has a bouncing action and folds to a fraction of its size in just a few steps. For easy transportation, the Fropper comes with a carry handle to make things easier when on outings or holidays. An optional push handle enables parents to help keep their kids on the straight and narrow.
Mookie 01522 722 722
Mookie Toys has launched two new products to complement its wheeled toy range – the Whirlee ride-on and the Street Cruz II scooter.
These add to the existing portfolio of the Scuttlebug, Scramblebug, Urban X, Y Bike, Street Cruz, Peppa Pig and Smart Trike products.
The Whirlee, with its stackable design, weighs in at just 865 grams and is designed for packing in a car boot for holidays and weekends away. Another fun feature is the 360-degree caster wheels allowing kids to spin and whirl across the floor in all directions.
Available in red or blue, the Whirlee retails for £19.99.
The Street Cruz II is the choice for children aged three and up.
The ‘lean and steer’ action allows for more manoeuvrability and the low to the ground footplate aids balance and control. It comes in two-tone colours with chunky rubber grip handles.
The Scramblebug and The Scuttlebug are insect inspired ride-ons for pre-schoolers. Both are portable and easy to use with the simple three-step folding system allowing these ride-ons to be ready in seconds.
The Scramblebug has just been awarded Gold in the pre-school category of the Practical Parenting and Pregnancy Awards 2011/12.
Halilit 01254 872 454
Winner of two recent toy awards, Gold in the Practical Parenting Awards 2011, and Silver in the Practical Pre-School Awards 2011, the Taf Toys Developmental Walker is designed to be a long lasting multi-activity toy.
As a walker the wide wheels and brake system encourage and support a baby’s first steps. With the detachable back support in place it also works as a ride-on – with the handle lowered toddlers can push or pull it along and the seat of the ride-on can also be detached to become a lidded toy box. Additional features include a horn squeaker and ratcheting key.
“A very good walker and good value for money” and “it is sturdy and colourful and has lots of different uses” are just some of the positive comments made by the Practical Pre-School Awards testers. Taf Toys are distributed in the UK and Ireland by Halilit.
Marbel 01208 873 123
Plan Toys has launched a simple wooden Push Along Helicopter on wheels. When pushed, the rotor blades spin and create a clicking sound, providing the incentive to push. Early walking, balancing and hand-eye coordination are all facilitated by two little red wooden wheels and a long handle.
The Dollie Pram by I’m Toy is a classic, wooden pram in pink. The role-play toy is designed for little mini-mums – features include rubber strips on the wheels and a removable and reversible cushion.
Finally, the surprise guest is the Hape E-moto motorbike, which speeds children’s imagination well and truly into the 21st Century. The bamboo body is lightweight and durable, making the E-moto suitable for fast rides or big jumps. Set up the kickstand to check out the design.
HTI 01253 778888
HTI’s Hello Kitty wheeled range has been designed with a ‘candy stripe’ style guide, utilising design elements and iconography associated with the property. The range includes a ten-inch, 12-inch and 14-inch Bikes, Skateboards, Scooters, Quad and Inline Skates, a Pogo Stick, plus Helmet and Protection.
New is the Hello Kitty V-Flex Scooter for ages seven and up. With twin moulded foot decks to provide maximum traction, Kitty fans can just move their body from side to side for super drifting radical movement. The V-Flex Scooter features 145mm PU wheels, a lightweight frame for easy transportation, a front brake and folds for storage. The V-Flex is also available in Cool Britannia and EVO brands.
HTI’s Tink wheeled range features a pink, purple and black colour palette and ‘Tink-with-attitude’ poses. For younger Fairies fans, HTI has a classic Disney Fairies range including In-line Skates, a Micro Scooter, 3 Wheel Scooter and 12-inch and 14-inch Bikes, both with cute, detachable zip-up bags.
In addition, HTI also has Barbie Inline Skates, Quad Skates, Helmet and Protection.
HTI offers a wide range of boys orientated Disney wheeled toys. The Toy Story range features the Folding Scooter with light-up wheels that flash as they rotate and a lenticular footplate, providing two images in one. The extensive product line up also includes ten-inch, 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch bikes, a 3 Wheel Scooter, Quad Skates, Skateboards and Helmet & Protection. Completing the range is the Move n Groove 3 Wheel Scooter. HTI also has a range of Club Penguin wheeled toys, plus a Phineas & Ferb and Spider-man wheeled products.