A bike with a bow. It's the simplest holiday gift that most kids—and many adults—wish for as the countdown to the giving season begins. It's no secret Coloradans are just a smidge bicycle crazy, but for the mini, two-wheeled-enthusiasts in training, there's a bike that goes above and beyond the checklist for the Mile High's most wanted.
The Beetle is a balance bike—hand-built in Breckenridge—primarily made of logs harvested from Colorado trees killed by pine beetles. Because of the knots, the look of the wood varies, making each bike unique. The Beetle's creator (and professional snowboarder), 36-year-old Brent Meyer, says the design had to be tailored to the wood, leaving the end result looking more like a bombproof downhill mountain bike than your standard kids rig. The Beetle is pricey at $299, but remember that the wood comes from Colorado. (All the other parts are made in the United States except the tires and tubes.) Beyond that, this bike is a keepsake for generations of new Colorado cycling lovers.
Why go no pedals for your little cyclist's first ride? Balance bikes kick the false sense of security of training wheels before kids have the chance to trust them. As soon as a kid gets the hang of walking, they can toddle along on a balance bike. Walking leads to scooting and before you know it, they'll be gliding. Meyer says he often takes his young daughter to the pump track with her Beetle balance bike.
Want one? Make sure to put in your order at least two weeks in before you need it. Meyer takes about five hours to build each Beetle. Head to his website to 0rder.
—Image courtesy of Brent Meyer
Follow editorial assistant Lindsey R. McKissick on Twitter at @LindseyRMcK.