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Crikey! Schoolgirl invents a harness for bicycle learners

June 30th, 2014

A YOUNG entrepreneur is hoping her unique cycling invention will revolutionise the way children learn to ride bikes – and also make her a millionaire.

Ambitious Sky, 11, has successfully recorded a patent for her award-winning Crikey Bikey harness, and has big plans to become a top businesswoman with the help of her number-crunching sister Kia, 13. Sky’s simple yet effective harness has a handle which sits at the back of the child’s neck, so parents can teach them to ride a bike safely, without constantly bending down to hold them in place.

Sky, a student at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls’ prep school, Inglefield House, conducted extensive market research to support her idea, interviewing bike shop owners, parents and children. She said:

“I would love it to be in the shops and my dream is to see someone I don’t know using it – it would be amazing.“I was so excited to see the patent document because it means Crikey Bikey is no longer a secret and I’m a step further on my journey.

“I think it will get more people riding bikes because the younger you learn, the easier it is, and the harness makes it safer for younger children to learn.

“I read an article which said one in 10 children can’t ride a bike.

“I hope it will affect many people’s lives.”

She added: “I remember when I was little, my mum put me on a bike and pushed me down a hill and I fell off.A bumpy start to Sky’s own bike-riding career inspired her to design the harness.

“I was crying because I didn’t like doing it, so I thought I’d better do something about it.

“The back is one of the most important parts of your body because it controls everything and you should look after it.

“I had that in mind when I designed the harness.

“It makes learning to ride a bike fun and safe for the child and comfortable and healthy for the parent.

“The child can feel the pressure of the harness if s/he wobbles, so feels secure and confident and the adult can run comfortably beside the bike with a straight back.

“The newly learnt balance techniques quickly become second nature and the child is soon confident enough to take off their harness and ride alone.”

The Year 6 pupil recently won first prize in a school competition judged by engineering company Renishaw plc, which has given HMSG sponsorship worth £1,000 to reward pupils who excel in science, technology, engineering and maths.Sky, who lives in Ross-on-Wye with her sister and parents, Ali and Floyd, hopes her creation can eventually be adapted to help people learn to do other sports including skiing and horse riding.

And on Tuesday (June 24), she won the CREST Prize for Best in Show at science and engineering contest Big Bang Near Me at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry, and was nominated for the national finals in March.

If successful, Sky will win £1,000 and the chance to present her idea to a board of celebrities.

She said: “I want to be a businesswoman and I’ve always wanted to invent things – I’ve got a whole box full of ideas at home, including chocolate Jenga.

“The Crikey Bikey name is open so I can invent other things to help with riding a bike.

“I hope to be a millionaire.

“My sister is really good with numbers and we’ve been talking about who we should share the profits with – we will definitely give some to my Uncle Rob because he has helped us to make it and it looks really good.”

Kia, also a pupil at HMSG, has been appointed financial director of the budding business.

Anne Kavanagh, head of the physics department at HMSG, said: “Sky has come up with an ingenious invention, which like most very successful ideas is very simple and is especially good as ‘one size fits all’.

“Sky is a star; it is wonderful that such a young pupil has noticed a real life problem and come up with a solution that could change hers and others’ lives.”

Sky and her sister hope to see the Crikey Bikey harness in the shops soon.

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