‘Pelotot' stationary bikes are coming for your kids

Asia's Tech News Daily

children, health and fitness, parenting, peloton

Little Tikes has released a toy stationary bike called the Pelican, modeled after the Peloton. Little Tikes

No one is safe from Peloton-mania now, as toymaker Little Tikes launched its own kid-sized “Pelican” stationary bike for children.

Peloton’s popularity amongst the pandemic-weary apparently prompted Little Tikes to follow suit, having launched its own miniature version last summer, the Pelican Explore & Fit Cycle, which is designed for kids ages 3 to 7.

And much like its adult-sized counterpart, it comes complete with a tablet prop so kids can follow along with Little Tikes’ training videos offered on YouTube while their parents pump it to Peloton’s own instructors. Those without a screen have access to “just as cool built-in audio adventures,” and a Bluetooth attachment that allows kids to play their favorite tunes and “ride along to the beat.”

“It’s like a cycling or spin class for kids,” touts the toy’s description on the Little Tikes website, where its suggested retail price starts at $157.99 — though it’s currently on sale at Target and Walmart for $134.99 amid the holiday shopping season.

children, health and fitness, parenting, peloton

Little Tikes’ suggested price for the Pelican is $157.99, but the toy cycle is currently on sale for $134.99 through other retailers.

Little Tikes

“We didn’t want the parents to be the only ones having all the fun,” Kevin Bloomfield, Little Tikes vice president of product development, told CNN Business last week. “Our commitment to inspiring an active and imaginative lifestyle among kids sparked the idea.”

Bloomfield sees the Pelican as an opportunity for kids to stay active “regardless of the state of the world.” Plus, many kids like to do as their parents do.

“We wanted to give the option for a safe and engaging experience alongside mom and dad’s stationary bike,” he added.

However, child development experts are skeptical about the benefits of exercise equipment for kids. Lenore Skenazy, president of Let Grow, a nonprofit that promotes children’s learning independence, noted that “kids want to be part of the real world,” but solo cycling at home isn’t exactly a ticket to socialization.

children, health and fitness, parenting, peloton

Some child development experts worry that kids might develop a negative association with regular exercise, or skip outdoor and group play in favor of the tech toy.

Little Tikes

Experts would rather see kids getting active on their feet or outdoors, if possible, and with other kids, where they’ll gain social skills and learn creative problem solving on their own. After all, there will be plenty of time to join the “Peloverse” later.

“A stationary bike doesn’t prepare them for anything but moving their legs in a circular motion,” Skenazy said. “You can burn calories on this [stationary bike], but you can’t get to know your neighbors.”

children, health and fitness, parenting, peloton

Kids have the option to use their own tablet device and ride along with cycling instructors on YouTube, listen to built-in audio guides or play their own tunes via Bluetooth.

Little Tikes

Pediatric psychologist Jason Boye, of the Healthy Weight and Wellness Clinic at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware, worries that such imitation — and perhaps seeing a parent’s struggle through their workout routine — might lead to a negative association with exercise “and make it something they’re not interested in doing,” he told CNN.

However, fitness wasn’t the primary objective for Little Tikes’ product developers, according to Bloomfield. “Family bonding is one of the Pelican’s benefits,” he said.

American-based brand Little Tikes isn’t the first company to bring a stationary bike for kids to the market. Almost 15 years before the Pelican, Fisher-Price launched its own $150 version in 2007. The toy giant updated it a decade later before slashing the price down to less than $100, then soon discontinued the product altogether, according to CNN.

children, health and fitness, parenting, peloton

Other toymakers have released their own versions of stationary bikes for kids — without huge success.

Little Tikes

As for adults, sales for Peloton cycling bikes — which cost roughly $2,000 for the machine, not to mention its $39 per month class subscription — spiked during the pandemic as fit-minded adults traded their gym memberships for the at-home exercise device.

But Peloton bikes may not be the finest example to set for kids’ fitness toys as the company continues to grapple with backlash over the dangers of their equipment. Most recently, the New York-based company’s newer treadmill product has been criticized for skimping on safety features that other treadmills have. A Brooklyn family sued the workout device brand after their $4,300 Peloton Tread+ wrought third-degree burns over their 3-year-old son’s body in 2020.

Peloton issued a recall on the treadmill earlier this year, amid at least 70 other reports of child injury, including at least one death, and Peloton has since endured a fall from grace as their shares recently tanked, with nearly $9 billion disappearing from the company’s market worth.

Their reputation took a similar hit back in 2020 after a recall of some 27,000 Peloton parts manufactured between 2013 and 2016, following 120 reports of injury due to faulty clip-in pedals.

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