A schoolgirl from Wales has recorded a patent for the gadget she hopes will launch a business career - a harness to help adults teach children to ride a bike.
Sky Ballantyne, aged 11, created the Crikey Bikey with a handle at the back of the neck, allowing adults to hold the child steady as they learn to ride, while saving their own backs from bending over.
The harness was inspired when Sky was learning to ride herself.
Her own bumpy start to riding a bike inspired her. ‘When I was little, my mum put me on a bike, pushed me down a hill and I fell off,’ she told the Metro.
After that, she wore a backpack with a handle on, which proved useful.
Sky told the South Wales Argus: “I was so excited to see the patent document because it means Crikey Bikey is no longer a secret. 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.
“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 she or 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.”
Earlier this week Sky won Best in Show and a place at the national finals at the Coventry science and engineering contest Big Bang Near Me.
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.
“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.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.