Stay Safe From Commute to Cubicle

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Be safe from commute to cubicle! Ready-to-wear reflective pieces paired with our tips on manoeuvering city bike lanes will have you flying from point A to point B in no time, all while being seen.

Have the Right Equipment

One of the simplest ways to stay safe on the road is to have the right bike accessories. This one speaks for itself – wear a helmet! As we discussed in this post, many helmets are now equipped with MIPS, which protect your head from multi directional impact. We hope you won’t need it, but you’ll be happy you had a helmet should something happen!

If you are riding within an hour of sunrise or sunset (which you likely are when it comes to a work commute), the law requires you to have a light on your bike. Your bike must also be equipped with a bell. These things seem like common sense, but they really do make all the difference when it comes to staying safe on your bike.

Pair all of these safety additions with a lightweight, comfortable bike from brands such as Cannondale, Giant and Liv, and you’ll be cruising with the best of the city cyclists.

Ride Smart

There are a few ways to ensure that you are safe while riding your bike to work:

Ride in the middle of the lane when appropriate, or at least a little to the left of the curb. If you are riding too close to the curb, cars at intersections ahead may have trouble seeing you. This also can keep cars from passing too close on a narrow road, or keep you from colliding with an open car door.

SIGNAL! Be sure to use proper road signals when making a turn. Just as you would in a car, you don’t want your movements to take other drivers by surprise. A mirror can also be helpful when it comes to shoulder checking.

Go old school and leave your headphones in your bag. Of course this is a personal choice, but it is best to minimize distractions and be fully aware of your surroundings while cycling in the city.

Avoid busy streets wherever possible. Sometimes the fastest route isn’t always the best – rush hour traffic can be dangerous for cyclists! If at all possible, try to map out a route that keeps you on side streets to encounter fewer & slower cars. This way you can cross busy intersections as opposed to riding on them.

Reflect, Reflect, Reflect

Add extra flair to your ride with reflective cyclewear. While many of our athletic cyclewear is reflective for road safety, Sporting Life carries a few key pieces that will keep you safe and take you straight from commute to cubicle.

Arc’teryx isn’t just for climbing wear and technical outerwear. The new A2B collection is designed for everyday living and urban commutes. As the first Gore-Tex garment in its category, the Women’s A2B Hardshell Blazer features a zipperless front design, integrated stowable reflective surfaces at the cuffs and under the collar. Made from soft, and sheds rain and wind, making it perfect for the urban cyclist. Learn more in this product knowledge video:

Levi’s Commuter is another favourite when it comes to urban cyclewear. The Men’s 511™ Commuter Jean features water resistant and dirt repellent NanoSphere® technology with Sanitized® odor protection, reflective tape on interior cuffs, U-lock storage, and utility pockets. Pretty much everything you could want from a pair of jeans!

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Arc'teryx Women's A2B Hardshell Blazer
Arc’teryx Women’s A2B Hardshell Blazer
Arc'teryx Women's A2B Skort
Arc’teryx Women’s A2B Skort
Levi's Men's 511™ Commuter Jean
Levi’s Men’s 511™ Commuter Jean

 

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Adjust Your Altitude: Hiking 101

While our Calgary community is lucky enough to have scenic mountain trails and some of the best hiking in Canada, Ontario has some beautiful hiking spots that are perfect for the beginner hiker. You don’t have to be an experienced outdoorsman to get out and enjoy nature! We’re sharing some of the best places in the Toronto area to go for a hike, some tips for the first-time hiker, as well as the gear you will need to make the most of your adventure.

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5 Beautiful Beginner Hikes in the GTA

Scarborough Bluffs Park
Before leaving the city entirely, why not stop by the beautiful Scarborough Bluffs Park right here in Toronto? The Bluffs offer stunning views of Lake Ontario and the beautiful bluffs. The trails are not difficult and are easily accessible, and sandy beaches await you once you’re done your hike.

Webster’s Falls Conservation Area
Who knew that some of Ontario’s most stunning waterfalls were located just outside of Hamilton? Take a walk down beautiful trails towards Webster’s Falls and Tew’s Falls – totally Instagram-worthy! After chasing waterfalls, hop on up to Dundas Peak for a beautiful panoramic view of Hamilton.

Rattlesnake Point Conservation Area
While you probably won’t see any rattlesnakes, this conservation area in Milton allows you to seek some extra adventure. If you’ve been practicing your hiking and are feeling a bit more advanced, explore some of the hidden caves or partake in some rock climbing! While this hike is most beautiful in the fall, it isn’t the worst thing to look out upon miles and miles of green trees!

Elora Gorge
Elora is a bit off the beaten path for Torontonians, but it is totally worth it to make the trip this summer. This trail is perfect for all age groups – ideal for a family weekend or a beginner hike. While you’re there, stop by the Elora Quarry and take a dip in the blue-green water, or partake in some kayaking!

Bruce Trail
Did you know that the Bruce Trail is Canada’s oldest and longest foot path? This trail stretches for over 800km from the Niagara River all the way to Tobermory! You can enter at various points throughout Ontario, and walk for as long or short of a distance as you like. The closest entrance point to Toronto is just outside of Milton near Kelso Conservation Area, and the views are out of this world!

Hiking 101: Tips & Tricks

– Proper hiking gear is a must, especially for spring hikes. The weather is unpredictable, and you need to be prepared for whatever comes your way! Be sure to have these items in your wardrobe to make the most of your adventure:

  • Waterproof/windproof outer layer.
  • Base layers – moisture wicking fabrics to keep you warm (or cool!) and dry. This goes for socks too; bring extra, and go for a smart wool to keep your toes dry.
  • Hiking shoes – these don’t need to break the bank, but they are absolutely crucial for both seasoned and first-time hikers. Good shoes are the key to a fun and safe hike; keep your toes and ankles protected, especially on uneven terrain.
  • A lightweight, sturdy pack…especially when you need to shed some of those added layers!

– Convertible pieces can be your best friend…who doesn’t love pants that turn into shorts and back again? Adjust your outfit to suit the conditions at hand without leaving anything behind.

– As with any physical activity…HYDRATE! Be sure to bring enough water, no matter the length of your hike. Whether you prefer a colourful S’well that keeps your water cold for up to 24 hours or a hydration pack to keep your hands free, make sure you’re stocked up on H20.

– Similar to hydration, your body needs fuel to get through your trip. Give yourself an energy boost on the go with gels, chews or waffles available at our retail locations. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue!

– We mentioned the importance of a solid hiking shoe; be sure not to embark on your hike with brand new, stiff boots! Our friend Leigh from HikeBikeTravel.com wrote a post about breaking in your hiking boots on her blog – check it out!

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Road Bikes and the RTCC

For 10 years, The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer has raised money for incredible causes devoted to ending cancer. This decade has seen breakthroughs in cancer research and saved countless lives – the 2017 ride serves as a celebration for all of those successes! Join thousands of other Canadians – and the Sporting Life community, if you’re riding in Ontario or Alberta – and ride towards the common goal of conquering cancer in our lifetime. Register for the Ride to Conquer Cancer here.

Sporting Life is proud to sponsor both the Ontario and Alberta RTCC. We are also proud to have all of the essentials you need for this two day, 200+ km ride; it is crucial to have the right bike and the right gear to keep you riding strong all weekend!

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When selecting your ride, pick the road bike with the right features for you. We delve further into the hottest bikes for 2017 here – there is so much to consider when choosing the perfect bike! The Giant Contend SL1‘s disc-brake integration means confident braking in variable road and weather conditions, making it an ideal choice for a Canadian road race. The Specialized Roubaix Elite allows you to ride longer and ride fresher – its disc brakes offer greater consistency and control, perfect for a weekend of hard riding. The Cannondale Synapse Disc 105 offers comfort, performance, and versatility, making it the ideal ride for a long race. The Cannondale CAAD12 105 is the ultimate performance bike – it is not just the finest alloy racing bike ever made, it is the only choice for those who know bikes!

Proper cyclewear will be your best friend during the RTCC. As you ride strong towards that well-deserved finish line, your apparel needs to be there to support you. Moisture wicking, highly breathable fabrics will keep sweat away from your skin as you charge towards your goal, and a high quality bib short will maximize comfort on a long day’s ride.

 

When it comes to bike accessories, there are a few things that you can’t forget when heading into race weekend!

Helmet: As always, a helmet is a must – especially when you are riding amongst thousands of other riders! Keep your head protected with the right helmet (MIPS is recommended!)

Cycle Shoes: The right shoes are also important for the RTCC. You need something supportive and resilient while also being flexible and lightweight. Your energy should be put into your pedals, not into foot pain or discomfort!

Bike Light: For a weekend ride, you will also want to look into a light for your bike. With early morning start times and unpredictable weather conditions, a lightweight and water resistant light will ensure you are visible at all points of your ride.

 

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Get Out and Run: Competitive Runner

Reach for new limits and feel the magic of the trails & pavement this spring. It’s time to get your runner’s high and blast through any challenge that comes your way. It is important to invest in comfort that will keep you running longer and faster. Up the ante with technical gear from Sporting Life and enjoy your best running season yet!

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A running maven knows the importance of a good shoe. Run longer than ever before with these heavy-duty styles that offer lightweight support to have you feeling like you’re running on a cloud.

Complete your running gear wardrobe with advanced technical pieces that will keep sweat and other elements out. Breathable fabric will keep you comfortable through every mile and will keep you cool as you glide through the wind during a late night or early morning run.

Don’t forget to fuel and hydrate!

It is important to fuel your body before and after you run. It is recommended to eat about 1.5 hours before your run to give your body time to digest and provide your body with needed energy. It is recommended to eat roughly 30-45 minutes after your workout. Fuel tired muscles with our GU energy drink mixes, gel and chews created for daily graining. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. Try Honey Stinger energy chews and waffles for an energy boost on the go. You can easily store all of your snacks as you run with a handy Spibelt that clips at your waist for hands-free convenience.

Hydration is just as important as being well-fueled. Drink up to 20oz of water prior to your run and continue to drink water as you run to avoid dehydration. We have a large variety of water bottles to suit everyone’s needs and taste. Shop our picks that will keep you hydrated all run long!

Feeling inspired to hit the roads and trails this season? Take your running to the next level and run to support kids affected by cancer at this year’s Sporting Life 10k! Sign up for our races in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. Not sure how to prepare for the race? We’re sharing 10 steps to running the Sporting Life 10k – read here!

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Get Out and Run: First Time Runner

New season, new goals! Running is an excellent way to stay active and get outdoors. Now that the sun is shining, it’s time to hit the pavement with the best intentions. Sporting Life has the essential gear to turn your running goals into reality. Grab a friend or join a group to keep you motivated to get out and run!

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Start at your feet with a good pair of running shoes that fit well. Comfort is key to your success, so be sure to select the best shoe for your foot type. These styles provide great support and cushioning that will get you on your way in no time!

Invest in technical gear that wicks away sweat and keeps you cool as you run. A basic run jacket, tights, and shorts are great options for the first time runner. These styles will last a long time and keep you comfortable as you work up a sweat. New gear will get you motivated to start your running journey.

Don’t forget to fuel and hydrate!

It is important to fuel your body before and after you run. It is recommended to eat about 1.5 hours before your run to give your body time to digest and provide your body with needed energy. It is recommended to eat roughly 30-45 minutes after your workout. Fuel tired muscles with our GU energy drink mixes, gel and chews created for daily graining. They contain carbohydrates to keep you fueled, electrolytes that aid in hydration and amino acids that reduce mental fatigue and decrease muscle damage. Try Honey Stinger energy chews and waffles for an energy boost on the go. You can easily store all of your snacks as you run with a handy Spibelt that clips at your waist for hands-free convenience.

Hydration is just as important as being well-fueled. Drink up to 20oz of water prior to your run and continue to drink water as you run to avoid dehydration. We have a large variety of water bottles to suit everyone’s needs and taste. Shop our picks that will keep you hydrated all run long!

Feeling inspired to hit the roads and trails this season? Take your running to the next level and run to support kids affected by cancer at this year’s Sporting Life 10k! Sign up for our races in Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary. Not sure how to prepare for the race? We’re sharing 10 steps to running the Sporting Life 10k – read here!

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Bike Ride Basics

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April showers bring May flowers, and what better way to appreciate this beautiful spring weather than by exploring on your bike? Now that spring cycling has sprung, hit Canada’s amazing trails with the best bike equipment available at Sporting Life.

Last week, we broke down some of the new & exciting bikes coming to Sporting Life this season. If conquering the mountains or speeding down the road isn’t your style, a fitness bike may be the best choice for you. Fitness bikes – also known as hybrid bikes – are general purpose bikes that combine the qualities of a road bike, a touring bike and a mountain bike. The result is a stable, comfortable bike that is suitable for a wide variety of riding conditions – perfect for a novice or casual cyclist!

For those looking for a light workout or a casual weekend ride with the family, keep reading – we’re sharing some of the best places in Canada to take your bikes for a spin, as well as the necessities you need to bring to ensure a safe and fun ride.

Where to Ride

Where will you ride this weekend? After you pick up your bike at one of our stores, stop by one of these awesome trails right in the city. Stay tuned for the start of our weekly evening rides based out of select Sporting Life stores – a great opportunity to improve your cycling and get involved in the Sporting Life community!

TORONTO
– Waterfront Trail – Perfect for short or long rides!
– Toronto Island – Flat & manicured, ideal for family fun in the sun or a romantic getaway!
– Don Valley – Stop in at Evergreen Brickworks for a mid-ride coffee.

OTTAWA
– Rideau Canal – Right downtown and easy for families.
– Gatineau Park – Plenty of paved trails with beautiful scenery!

CALGARY
– Nose Hill Park – A quiet getaway within the city.
– Bow River Pathway – 48km network of paths; plan your starting point and see where it takes you!
– Fish Creek Provincial Park – Near our Southcentre Mall location…grab your new bike and go!

What to Wear

Make sure that you are properly clothed for a day on your bike. Spring weather may make us want to jump into shorts and a t-shirt, but the temperature can still be unpredictable. Layer up with technical pieces and dress for the sport – cycle jerseys aren’t only for expert cyclists! Jerseys come in a variety of colours and patterns to spice up your outfit, while still featuring moisture wicking fabric and proper ventilation. Padded cycle shorts are a lifesaver on long, bumpy rides, and gloves add comfort while minimizing fatigue.

A helmet is an absolute must, no matter what your skill level may be. Even paved or groomed trails can have unexpected bumps or obstacles, so it is important to keep your head protected.

Don’t forget to accessorize for the weather! A waterproof shell may save you from a damp and miserable ride home, and sunglasses will eliminate glare and keep you safely focused on the road. Any style will help you on a casual weekend ride – pull out your daily fashion sunglasses, or go sporty with a pair of Oakley Prizm sunnies!

What to Bring

Whether you’re riding for an hour or all day long, there are a few things you should have in your pack to keep you riding strong. The most important thing to remember? Hydration! Staying hydrated is important during any sort of physical activity, and you will likely be far away from a water source while you’re out on the trails. Choose an insulated water bottle to keep your water chilled all day long!

Cycling is an awesome workout and your body needs fuel to keep up the pace. Be sure to toss some snacks – such as energy chews or Clif bars – in your bag to refuel partway through your ride. Find some of these delicious and energy-packed treats at our retail locations.

Depending on the type of ride you’re gearing up for, there are a variety of bike accessories to suit your needs. If you’ll be stopping along the way to refuel, be sure to pack a bike lock to keep your bike safe. A safety light or reflector will also come in handy for early morning or evening rides!

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10 Steps to Running the Sporting Life 10k

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Now that the weather is getting warmer and the days are longer, the time has come to start running! You may decide that you want to run a 10k, but are not entirely sure how to start. Don’t worry – we are here to help! We’ve put together 10 ways to make your Sporting Life 10k a run to remember.

1. Register!
You’ve signed up! You’re committed! This will give you motivation to get out there and run.

2. Set the pace, make a plan!
Depending on your fitness level and training goals, aim to run between 3 to 5 days a week. Plan your runs to fit into your weekly schedule – think of your run the same way you would a meeting…put it in your calendar! If your days get too busy and run (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) away from you, think about running first thing in the morning. Not only will it ensure you don’t miss your workout, it is a great way to start the day!

Work with either a time or a distance goal depending on what you want to achieve. Don’t be afraid to take walking breaks. Start to run in 10 minute blocks and add 2-5 minutues to your duration each time you run. By run day, you should be able to run for 1 hour – 1:10 comfortably.

3. Find a friend!
Get your friends to sign up for the race with you. Knowing someone else who is training for the same run will keep you both focused and motivated.  Training with a buddy or joining a 10k training group helps hold you accountable for weekly workouts and training plans- knowing someone is waiting for you will ensure you don’t skip a run!

4. Grab your gear!  
If you haven’t already, invest in a good pair of running shoes.  They should be comfortable immediately; if your shoes aren’t comfortable, you won’t get very far.

5. Mix it up!
Try different workouts in addition to your runs. Incorporate some stretching, core exercises and if possible, add some basic cross training (cycling, swimming, yoga) to help you build strength and flexibility into your program.

6. Don’t overdo it!
Rest and recovery are key components of fitness. You can’t train efficiently if you are tired. Build at least one or two rest days into your weekly plan. Rest enables your muscles to recover and rebuild after a hard week. A training plan, is just that…a plan. The running gods will not descend upon you if you stray once in a while!

7. Tune up with a tempo!
Having a weekly tempo run (a faster-paced workout) is a great way to boost your fitness! A tempo run begins and ends with a 10 minute warm-up/cool-down. Sound complicated? Think of it as speed play. Run a faster pace for one minute, one minute jog at a slower/recovery pace. As you progress, think about increasing the faster running part and/or keeping the recovery relative to the speed component.

8. Fuel with food!
Breakfast should be a must, especially for morning runs and on run day.  Don’t forget a little protein to stay full longer and plan to eat 60-90 minutes before you start to exercise.  Some great combos can include: nut butter, whole grain bread, or consider some oatmeal with banana or other fruit.

9. Run day ready!
Make sure that you read the website to know all of the key details about the run. Arrive early on run day to give yourself time to get organized and ready. If you’re late and flustered, you will be stressed before the run even begins.

10. Stay positive and have fun!  
Whether you are a fierce competitor or a first time participant, running is an amazing activity for all levels of participation.  Solo or socializing, the important thing is to have fun. Remember – you are part of an amazing event and you are helping to raise money for children affected by childhood cancer!

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How to Dress for an Active Rainy Day

Don’t let rain and fog stop you from exploring this spring! Conquer an active rainy day on the hills, trails and parks with our best variety of rain jackets, footwear and accessories. Our breathable and waterproof styles are made with durable and dependable fabrics like Gore-tex® and Dyneema®. Learn how to dress for a day outdoors with essentials that will keep you feeling dry and warm on your adventure!

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Photo by Chris Burkard

The key to dressing for an active rainy day lies in a few essential items: a dependable waterproof jacket with a hood, a fleece hoody to keep you warm, waterproof footwear and a great backpack to hold everything you need on the go. Shop our picks for everyone in your family!

Men’s

Women’s

Kids’

 

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New & Exciting 2017 Bikes

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This past weekend’s warm weather had us – along with cyclists everywhere – itching to get back out on our bikes. Whether your ride is on the roads, the trails, the mountains, or everywhere in between, spring cycling is just around the corner!

We are proud to carry some of the best bikes around, and we checked in with the expert staff at our Bikes & Boards store to learn about the coolest bikes for spring 2017. Keep reading to learn about some of the latest & greatest bike technology this season. Browse bikes online, and stop by one of our retail stores to purchase your very own bike! We offer a variety of services (learn more) from basic tune-ups to Body Geometry Fit. We want you to feel secure on your bike as you hit the road for the season.

Adult Bikes

In terms of adult bikes, our vendors have kicked it up a notch for both mountain and road bikes. From airless tires to redesigned brake systems and lighter weight frames, our selection of bikes has something for every level of rider. Take a look at some of the highlights available now in our stores.

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Cannondale Trail 3 29″ Mountain Bike

  • SmartForm alloy frame
  • 29er speedy
  • 2×10 drive train – less shifting
  • Remote lockout fork
  • SAVE rear triangle for a smooth ride
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Giant XTC Advanced 2 29″ Mountain Bike

  • Fully race ready
  • Advanced carbon frame
  • Boost hub spacing is wider, which improves wheel stiffness for better handling
  • Fox suspension 
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Cannondale Scalpel-Si Carbon 4 29″ Mountain Bike

  • Made from BallisTec Carbon Technology, this bike is the lightest, stiffest XC available
  • Outfront Geometry – nimble handling at slower speeds, ultra stable descending
  • Lefty fork – the best XC fork…period
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Specialized Turbo Levo FSR

  • Ride longer, ride stronger
  • Custom-tuned motor smoothly and quietly puts out up to 530 watts of additional power to the pedals to make climbing nearly effortless, and the output is fully adjustable to conserve energy
  • Battery has a lengthy lifespan for hitting long, out of the way trails and, along with the motor, is strategically placed for optimal weight distribution
  • Legendary Specialized handling and performance
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Giant Contend SL 1 Road Bike

  • Conduct disc brake technology converts from mechanical to hydraulic at the handlebars, which offers the stopping power of full hydraulic brakes without the price.
  • D-Fuse composite seatpost dampens vibration for better ride quality
  • Precise handling & pedaling efficiency
  • 11 speed Shimano 105 

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Specialized Roubaix Elite Road Bike

  • The legendary Roubaix just became more so
  • Brand new Future shock suspension suspends the rider
  • Ride longer, ride fresher
  • Disc brakes for consistency and greater control
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Specialized Alibi Sport Fitness Bike

  • No air needed. What? All tires need air! Not with the new Alibi Sport from Specialized. This solid rubber tire is airless and will never need to be refilled; perfect for the rider who just wants to get back on the road with minimal service after a long winter
  • Rust/corrosion resistant chain
  • Engineered with Fitness Geometry
Junior Bikes

Junior bikes are stepping up their game this year. With fat-tire bikes from Specialized and super cool graphics from Louis Garneau, kids will be riding in style all summer long.

One of the best perks of purchasing a junior bike from Sporting Life? Our Junior Half Back Program! Much like our ski & snowboard deal, we want your kids to have a bike that grows along with them. Simply buy a new kids bike and let your child enjoy it for one year. At the end of the season, bring your child’s bike back to Sporting Life and get an in-store credit for half the purchase price!

At Sporting Life, we offer your kids the same great bike brands that we have for adults: Giant, Liv, Specialized, Louis Garneau, and Cannondale. These bikes are not only top quality, but are professionally assembled to keep your kids safe.

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Specialized Riprock 24″ Mountain Bike

  • Fat tire bike for kids!
  • 24×2.8″ tires deliver tons of traction, comfort, stability, and fun over all types of terrain
  • Premium A1 aluminum frame – lightweight and built to withstand the tough use by kids
  • Ultra-low standover makes it easy for little ones to fit and grow with the bike

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Louis Garneau F-16 16″ Bike  (available in boys’ & girls’)

  • Awesome new graphics for kids!
  • Larger pedal platform provides confidence while pedaling
  • Minimum seat height was also lowered to provide secure footing on the ground
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