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Renishaw-sponsored competition helps 11-year-old harness her inventive side

11-year-old Sky Ballantyne was inspired by a Renishaw-sponsored competition to invent a product which could teach children how to ride a bike.

29 July 2014

Sky Ballantyne with her invention, the Crikey Bikey

Grazed knees, tears and sore backs are a given when it comes to teaching children how to ride a bike - but they could all be a thing of the past.

A Renishaw-sponsored competition has inspired one Monmouth, UK, schoolgirl to invent a product which has gained national media coverage, and could shape the way children learn the one thing you never forget.

Sky Ballantyne, the entrepreneurial 11-year-old in question, invented the Crikey Bikey – a harness with a handle attached – which not only gives the child the support of their parent, but also allows the parent to run alongside with a straight back, avoiding the pain associated with teaching children how to ride a bike.

Armed with a patent and her first employee (13-year-old sister Kia has been drafted in to provide financial advice), Sky hopes to put the Crikey Bikey into production and make learning to ride a bike easier for all involved.

After being featured in the Daily Telegraph and on Channel 5 News, Sky, who lives with her parents and sister in Ross-on-Wye, told Angel News she hopes “It will affect many people's lives.”

She went on to say, “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 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 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.”

Renishaw gives £1000 to each of its special relationship schools in the South Wales and Gloucestershire / Bristol region to promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects and allows the schools to decide how the money is spent.

Haberdashers' Monmouth School for Girls decided to hold a competition for its pupils to invent a new product, and invited two Renishaw employees to judge the best product.

Sky Ballantyne's Crikey Bikey harness in action

Julie Collins, Renishaw's Education Liaison Manager, was one of the judges. She said “Like all good ideas it is a simple solution to a problem, but nobody had ever thought of it before. The Crikey Bikey stood out from the other competitors because it was practical, well thought through, and professionally presented."

She went on to say, “Innovation and creativity are the reason Renishaw has succeeded as a business, and we want to do as much as possible to promote these values to entrepreneurial children like Sky. We were delighted to sponsor the competition, and are thrilled to hear it might have had some part to play in starting an enterprising young girl's career.”

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All text copyright Renishaw

All images copyright Crikey Bikey