12:20pm Saturday 28th June 2014
A MONMOUTH schoolgirl is hoping her new invention will revolutionise the way children learn to ride bikes and also make her a millionaire.
Ambitious Sky Ballantyne, 11, has successfully recorded a patent for her Crikey Bikey harness and has plans to become a top businesswoman.
Sky’s 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, said: “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.
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. 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 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.”
Sky, who lives in Ross-on-Wye, hopes her creation can eventually be adapted to help people learn to do other sports including skiing and horse riding.
The Year 6 pupil recently won first prize in a school competition while on Tuesday she won the prize for Best in Show at science and engineering contest Big Bang Near Me in Coventry, and was nominated for the national finals.
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.”
Anne Kavanagh, head of the physics department at HMSG, said: “Sky has come up with an ingenious invention, which like most successful ideas is very simple.”
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