Friday, September 28, 2012

A New Bike for My Little Guy

Number two son's new ride.
When I was in Europe I'd heard that our youngest son got a "new" bike from a neighbor's sale. I could picture his excitement, too. He's our scrappy, gung ho, no holds barred, fling himself into a new sport kind of kid. Always willing to get exercise and sometimes begs us to accompany him, he reminds me of myself, craving that physical release.

Half a world away, I wished I was there for his first adult-sized ride. Or maybe not. He's the type that would put the bike through a battery of tests, jumping curbs, cruising backyards, whizzing down the street that is more hill than quiet road, which flattens into a runway in front of our house.

The history of this particular bike is colorful. New from another neighbor (we pass things, or sell cheaply, items between families) it had been in an accident. The guy was riding with his children to school when a dog caused him to go over the handlebars, thus breaking his arm. With bad memories associated with the bike, he couldn't get beyond that and gave it to a nearby family.

We know this guy pretty well. Since that time he's gone back to bike riding (at least on family outings) and is a regular runner, entering races. He also doesn't skimp on anything he buys, so after close inspection, my husband decided that accident or not, this bike was just fine. So, as providence would have it, my son now owns a decent bike.

I rather like these platform pedals with grippy rubber surface.
I wonder  if  I could locate a pair for my girly bike, ones that
would accommodate toeclips.
Jet lag still weighing me down, my first foray to my son's school was by bicycle. Toeclips were still attached, which caused him a bit of trouble, so my afternoon project was to spiff up his bike. Unable to detach the plastic clip (no space to squeeze a tiny wrench around the nuts) I swapped the pedals with spares (never throw out any usable parts!). I was pleased with myself. It's been years since I've removed pedals, yet I remembered to loosen the left pedal clockwise. With the aid of my grandfather's rubber mallet to initially free the nut, it left a wistful smile on my face. Grandpa would be proud.

I went on to transfer his bell and replace his license plate with an older green version modeled after the Vermont State car plate.

And so it was that last weekend my son was game for a ride to the apple orchard. Buffeting headwinds, he made it most of the way, determined to keep up, but no quite getting the knack of drafting. To be fair he also was riding on knobby tires. After a particularly chilling half-mile descent, he started slowing down. "How far do you think I went," he asked, before deciding whether to hitch a ride with my husband, who was driving the same route and had caught up with us. When I told him it was probably 10 miles, he seemed satisfied and got in the car.

The next greatest toy

I love our neighborhood. Unbeknownst to me, neighbor #3 (in a long list of awesome people in our 'hood) had been observing my son grow wide-eyed at a visiting friend's new long-board (those elongated skateboards currently popular). The next thing I know, this neighbor knocked on our door and loaned an older style long-board to my son. The board had been gathering dust in his basement. My son scampered outside with his friend. The two proceeded to cruise the street. Faster. And Faster. Well, by now, you understand the scene. Gotta love my youngest's enthusiasm...


  1. First adult bike and a long board! Happy days! Your lad's new bike looks VERY grown up. It might be one of those rites of passage that suddenly shows mum and dad how quickly time flies, eh? Happy cycling and I hope you're over your jetlag soon.

  2. That’s a mean-looking bike, and with a great story too! I bet your son is having tons of fun with it now. Replacing the toeclips with pedals that have a rubber grip is a great decision as well. I think you can replace the knobby tires with street tires if your son is determined to get the hang of drafting. I hope you enjoy cycling there, and may you find the pedal you want for your own bike!


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