Saturday, July 12, 2014

How Much Attention Do You Give to a Child's Bike?

New saddle for a reluctant commuter.
Since I often ride with my children, I listen when they complain about their bike woes. Sometimes it's a simple fix: oil the chain, tighten the front quick release, loosen and realign the handlebars. I'll do most anything—barring buying them a brand new expensive bicycle—to upgrade their enjoyment and safety.

Our oldest son whined about his sore butt so, at his request, I got him a wider, more cushiony seat.

This bike now sports the traditional short bar ends.
Our youngest son is a daredevil: jumping curbs, descending a rooty, narrow dirt path—I can't watch him perform some of his stunts. I am thankful that we've, so far, escaped a trip to the emergency room. I'm forever inspecting his bike, making sure quick release hubs are secure and stem is tight. When I spotted that his bar ends were dangerous, lacking end caps, and one bar was misshapen, I offered to remove them altogether. However, he liked the alternative hand position. The crooked bar didn't bother him or me, frankly, but the sharp ends were, unfortunately, oval-shaped—not easily plugged with standard rubber caps or corks. So, I replaced those longhorn cattle spikes with more traditional bar ends.

Now, if I can only get this same active kid to stop stretching his chain (smallest front chainring to smallest freewheel cog) he'll figure out that his chain will quit rattling and skipping. Ah, the challenge of raising a 12-year-old!


  1. Aaaah.... The many pleasures of bringing up children... lol

  2. Annie based on what you just described sounds like you do about 100% more bike maintenance on your kids bikes than a typical kid bike gets. When my daughter graduated to a new (to her) 24" wheel bike last year I went through it to make sure it was in good working order and also swapped out the unnecessary older nobby tires with some road tread white wall tires I thought would add a bit of "bling" to the bike. She was unsure about the tire change when I proposed it and I offered to swap it back if she didn't like it, since its been a year I think she likes the new tires. I think you are right on with the ideas of keeping it safe, comfortable and fun.

    1. Like you, I can't see ignoring simple maintenance if it makes a kid ride more. It's a worthwhile investment.


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