Thursday, July 5, 2018

Beginning of the bike chapter

For the past 3 years, Grey and I have talked about bikes for the Beats. Given how important biking is to Grey (and I enjoy it myself), this activity seemed like given when we started talking about expanding our family. The unforeseen hurdles we faced, though, stopped us dead in our tracks for proceeding with getting these two their own set of wheels. First being the financial expense, with recommended bikes running close to $400 each, combined with an issue of storage not to mention an area to practice. Despite our desire, we were struggling just to get Grey back on his bike making this goal for the Beats seem impossible.

Last month, that started to change. First with moving to the Bay Area, where bike culture borders on cult-like, we easily found quality bike shops that weren’t limited to the upper-middle class. With a lot of pushing and nagging reassurance and promise to make time, Grey finally got his bike out of the moving box it's been in for the past 3 years, got it tuned up and found a trail system he enjoys.

But the ultimate push came with seeing both Beats standing on their tip-toes, watching the neighborhood kids through their bedroom windows as they would zip along the green space on their bikes. The scene was like a thousand knives to my heart, with me hitting a tipping point this past weekend.

On Tuesday, following a morning of curriculum evaluation, I ventured across town to an organization called HopeBIKES, an organization that not only refurbishes used bikes but also offers employment and training to those with developmental disabilities. Upon walking in the door, I spotted exactly what I was looking for and within 30 minutes I was heading home with the below and some helmets, total damage being ~$140, complete with a plan for how we would be spending our Fourth of July holiday.

None of this has been perfect. Grey has been insanely busy with work, getting ready for 3 weeks of extensive travel for a new product his company is launching, meaning not only has he not been able to be involved with this process, but he also had zero clue what I was doing Tuesday. In addition, the original plan of removing the pedals, turning these into balance bikes, was thwarted when I learned that the seats couldn't be lowered enough for the Beats to get their feet flat on the ground. This meant installing training wheels for their first day of riding (the ultimate failure for anyone who subscribes to bike culture). And space is still an issue, with it becoming apparent that the 4 moving boxes, including the one containing my bike, in the living room I've been ignoring can't be ignored any longer.

Despite the pain and fighting from training wheel installation, yesterday was spent with two almost 5 year olds pedaling around the park, insisting on more and more laps even though it was getting late. And at the end of the day, when they saw the older kids biking around the green space, they talked excitedly about joining in instead of looking on with longing.

To be determined if any of this is considered a win. But suddenly one dream of getting these two on bike trails doesn't seem so far away.


  1. Oh! So much fun! My husband is an avid biker as well and started both of ours with a balance bike...only to still end up with training wheels on their next bike. Honestly, though we were trying to avoid it, it was wonderful for giving them time to get their bearings and confidence without the pressure of having a bike that was too small. Now my older daughter zips around without training wheels and the younger is close. Both still ahead of many their ages, so I’d say don’t stress - it’s more about practice and loving to bike. Enjoy the trails with your family and don’t worry about “bike culture.” The Beats are going to LOVE being big kids.

    1. This is what I needed to hear! There are so many websites trashing training wheels and yet, though I want them to leave balance, I also don't want to sacrifice them enjoying their bikes (which they did yesterday). Thank you for sharing your story as it illustrates that it's never black and white.

    2. So glad they enjoyed the bikes! This is a parenting win - well done. You have a lot of family fun to come. Excited for you!

  2. That's wonderful that there's an organization to get bikes into the hands of families. I agree, don't worry about the bike culture and do what works with the Beats, the whole thing with training wheels (from what I remember) is that they are temporary. The balance bike thing is pretty new, right? I look forward to hearing about all your biking adventures -- now I want to go get air in the tires of my own and get out there now that it's finally cooler outside!

  3. This is so awesome. I'm thinking it will be considered a win for quite awhile.

    You go, Mama! Proud of you for making this happen.

  4. Izzy LOVES tooling around on her bike so I can imagine that the Beats are having a fantastic time with their new bikes!

  5. I've never even heard of balance bikes... and training wheels were VERY common when I was growing up. (Helmets were NOT, lol.)(Showing my age & lack of recent bicycling experience here...!) I do remember wanting a bike when I was just a little bit older than the Beats, and saving my money in my piggy bank. The bike I wanted was $48, which was a fortune at the time, but when I'd saved $24 my dad gave me the other $24. I dont' think I ever did use training wheels, but I remember my dad running along behind me & holding onto it... it didn't take me long to get the hang of it. I'm sure the Beats will be off & away before you know it...!!


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