Apparently, these days, when having a second child, it is considered appropriate that the first child receive a gift from the new baby. While I am suspicious that this might be another win for consumer marketing, I am willing to accept there might be some psychology behind it as well. In fact, it comes at a decent time anyway, since I have been thinking that it might be time to get my daughter her first bike. She is over two years old!
Now it has been a long time since I’ve been interested in wheels for toddlers. When I was young, it was all tricycles and training wheels. These days, it is balance bikes. For those (like me) who have never heard of balance bikes, they are basically little bikes without chains or pedals, something between a bike and a scooter. The though being that the kid learns to balance on it and can skip the training wheels when she moves up to the real things. We shall see.
Since I wasn’t in a great rush, and saw no reason to buy a brand new one, I began searching gumtree. Well, a couple of days later a listing came up for a Puky (the Porsche of balance bikes) for £25. I jumped in there and called dibs. The bike was located in Abingdon, the town about six miles south of my house.
Now, one of the reasons I like biking is that it means I don’t have to drive. It saves money, doesn’t cause pollution, and it’s just darn fun. So, I figure a bike for a two-year old must be a pretty small thing, surely I could carry that on my own bike.
Well, it turns out I could. I stuffed the bottom wheel in my bag, and strapped the rest of it up with a device I call ‘the spider’ (I don’t know what it’s actual name is, but it’s basically eight hooks attached to elastic). It was a tad awkward, and I had to pedal with my left foot more forward than usual to avoid hitting the bag, but I made it the six miles without too much trouble (helped by a nice tailwind).
So, I got a high quality bike for half or less of retail price, and even managed to save a few £ on driving. True, I turned a 20 minute car trip into a 90 minute bike trip – but more importantly I turned a boring, routine task into a little mini-adventure.