Posted by Madi Carlson (Family Biking Columnist) on August 7th, 2018 at 2:45 pm
As a kid I rode a succession of wrong-sized bikes and loved them all. Heck, as a teenager and adult I’ve also had a lot of bikes that weren’t perfectly sized for me, including the bike I rode with my first-born (which was two sizes too big). However, my knees and my back appreciate that my current bike is the perfect size for me.
As a parent I’ve learned the hard way to keep pace with growing kids.
It started last winter, without my really noticing, when my younger son stopped sitting on his saddle because his bike was getting too small.
That morphed into doing a lot of riding on his rear rack for fun, since it was so easy to reach on the too-small bike, plus it provided him a spot to sit more comfortably (or so he said) than the saddle.
Then he started sitting on the top tube, though I don’t know how that was better than using his saddle. It was probably a cry for help in the form of a new bike that I tuned out.
I finally got the message and purchased a new bigger bike for his older brother so I could hand down the current one. My kids are both on Islabikes, which we bought new at their Portland warehouse. I love them for their light weight, compact frames that boast big wheels for covering more distance, and strong brakes. But they’re not the only great option out there. If you didn’t see my March column on where to buy used kids’ bikes in Portland, check it out.
➤ Is it easy to move kids up to bigger bikes?
For us it is now, but our previous upgrade was a disaster until I realized all I had to do was affix name stickers. I order them online from Do It Yourself Lettering, but I bet there are local sources (and I’d appreciate your sharing them in the comments).
➤ So did the upgrade fix the silly riding?
Well no, since I let it go on for so long. It’s not as easy for him to get his caboose on the rear rack now, but he still manages.
Plus I think his newfound love of riding hands-free is related to all the clowning around he’s been doing, but I can’t complain because at least he’s seated when he’s gesticulating!
Has this happened to you? Or do you have a different cautionary tale you’d like to warn us about? I’d love to hear it!
Thanks for reading. Remember, we’re always looking for people to profile. Get in touch if it sounds like fun to you. I’d especially like to profile families of color so please get in touch or ask friends of color who bike with their kids if they’re interested in being profiled. And as always, feel free ask questions in the comments below or email me your story ideas and insights at madidotcom [at] gmail [dot] com.
Browse past Family Biking posts here.
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