Now that the kids are all school-aged, slow-moving baby bikes have gone by the wayside. Just because they have ichthyosis doesn’t mean they don’t have typical kid desires. It has been a challenge to strike the balance between keeping them safe and letting them do things with their peers. One point of conflict has been bikes. Rachel grew up without a bike once she outgrew her tricycle, and grandma has told me several times that I am risking falls if I let them ride a bike, so don’t even consider it.
I wrote yesterday about some of the toys we used when they were younger, but kids grow and we’ve had to upgrade over the years. Read on for the great solution we found this summer.
Eventually, Momo inherited Kitty’s outgrown Big Wheel and he happily pedals it (or really, holds his feet up and lets it roll) down the driveway. Kitty wanted a bike for her birthday, and as our “unaffected” child, that’s what she got. It was actually her second bike, as we inherited a small one with training wheels from a neighbor, which satisfied her until she outgrew that, too. She was a bit miffed that she had to learn to deal with no training wheels on the newest bike, but she got over it and takes her bike all over the place now.
Monkey, however, had a bad case of “Monkey see, Monkey do.” He wanted a bike, too. Having been through Cookie’s terror at the idea of balancing on two wheels, and knowing how spectacularly bad falls onto concrete can be for our boys, we were really hesitant about fulfilling Monkey’s wish for a bike, but at the same time, we don’t want our kids to grow up with the message “You can’t do that.” We ended up with a fire-engine red kid’s bike with training wheels. He rode it for a while, but as soon as we moved the training wheels up to only catch him if he tilted too far, he got too nervous to continue. I think he realized what would happen if he fell. And the bigger bikes don’t have rear axles big enough to attach training wheels.
Monkey will turn 8 this winter, and having completely destroyed his Big Wheel and outgrown the red bike, it was time to shop again. We wanted the comfort and low ride of the Big Wheel and the feel of the big-kid bike. So we started looking at recumbent bikes. Most of these are adult-sized, and the prices I found were nuts — $600 on the cheap end to $6000 for a fancy racing model. Not quite what I was looking for!
After an afternoon of hunting and review reading, we narrowed our list down to three potential bikes: a Huffy Green Machine, a Mobo Triton Ulitmate Cruiser, and a Razor Rip Rider. The only one on display in the local toy behemoth was the Green Machine. Online reviews were middling, and when we tried it in the store, those reviews were spot-on. The rear wheels are too far back compared to where you sit, so it’s hard to control. It’s also all plastic, so I could see it dying an untimely death the way the Big Wheel did.
The Rip Rider reviews were pretty positive, but the complaints seemed relevant to us — other people’s 9-year-olds were too big to ride it and the seat wasn’t adjustable. I figured we’d get a year out of it and we’d be looking again.
Then we found the Mobo. Whoa. All metal, adjustable seat, good for a kid from age 5 to my height! The seat is comfy, and it comes with a big flag to help with visibility. The only real downside is that it was 3x the cost of the other two options. But I figure if I don’t have to replace it in a year or two, it is money well spent. We ordered it. 6 days to delivery.
When you’re seven, 6 days may as well be a lifetime. Every single day, Monkey came home from school and asked, “Did my bike come?”
No, honey, not until next week. No, honey, 3 more days. No, honey, it should be here this weekend.
Finally, the big day arrived. I was upstairs and saw the UPS driver pull up in front of our house. “Monkey, come here! Look outside!”
Monkey came from the back of the house, sounding a little exasperated. He was busy playing Wii. “What, mom?” Then, it dawned on him. “My bike?”
Suddenly, he was jumping up and down with a full fist-pump. “MY BIKE!! MY BIKE!! IT’S HERE!!”
He ran outside in his socks and tore down the walkway to the driver, who was carrying this giant, 40 pound box on his shoulder, boom-box style. Monkey, still yelling “MY BIKE!!” tackled this poor guy with a giant hug around his leg!!
Do you think he was excited?
I put it together with him and he took off on it like a rocket. The picture below is his maiden voyage.
Even now, two weeks later, he has the biggest grin on his face every time he gets on. Every kid in the neighborhood wants a turn on Monkey’s awesome bike. Several parents have asked me about it. I bought him a bright yellow glow in the dark shirt so he can ride at dusk. I bought bike lights and reflective tape to make it easier to see around the cars, since we have no sidewalks. I am thrilled to have found a bike where other traffic is a bigger deal than ichthyosis. And even better, it’s something he won’t outgrow.