Since the spring, our kids have really embraced riding under their own power. Anne has blogged about this a number of times. It’s been a great time for them. Meanwhile, as the resident gearhead, I’ve been growing increasingly frustrated by the absolute crap that passes as acceptable kid transportation in the US.
Maybe if I didn’t know better, I’d be OK with the mountain bike wannabes, but I’m ruined. I’m used to riding and working on decent bikes. I’ve been to the Netherlands and seen entire families on high quality, fully-fendered transportation devices of all shapes and sizes; I know it’s possible.
And I’m not the only one who feels this way: the folks over at BikePortland are actively discussing this topic (57 comments at last count!) right now.
I had been searching for a suitable ride since April or so. At one point I thought I scored when I stumbled across a German-made, 24″ wheel, step-through frame bike with rack, fenders AND a generator on Craigslist. It was a $120 and worth every penny. But someone had called about it right before me and the seller was being ethical (!), completely unwilling to cave to my offer to come “right now” bearing an extra $20. (Buyer, if you are out there, your kid better be riding!)
Crushed, I watched CL every five minutes for about three months.
So I decided to build my own from a stock kids “mountain” bike, adding fenders, good tires, upright bars and more. It would have been great to purchase the bike this way, but my version turned out pretty well, if you ask me (or my daughter).
Some of you may want to do the same thing, so I’ll detail the process over the course of a few blog posts in the next couple days. If you find this is too much information, then by all means swing over to Flickr and let the pictures do the explaining.
Stay tuned for a discussion about suitable frames / platforms.