If one of your goals is to mold your child into a hardcore bicycle commuter like yourself, it's hard to find a bike that helps the process along. Conventional kids bikes are entirely different machines than the bikes adults and teens ride to work and school. Kids bikes are typically overbuilt, heavy, and outfitted with a coaster brake (where backpedaling leads to stopping). Kids bikes are rarely geared. If they are geared, they usually have just five gears in the back. If you thought teaching your kid to ride a bike was the hard part, you may find that teaching them to ride a "big kids bike" is another hurdle just a few years down the road.
The bike industry has made some progress in recent years. Balance bikes are teaching young'ns how to balance far quicker than training wheels. Companies like Cleary and Priority are making lighter, geared, aesthetically pleasing big kid bikes. We're excited about these bikes but acknowledge that the cost can be hard to swallow, especially considering how quickly kids grow of out them.
We were psyched when Nic, an an all-star bike advocate in Burlington (you may remember when we wrote about his journey to Xtracycle ownership), came by in search for a good quality used kids bike for Sage, his 6 year old son. We have a huge selection of used kids bikes, and when Nic talked to Dan about what he was hoping to give Sage, Dan thought immediately of a specific bike in our attic that he had saved for three years while he waited for the right person for it. Sage was it.
This 80s era Ross Mt. Hood is dangerously cool with its chrome finish and bullmoose bars, and it defied all the terrible kids bike conventions: a double chainring on the front and five speeds on the rear gave Sage 10 gears to choose from; canti brakes allowed Sage to practice braking with his hands instead of backpedaling. Dan took inspiration from Nic's New Zealand heritage and fixed up the Ross with red and blue accents including red Adventure by Bike Salsa grips, a rad blue BMX saddle, and blue housing. He affixed 20" fenders to keep Sage dry on wetter rides to school and, of course, a Steel is Surreal sticker.
We love this bike.
If you're interested in a custom used bike of your own, come talk to us. This is what we love to do. Take old bikes, breath new life into them, customize them for people's specific needs. It's always a pleasure fulfilling people's desires for thrift, practicality, and funk when it comes to their bicycle.
Happy trails, Sage!
by Christine. Photos by Nic Anderson.