Building a Fixie Bike with my four year old son
It’s a cold and drizzly Tuesday morning, as I head out on the bike (tagalong attached) to collect my youngest son T from preschool. I pop my helmeted head around the door, and am greeted with a beaming smile from him, that gives my cold body instant warmth.
Time to head back outside, so I follow the usual drill of taking one four year old boy and adding gloves, balaclava and helmet. Soon we’re ready to go, heading down the hill home to a pre-planned hot chocolate (complete with marshmallows and squirty cream as I’d remembered to buy some!)
After lunch and some quality playtime – involving the removal of EVERY cushion from EVERY chair, adding a blanket or two to create a stage area, and then performing a show where the two stars were a lion and a crocodile – we headed out to collect my oldest son and his friend from school.
I don’t know whether there’s a full moon or something in the air today, but whatever it was, there just wasn’t the same friendly, harmonious play between the three boys that usually exists. As a result, T was on the outside peering in, and feeling a tad glum as a result.
At that moment, a bolt of inspiration hit me. Secreted around the house there are numerous bicycle parts – frames, wheels, seats. You name it and I’ll probably have several examples stored somewhere or other (don’t tell the wife!). So I decided to put together the fixie bike I’d been meaning to get around to doing last year, with T acting as my helper and accomplice.
“What’s a fixie bike Daddy?”
Of course, the first thing he wanted to know was “What is a fixie bike?”, as he’d never seen one before, so I had to explain that a fixie bike is the simplest form of bike. It has a single, fixed gear and mine has no brakes (you use your pedals to adjust the speed you travel at), which immediately got him curious!
Fixed gear bikes now come in all shapes and sizes, and if you want to show some to your kids, there’s a good range of examples on the Evans Cycles website, showing a range of styles from traditional road and track bikes through to women’s fixed gear city bikes. There’s also a good explanation on Wikipedia if you want more info.
So today, 4 year old T has assisted in fitting wheels, pumping up tyres, threading bolts into the stem to secure the handlebars (‘are you sure I’m allowed to do this?’ he asked excitedly) and generally aiding and abetting me in getting another complete and fully functioning bike into the house – good man!
Oh, how bigger boys change their tune when they realise they’ve been usurped in the cool stakes by a younger sibling getting to wield real spanners!
The look on his older brothers face was priceless as he cast his beady eyes over the rather elegant racing bike that stood before him. However the knowing look and smile spread across T’s four year old face secured first prize, no contest.
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