So I had a few….let’s say “barriers”…that kept me from just going out and getting bikes for my kids for the holidays. I thought it was worthwhile to give a shout out to Matthew at QuadCycles for helping melt these myths and getting my kiddos gleefully wheeling around town. Yes, even in the snow.
Melted Myth #1 – A bicycle isn’t an appropriate (or fun) holiday gift in New England because….winter. I bought these bikes a few days ago. As the snow started coming down. They have ridden them every.single.day. And they love them. Matthew pointed out a key feature about about the bikes and snow. Most bikes have some sort of knobby tires on them. I wasn’t looking for the next Tour de France bike for them…..although Quad Cycles does have the bike that the next 5 year old winner of the Tour will ride. And it is *awesome*.
Outside of a handful of road bikes to get these racers going at a Malcolm Gladwell champion age, the bikes at Quad Cycles have an assortment of tires that look made for mud and snow, and the currently popular beach-looking ones. (Which Matthew described as “gnarly”.) These are not mommy’s Schwinn 10 speed from 1984.
But back to the many, many rows of kiddo bikes that they had. Wait? Many bikes?
Melted Myth #2 – Quad Cycles is an upscale/serious biker store that squares like me might not want to intrude upon. Not even. Quad Cycles has so many kids’ bikes right there on the floor, put together, ready to roll out. I was surprised. If you are pretty coordinated, you can also wheel them around right there in the store to get an idea for fit before braving the outdoors with them.
I haven’t bought a bike since grad school, and my bike mechanic (who is going to be replaced by Quad Cycles) calls it “retro” to my face and most certainly #okboomer to my back. But Matthew made me feel comfortable looking at bikes that I knew little about. You know, the ones from this millennium. I somehow felt that being able to count the gears, drop a “Shimano” in casual conversation, and knowingly telling my son to not use the left brake first might not keep me from looking like a noob. And Matthew kindly helped me make informed choices in the context of my son, who is seven, not my 20th annual Pan Mass Challenge ride or the Ironman.
Melted Myth # 3 – Kids grow fast and they are fickle. Therefore, I should really consider getting them a string of used bikes. There was this nagging feeling inside me that I shouldn’t go out and splurge on this shiny awesomeness for reasons of being conservative, reasonable, a good example to my children, and trying to cut down on consumerism, especially with a fairly durable good. Matthew brought me to a revelation here, too.
We talked about the bikes for my son and I was trying to do the calculus on how long this glorious bike in front of me would last him before it would be discarded and on to the next. But Matthew pointed out that there are holiday sales right now and that the store has a TRADE IN PROGRAM! A WHAT?! I halted looking at all of the gizmos (Cannondale Lefty Fork, anyone?) in the store and said….tell me more. Soothe my fiscally conservative fears.
As our needs change, we can roll the old bike in for a trade in for the new. When my son grows 6 inches in a month, when all of his friends upgrade their bikes again and leave him in the dust, when his preferred style of riding changes…..we can get the next bike to fit our needs at that point. Well that rocks!
Were these fiscal fears unfounded? Um, no. My fears had been fueled by a sad, lonely bike in the back of the shed that my daughter wouldn’t ride. It caused me pain. Could I avoid this pain in the future? “Hey, would you take my daughter’s bike?” (Admittedly, Matthew would like to see you bring in “good” bikes for trade in.) I took her Specialized in and that went well. He was not nearly as interested in my son’s Spider Man bike that might have come from a box store, but in any case has weighed more than my son during his ownership.
Is the simple concept of a trade in (that might have many of you doing the math and questioning) really solve problems? Yep. It does. I bought a fancy bike for my daughter a few years ago and she doesn’t ride it. But if I had worked with Matthew, we could have evolved her bike to fit her needs and she would have been able to enjoy those years riding a bike that brought her joy. And I could have been comfortable that with periodic trades and some investment of cash, she was enjoying the bike and not going from one misfitting bike to the next with all of us unhappy.
More myths? I think he had already melted my heart by then. Certainly the joy of my children taking to the outdoors and exerting themselves without gadgets is a cherished holiday gift for me.
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