Written by Tess Read
At least not until they are substantially taller than you. Not a major achievement in my case but no less annoying for that. And so along with the need to buy endless new shoes, clothes etc, not to mention the dreaded school uniform, is the need for bigger and better bikes. Of course, hand-me-downs are obligatory but sometimes there is nothing to hand down and you just have to bite the bullet. So it was that in lockdown 11-year-old daughter got a new bike. Yes, totally new.
Just about all my bikes that I have ever bought have been second hand, apart from the one I brought back from India. Which was then stolen in Oxford about 3 weeks later in a rather depressing turn of events. And this is me who absolutely loves cycling, rather than 11-year-old daughter who tolerates it. It seemed rather unfair that her bike was substantially more expensive and better engineered than mine. “They keep their value when you come to re-sell on the second-hand market” the bike shop said. They better had, is all I can say.
About the same time, oldest daughter went through an enthusiastic skateboarding phase. So, it seemed only fair that she be bought a skateboard, so she had an alternative to the cheap and rather approximate one a friend had kindly lent her. Sadly, although the phase was enthusiastic, it was of course brief. It lasted long enough for oldest son to notice these purchases and suddenly draw attention to his bike – another second-hand special. A neon green Raleigh bike that turned out to have been genuine 1980s with almost all original parts. Given its elderly nature, it rode surprisingly well. Not very well that is, just surprisingly well.
One thing led to another and soon oldest son was in possession of a shiny new, highly engineered, very fast and smooth bike. Which he used for a bunch of Deliveroo deliveries until university started back and I insisted it stay in our bike shed, rather than let loose on university streets where it would no doubt suffer the fate of my Indian bike.
After he had left for his university oop north, I realised the genius nature of my plan. Some saddle height shifting and suddenly now I have a shiny new fast bike. Shh, don’t tell him!