This weekend we decided it was past time for Brynn to move up in bike. Right now she's on a bike with 12 inch tires and she looks a bit like a clown when she rides it. She could have used a bigger bike last summer, but we just never got around to buying her one. Truthfully, we didn't want to shell out the megabucks that it costs to get a high quality bike that fit her. Why we decide, when the stock market is going down and gas prices are going up, to put up the money for a new bike, I'm not sure. Except that she really looks ridiculous on the old one and we can't jive with the thought of buying a cheap one. We've learned to prefer one high quality (albeit expensive) item over three cheap ones that break.
So, we started our bike shopping escapade with a bike place that sells Trek and Specialized. Brynn found a 16-inch Trek bike, pink with a basket and streamers, that she was in love with. At the same time, Callie found the Trek Trikester, pictured below, and became obsessed with it. There are some kids who want everything they see in every store, or so I hear. They whine and beg and plead for toys, candy, movies, and clothes, right? Callie is not one of them. Callie very rarely asks seriously for something she sees in a store. So, when she would not get off of the blue Trek Trikester and when she began calling it "my new blue bike," we knew we were not going to get off the hook easily. When she decides she wants something, she's determined to have it (a trait that should serve her well later but is a bit difficult to deal with in a three year old). Forget the fact that Brynn's 12-inch training-wheel-equipped bike fits Callie perfectly, and forget that we don't have any flat concrete area on our property appropriate for riding a heavy trike that lacks brakes. We saw the Trikester for the first time on Saturday and told her to wait, that we'd have to think about it and maybe we would come back tomorrow. Colorado Springs is a biker's paradise, and there are bike shops strategically located about every three miles throughout the city. We needed to do some comparison shopping.
As luck would have it, none of the other shops we visited carried the Trekster or any similar trike. As we walked through other shops, Callie kept shouting, "We have to go back to the other bike store to buy my new blue bike!" Notice that, although she had a choice of a pink Trikester or a blue one, she chose (adamantly) the blue one. Mommy's proud.
Today we visited our favorite bike shop, Criterium. The helpful salesperson there enlightened us as to why they don't carry any trikes. He said that it's not good for kids to learn to ride a bike in the reclined position typical of a trike, because that's not the position they'll be riding in when they get on a real bike. They don't learn how to pedal properly and that incorrect motion is hard to fix when the kid gets bigger and starts biking. Hmmm...how do you explain that to a three year old who has her heart set on her new blue bike that's really a trike?
The salesperson also convinced us that Brynn is not the right size for a 16-inch bike, but rather a 20-incher. Yikes! I didn't realize she was that big. And, since she's five and a half she's also apparently ready to learn to ride without training wheels. Brynn is not thrilled with the idea of losing her extra wheels, but Scott and I are looking forward to it. If she can ski blues as fast as she does, she should be able to ride a bike without training wheels. Or, at least, that's what we figure. So, we told our sales guy that we needed to go check around a bit more (we take comparison shopping seriously) and that we would probably be back.
We drove back to the store that carries the Trikester to see if Callie was still as enthusiastic about it as she had been the day before. Seeing that she was no less enthusiastic, we decided that we needed to get her the trike and have faith that she'll be coordinated enough to learn to ride a bike properly when she's five or six. The Trikester is big enough to last that long! We bought the Trikester and some important accessories for Brynn's new bike (gotta have a matching basket, streamers, and bell) and headed back to Criterium to buy Brynn's bike. Hers is the Specialized Hotrock pictured below. They didn't have a purple one built yet (only black and lime green which was clearly not acceptable for the little diva), so we'll have to pick it up tomorrow afternoon. It's a one-speed bike, but it does have a hand brake in addition to the typical kid-bike coaster brake. And, unlike the one in the photo, she'll have lavender and white streamers flying behind her handlebars.
Callie had a lot of time to test out her Trikester today (on hills, grass, gravel, and concrete). She is afraid of going too fast and took a couple of tumbles when she tried to turn too quickly while going downhill. As she grows, we'll be able to move her seat back (it moves horizontally, not vertically) which will push her center of gravity back farther and make the trike a bit more stable. I have a feeling she'll be a madwoman on the thing by the end of summer. It's really a fun little trike - the sturdiest, heaviest, hard-corest one we've ever seen. The rumor is that Trek employees switch out the seat for a banana seat, move it all the way back and have races on the Trikesters. Sounds like fun to me!