Old Bikes For New Riders

Old Bikes For New Riders

Despite having gotten my seventeen (17) children onto a rigorous chainsmoking program, they continue to grow. Not only does this mean they require larger clothes and increasing amounts of costly foodstuffs, but it also means they need new bikes–or at least the oldest one does:

Son is outgrowing his bikes, thinking about what comes next. Should be fast yet comfy, good on- and offroad, light yet burly enough to ride off curbs, able to take a rack, mechanically simple (no BS suspension, etc)… So apparently the new bicycle he needs is a 30 year-old MTB.

— Bike Snob NYC (@bikesnobnyc) August 9, 2021

Of course, thanks to Classic Cycle, he’s already riding such a bike, which is why I know they’re such a great choice:

But he’s growing so quickly at this point that I can practically hear it, meaning his days of 24-inch wheels are numbered. And when considering an all-around bike for his next phase, it really is hard to think of anything better than an old rigid mountain bike with 26-inch wheels. Certainly people on Twitter chimed in with all sorts of interesting new bike options (which I didn’t really ask them for, but Lob knows bike dorks have to offer an opinion) such as this:

It certainly looks like a fine bicycle, but apart from, you know, costing a lot, putting a kid on 700c wheels is like making him wear wingtips. Oh sure, for cyclocross, road riding, and that sort of thing it makes sense, but for an all-around bike for a not-yet-fully-grown human, nimble 26-inch wheels seem like the way to go. In light of all this–price, versatility, fun factor, cool factor, projecting my own preferences on him–I’m having a hard time thinking of a better choice than an old pre-suspension mountain bike. (And no, kids don’t need disc brakes, they should learn how to stop the old-fashioned way goddamn it!)

Speaking of kids, and bikes, and Classic Cycles, the Frejus is also definitely too small now, though this is the last week of the current Star Track session so he’ll keep using it. Here it is when we took delivery of it way back in April:

Fortunately we’ve already got his next bike lined up:

Just kidding:

Also, after the Fiorelli and I both nearly fell apart last week, I finally got around to figuring out what size gear it has:

So, it’s got nine (9) teeth in the back and twenty-three (23) up front. Being inch-pitch, I wondered if all you had to do to calculate the gear inches was just double the teeth and use any modern gear inch chart or calculator, but that seemed too easy. Fortunately, I was able to find an inch-pitch chart, which revealed the gear is in fact pretty small:

Not that a larger gear would have helped me, mind you. Clearly the experience of spinning myself silly before exploding resonated with me though, since for the last few days I’ve been alternating between a bike with a single tiny gear:

And riding a bike with drop bars:

I’d better pivot back to the sandals fast before I do something really stupid, like entering a road race…

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