So all of this began when my son was 2 years old, almost 3, He was riding his bicycle with his training wheels at the time, and he loved seeing the motorcycles out on the road, and he kept asking me when he could get a motorcycle. I told him you can’t ride a motorcycle if you can’t ride a bike without training wheels. So that is when he told me he wanted me to take off his training wheels. Not knowing any kids his age that were riding without training wheels I went to the internet and looked up what age kids usually learn to ride without training wheels. According to my Google search, most kids don’t start riding without training wheels around 5-6 years of age, so I was thinking he was probably to young to really be riding without training wheels yet, but I figured it only takes a minute to take them off and put them back on so I would let him try to ride without the training wheels since he was being so insistent. I took off the training wheels and wouldn’t you know it, he had no problem at all riding without the training wheels. Ever since that day he has been a great lover of cycling.
When my son was 6 years old he got his first big kid bike, it was a 7 speed specialized hotrock 24″ mountain bike. He started riding it everywhere, and it was not long before he wanted bike shoes and clipless pedals like he saw me using, so he saved up his money and bought a pair of clipless pedals, and we found a pair of bike shoes at a good price at the local bike shop because they had very little market for a pair of shoes that small and they had been sitting in there storage room for several years. So at that point he is riding a mountain bike with clipless pedals at 7 years old. He road that way for about a year, including going on several 25 mile bike rides with me on early Saturday mornings.
Come this spring (he is now 8 years old) he and I realized that we were really being held back by his being on a mountain bike since most of our riding was on the roads and paved bike paths. He would pedal that bike as fast as his legs could manage and the gearing was just so low that he could not get any more speed out of the bike. putting slicks on the bike would have helped his rolling resistance, but it would not have gained him any more top speed. We looked into changing the gearing on his bike, but it would have cost us more then it was worth just to buy the parts. This is when we decided it was time to look for a kids road bike.
This task of finding a kids road bike was harder then it might sound. Very few companies make a kids road bike and those that do charge close to $800 for a new kids road bike. This bike was a purchase that my son was making with his own money, and he would never be able to afford $800 for a new bike, nor would it make any sense to do so knowing he would outgrow it in only a few years. It was time to look on the used market.
The used market is very small for kids road bikes, which an interesting very positive, but also negative consequence. That is the bikes hold there value really well. This will be a great thing looking forward because when he outgrows the bike he will be able to get most if not all his money back out of the bike. The one downside however is that it would cost him more to buy the bike upfront.
He had a been saving his birthday and Christmas money for the last several years and had a budget of just under $250 dollars to buy the bike. We started the search on both craigslist and Ebay. We quickly ruled Ebay out even though we found several bikes over the months we were looking, the cost of shipping quickly put the bikes out of his price range. Most times the shipping cost alone would be close to $100. So we knew we needed to find a bike within driving distance of our home in North Central Pennsylvania. We set our search for a 3 hour radius around our house and checked all the Craigslist adds within that area every week for about 2 months. Finally in June we found a bike near Lancaster PA. We drove down to Lancaster and he bought himself his first road bike.
So I have told you all this to invite you to follow along as we prepare for our first bike trek on the pine creek rail trail. in a couple of weeks we will be taking a three day trip cycling round trip on the Pine creek rail trail. we will start at the Jersey Shore end of the trail, biking up to the Wellsboro end of the trail and then back to Jersey Shore for a total of 124 +/- miles. I have a feeling this will just be the first of many bike trekking adventures for my son and I as he is already talking about wanting to bike across the state of Pennsylvania next summer and across the entire United States after that.
Be sure to check back often as I will try to keep you updated on our trip preparations and then the trip itself.