As you know I’ve been contributing the occasional buying guide to Business Insider, and here’s a new one about kids’ bikes:
I’m including the standard “profit deal” disclaimer herewith, because if you buy these bikes using these links Business Insider gets money:
But I stand by the list and maintain these bikes in this order will allow seamless progression of a child from wobbly toddler to full-on bike dork.
Speaking of kids and bikes, you will notice there are no BMX bikes listed here. The reason for that is I figured it was better to stick with more versatile bikes for a round-up like this, but I will tell you I just purchased a BMX bike for my older son. (Don’t tell him! It’s for his birthday later this month and I’m hiding it in the basement.) I ordered it from Ben’s Cycle, and I had to physically restrain myself from putting a second one in the shopping cart for myself. I’m pretty far out of the loop on BMX bikes, but I did spend a little bit of time trying to getting myself up to speed on what they look like these days, and that was sufficient to make me really want one so I could relive the glory days:
The bike pictured above is a Haro FST, which I recall stood for “Freestyle Street Track.” In retrospect it was the perfect bike, since during my tenure with it I came to terms with the fact I wasn’t very good at freestyle and that I wanted to race instead. Judging by the reflectors this picture was probably taken the same day I got the bike at Brands Cycle, though I can see I’ve already added a pair of dice valve caps and a ridiculously thick pair of donuts on the grips. I probably added axle pegs and other freestyle accoutrements before pivoting to racing, stripping off the extras, and fitting it with components such as this:
I’m totally buying that for my Rivendell.
Alas, it’s becoming clearer to me as I get older that people never really grow up. In fact just yesterday I needed to go to the store, and so I used it as an excuse to engage in some vehicular skateboarding:
I’m probably the only person you’ll ever see who uses hand signals on a skateboard.
Anyway, there’s reliving your own glory days, and then there’s reliving someone else’s, which is what I’m doing when I ride the American Bicycle Manufacturing M-16 from Classic Cycle:
All this talk lately about which bike I should ride next put me in the mood for something vintage, and so this morning I donned the appropriate wardrobe for a ride to the forbidding Trails Behind The Mall:
My jorts flapping in the breeze:
In case you’re wondering, the answer is yes, I do wear these jorts every day, and I plan to continue doing so at least through October.
Anyway, my mixed-terrain rides usually begin in the park, and I was pleased to see the cygnets are growing up nicely:
I know nothing about the lifecycle of the swan, but if I had to guess I’d say they’re in watever the swan equivalent of the 16-inch wheelsize bracket is.
A very light rain was falling, which meant that there weren’t very many people out, and so I didn’t have much opportunity to use my new Spurcycle bell:
Not that I needed it. If I needed to send an auditory warning all I had to do was actuate my cantilever brakes, which in these conditions sound like an old man with chapped lips trying to whistle.
By the time I got to the trails the rain had stopped, the sun was taking over, and it felt very much like summer:
It took a little while, but I officially like this bicycle very much, and scampering around in the dirt on a rigid bicycle with 26-inch wheels is a form of fun many have lost touch with now that we live in an age of long travel and massive tire volume.
By the way, Classic Cycle are selling this bike for $1,200. So if you’ve got some stimmy burning a hole in your chamois (where else would you put it?) and want a vintage all-rounder that’s way cooler than a gravel bike, just buy it, then change the bars for something like this:
And the tires for something like, I dunno, this:
I have no experience with this tire whatsoever but a less aggressive tread would make this bike much more fun on smoother surfaces, and since the current crop of “gravel” tires only seem to come in 27.5″ or 700c these seem like a good choice for 26-inch wheels. Also, the tan sidewall would look good on this bike.
So there you go.
Finally, on the way home, I pased the ugliest motorcycle I’ve ever seen:
I’d have gone in for a closer look, but I was afraid the owner might spot me:
Actually, it’s more likely the motorcycle would have transformed into the owner.