The Sum Of The Parts Is …..

Some time over the summer, I bought my grandson, Julian, a “balance bike”.  For the uninitiated, a balance bike is a small bike made for toddlers who push themselves along with their feet with the expectation that at some point they will coast without touching the ground.   I guess this would obviate the need for training wheels.  I also guess that’s it’s just a matter of time until we see three-year olds crowding the bike lanes that Mayor Bloomberg seems to be so fond of.

My son, Essej, and his family spent July 4th weekend with me and Yduj in the country.  I think this was supposed to be Julian’s break-out sports weekend.  Essej arrived with a tee-ball set, a soccer ball and I had attached a child’s bike seat to one of my bikes.  And of course, there was the balance bike.  Unfortunately, things didn’t work out quite as planned.  Julian used his bat to swat at flies; the soccer ball wasn’t of much interest; his helmet was too uncomfortable for him to ride in the child seat.  And last but not least, he was still too short to use the balance bike.  Other than that, the weekend was a sports hootenanny.

There was something of a redux over Labor Day weekend when Julian and family came to visit again.   I got out the balance bike from where I had stored it only to find that one of its tires was flat.  After an abortive attempt to inflate the tire, I took the bike to my local bike shop.   A new tube was $8.00.  To have the bike store change the tube was an additional $10.00.  This would bring the total to nearly a quarter of what I had paid for the bike.  My Inner Jew just couldn’t bear to go down that road so I told the bike store owner that I would make the repair myself.

I’m sure that at sometime in my life I’ve replaced a bike tube but whatever I knew about it, I no longer knew.  For someone who knows what she’s doing, it probably would be a ten minute job; for someone who doesn’t, it could take the rest of his life.  Or if not the rest of his life, certainly an entire Saturday afternoon.  And for someone with an ever dwindling number of Saturday afternoons remaining, maybe this wasn’t the wisest choice.

After I replaced the damaged tube, I inflated it. Which is when I noticed that the tube was starting to poke out through an inch long gash in the tire. Since the bike had never been used, it was hard to explain how the tire had been wounded.  The only thing I could think of was that Julian had pissed off some two-year old in nursery school who had somehow managed to slash one of  his balance bike tires.  You know how nasty kids can be at that age.

In any event, I was now presented with a real problem;  a new tire would probably cost at least $20, which would put my repair investment closer to half the price of a new bike. It’s not hard to  imagine how that stood with my Inner Jew. An alternative I came up with was to wrap duct tape (trademark here) around the tire to cover the gash.  Now, if I were to put some rusted out cars in my yard, they along with the duct taped bike would complete the trailer park look I’ve been going for.

The fact is that the duct tape is not a workable solution.  So I’m thinking of waiting until Julian is older and just getting him a regular kids bike.  Or maybe, waiting even longer and get him a ten speed road bike.  Or maybe waiting just a bit longer to get him a car.  Wow, this could wind up being expensive!

Maybe getting that tire isn’t such a bad idea after all.


2 Responses to “The Sum Of The Parts Is …..”

  1. Yduj Says:

    A “balancing” bike …..I say you can’t really “balance” anyway without building up enough momentum from good old fashioned pedaling with pedals….or being pushed by grandpa….which it’s too low to the ground for…..
    …..return the darn thing…..and get him a scooter…..!!!!

  2. Ray Says:

    Your stories just keep getting better and better. I keep seeing this progression of characters, George Costanza, Larry David and now Neil Stein. I see big things for you Big Neil!!

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