Summertime is here and kids are riding bikes. Bikes give kids a sense of freedom, particularly during the long days of summer. A bike can mean the difference between staying indoors at home or meeting friends at the swimming pool. Bikes allow a kid to strike out on his or her own, go exploring, meet new friends, get an adrenaline rush, or just travel far enough away from home to lie down in the grass, look up at the sky and chill out under the warm summer sun.
Lots of kids don’t tell their parents if something is wrong with their bike unless it’s something that becomes too difficult for even a kid to ignore. What’s more, many parents don’t think about their kids’ bikes because they are diligent about having the bike serviced regularly at a local bike shop. It’s not enough just to take the bike in and turn it back over to your kid and think everything is fine.
I recently had a parent bring in a kid’s bike after the kid complained that it wasn’t stopping. Not being able to stop is a serious problem that should never be ignored! A quick look at the brakes revealed that the bike shop had completely missed the mark, by setting up the bike with the wrong brake pads. After a few weeks of stopping, the pads wore around the rim, creating a situation in which even the fiercest amount of force applied to the brake levers could not generate enough stopping power on the rims.
Luckily no one was hurt, and luckily the kid’s mom took her bike to Little Jimmy’s Wheelhouse, where attention to detail and quality bicycle repair and maintenance are standard operating procedure. We fixed the brakes and now the bike works fine.
The moral of the story is twofold: If you bring your kid’s bike in for maintenance, pay attention to how your kid is riding it for the first few rides. Listen for unusual noises, steering problems, shifting irregularities or braking issues.
A simple test is to teach your kids the ABC’s of biking:
Before every ride be sure to check
• Air (Are the tires properly inflated and are the tires in good shape?)
• Braking (Do the brakes stop the bike, and does the lever when pulled remain about an inch away from the handlebar when fully compressed?)
• Chain and drive train (is the chain lubricated, not worn, and is the bike shifting properly?)
If your bike isn’t working properly, bring it in to Little Jimmy—before the brake pads morph into the horror show above, or before things start to go wrong. You’ll save headaches, heartbreak, and a lot of time that could be spent enjoying all that summer has to offer!
Now back to Little Jimmy’s Wheelhouse