We could measure the growth of our children in so many ways. From the notches on a door frame, to the discarded pants with holes in them, to the shoes we thought that would fit one day that they just grew right past.
They do grow up so fast. This week, I’ve found another way to chart the growth of my son and measure time: bikes.
Zacharie will turn 9 in a few weeks, and just celebrated by taking a spin around the block on his 5th bike.
I still remember his first bike. A bright red, blue, and yellow tricycle, the kind with a handle that we could push and steer if he didn’t feel like pedalling. That first bike was a challenge for both of us. I remember trying to build it on our front step, so excited to be giving my son OMG first bike!!
I felt like such a dad.
His feet couldn’t reach the pedals of that first bike. I couldn’t get the pieces fit together as tight as they should. Still, it served us for a a year or two.
Bike number two was a hand-me-down from my buddy JP. It had training wheels on it.
Those training wheels would come off in the summer of 2011 and be the first bike Zacharie would ride. (Thanks Pedalheads!)
The next year there was the silver bike. His first ‘demon.’ He learned how to ride that thing well, and even took it in races.
At the end of summer 2013, I bought Zacharie ‘the blue bike.’ The plan was to hide it until Christmas, but I couldn’t wait.
We took it mountain biking, on adventures around town, and by the end of last season, I knew he had outgrown it. We’ve had an early spring in Calgary this year, and the old bike has been out on some rides. It was too small.
So that brings us to today, when the orange bike – a 24″, eighteen speed, soft tail mountain bike – landed in our garage.
It looks massive on him. And yet in 2 years, or so, he’ll be past it. And turn 6, in bike years.
Then there’s Charlie, my younger son. I feel so bad for him. He’s 3 bikes old, all of them hand-me-downs. He’s never had the OMG NEW BIKE feeling in his life. His bikes are the ones passed down from his brother.
“When will I get a new bike?”, he asked me as he saw Zacharie showing off his new ride. I grabbed his shoulders, got down to his level and looked him in the eye.
“When you learn how to ride really well on two wheels, Charlie,” I explained. “We’ll see if the bikes we have fit you or don’t fit you. When you learn how to ride, we’ll see what need to get.”
I want him to have that new bike moment. But I also kind of like amortizing each bike I buy over 2 children. Soon, however, I won’t have a choice. They’ll be both at the same bike size, and Charlie will need his own.