The Little Bike

The Little Bike that the village children
learn to ride on

Recently we were given a special little bike by one of the families in the village. This little bike has been passed round several children who have all learned to ride on it. There are at least four that I know of, but I think the bike has been in the village for quite a while, so it could be many more kids that have gone through the whole rite of passage on this bike. Now it is the turn of our youngest boy. However, the bike itself was looking a little worse for wear. So the first thing I did was cut off the manky foam grips (or at leasst what remained of them) and replace them. Then I sorted out a new brake block and adjusted the brakes so a child could easily work them, brake handle reach was pulled in and the biting time shortened by tightening the cable. The chain wass a mess, I’m not sure when it last saw oil, so a good soak in WD40 was followed by an oily rag wipedown and re-oiling with lube on every link. The chain guard is missing its cover and the remaining part is split so I will either have to fashion a replacement or strip the whole thing off. The bike is now ridable again.

I love the idea that so many children have learned to ride on this little bike, nowadays it seems that everything has to be bought new and disposed of once it’s finished with. Passing a bike round is a tremendous community activity, no one actually owns that bike any longer. It reminds me of an article in the American magazine Bicycling that I read last year, though the bike featured in that article was a little more stylish. We will do our best to look after the bike and pass it on once our youngest has finished with it, it would be lovely if the bike keeps helping children for years to come. I think with a little TLC it should do.

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