Now that my daughter is rolling along on her training wheels, I have been thinking of the next step in her cycling career. Instead of simply pulling off her training wheels and letting her fend off the balance wolves, I finally decided to move forward with a balance bike. The only problem for me, with my frugal ways, is that balance bikes are extremely overpriced. Instead of buying a $100 bike that will get limited use, I came up with this simple solution:
I wrote about this bike a year or so ago, basically it started it’s life as an X Games motocross style bicycle. After pulling off all of the plastic garbage, it looked more like a normal bicycle. My next step for this beast was to remove the crankset, and voila! Instant balance bike!
At first, my daughter was a little hesitant riding this bike, but after one trip around the block she had already started coasting. Now, after about a week, she is trying more and more to keep her feet off of the ground, and she is looking for every single section of the sidewalk that points downhill. I feel that this is going to make her transition to riding a bicycle without training wheels that much easier, and making her enjoy cycling that much more!
If you are thinking of a balance bike for your kiddos, keep this option in mind. Sure you could spend $100 on a Strider, which would be a great brand to buy, or you could scope out your local Craigslist for a cheaper alternative. Kids bikes are all over Craigslist, and they are a dime a dozen. For this bike, I have $0 in it, and about 15 minutes of time. Not too bad in my book.
Just keep spinning, or in this case, coasting…
If you have ever read this blog, you know that I like a good deal. There are quite a few companies and products that really strike my fancy, but some of the best deals that I have seen comes from Airborne Bicycles. I have written about their bikes before, like here and here, and once again they are dropping the deals.
From their website today, they unleashed what I am calling “the deal of the year” when it comes to buying a new bike, all in the name of Interbike. Four of their models are now at amazingly low prices, with included shipping. With that said, lets take a look:
Sabre 26″ hardtail, $249.99
Airborne’s entry level hardtail. 21 speed drivetrain, Tektro mechanical disc brakes. This price makes me want to buy one of these for my wife.
Skyhawk 26″ hardtail, $349.99
The Skyhawk is a step up from the Sabre, offering better components and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. The geometry is also more in line with their higher end, very successful Goblin 29er.
Wingman dirt jumper, $549.99
The Wingman has earned rave reviews from various mountain bike publications, making it one of the best bang for your buck dirt jumpers.
Delta cyclocross, $749.99
The price on this bike shocked me. I have been bike lusting for this one for some time, now it is almost impossible to pass up this offer. SRAM drivetrain, Avid mechanical disc brake cyclocross machine? Yes please. Now it’s time to convince the wife…
If any of these bikes make you as happy as I am, you need to head over to their site here soon, as this offer ends at the end of Interbike, which is the 23rd of this month.
Amazing, simply amazing.
Just keep spinning…
Photos from Airborne’s site.
The Surly Troll is an amazing bicycle. Quite possibly my most favorite bike ever. Yes, I just said ever. One recurring problem that I have had with it however, is that when my wheel is positioned a bit farther back in the horizontal dropout, the wheel decides to slip on the chain side. This causes the tire to shift awkwardly and pushes the tire into the chain stay, stopping your forward momentum. While running smaller rubber in the back, this is not an issue, as the wheel can ride all the way forward. But, with winter coming, and I have wanted to roll out on some larger tires, this was just not acceptable. So that said, enter the Tuggnut…
The Surly Tuggnut is a handy dandy $30 piece of stainless steel that fixes this slippage problem and also cracks open those pesky pry off bottle caps on your favorite beverage. It was so easy and straight forward, that I was surprised that it came with instructions. It’s not rocket science, took just a couple minutes to install.
Here are the two things that I do not like about it:
My first complaint is that it has a shiny sliver, chrome like appearance. I would prefer it in black, but to each his own. This one shiny part on my bike will be covered in mud anyway. Second, the bottle opener does not have much clearance with my derailleur, so to use it I will have to turn my bike over like I am changing a tube. Maybe if I would just man up and make this bike a single speed, then I wouldn’t have to worry about that…
Overall, this is a very handy piece of metal, and I am pretty glad that it ended up on my bike. I can now run larger tires without the dreaded wheel rub. And also, I can now drink more beer while on my bicycle. Well done Surly!
For all of those not paying attention, this coming model year is going to be stellar for bicycles. Need further proof of that? Check this Cross Check:
Yes, that is a Surly Cross Check. True, not a new model. Here is the kicker; this bike is now offered as a single speed complete, set up with mountain bars! This is the Cross Check that I have always wanted to build. Well done Surly!
Be sure to check out their blog this week, they are planning on dropping new products every day.
Pic from Surly’s site, also check out what looks to be a Krampus with an even fatter front…
Just in case you don’t read the Surly blog….
Well done Surly! Bar raised again…
While out and about yesterday in Ocean Beach, I spotted this beauty chained to a post outside of a local establishment. I love to see bikes like this getting some action. Well done San Diego high wheeler!
Now if only Surly would build one of these!
Just keep spinning…
Ended the week here in Lower/Northern Michigan the best way possible: With a mountain bike ride at the VASA single track, located just outside of Traverse City, Michigan.
The VASA system is a pretty awesome 15 or so mile loop, through the very interesting Michigan landscape. By interesting, I mean very sandy at times, and unfortunately sandy in the various tight and twisty corners. It took a couple times eating sand to adjust my riding style over the entire trail, but by the end I had earned my sand wings. The trail is tight and twisty, with very fast sections where you can crank out the big ring and really get some speed. Not the most technical of trails, but very enjoyable regardless.
This was a great way to end a very amazing week. Lots of time on the quiet Little Traverse Lake either swimming or kayaking, some urban exploration, lots of euchre, and lots and lots of Michigan beer. For some reason unknown to me, Michigan has some great brews going on. Breweries on our agenda were North Peak, Bell’s, Founders, and Arbor Brewing.
What a fantastic week of relaxation, now unfortunately back to the grind of reality.