The Boy Scouts I am helping get their cycling merit badge brought their bikes in for a safety inspection Tuesday night.
The kids bikes fell into 3 distinct groups.....
The first group of guys were slightly older and had well maintained bikes. Unfortunately, this group only had 3 or 4 guys in it.
The second group of young men had poorly maintained "Wal-Mart" BSO's. Don't know what a "BSO" is? It's a Bicycle Shaped Object. These bikes are okay if you only ride occasionally and don't mind constantly adjusting and replacing the cheap parts as they wear out.
And they will wear out.
Most of the guys that had this style of bike all had something or other that needed adjustment. Almost all of the bikes had loose headsets and out of adjustment brakes.
This kids were pretty happy to have someone show them how to adjust stuff on their bikes and the parents were happy to have someone there to check them out as well.
The third group of guys had bikes their parents bought for them at yard sales. If there is anything worse then a BSO, it's a rusty, wore out BSO. A couple of these bikes were in need of some serious attention. I saw cracked tires, rusty chains, bent rims and plenty of wore out brake pads.
Almost all of the bikes there needed some sort of adjustment with a few I would send straight to the dumpster as they were borderline safe. I gave a few parents directions to bike shops close to them, I told them that almost all shops around here will install any part you buy from them for free.
My take is that lots of parents won't bat an eye spending money for the latest X-Box or PlayStation porn but balk at spending a couple hundred on an entry level "bicycle shop quality" bike for their kid. I get this opinion from seeing kids bikes at some of the volunteer kids rides I have helped out on. Most of the bikes present at these events are of the "BSO" variety.
Sure most kids beat the living snot out of their bikes, but they'd have some much more fun if they were on a good bike. Riding a bike that doesn't shift, brake or steer well is not fun, it's frustrating.
Mom and Dad, for the price of 4 or 5 video games, you can get your kid a nice bike that will last for years if it's taken care of.
All in all, I am enjoying the heck out of helping these guys out, if just one of the kids gets more into cycling because of what we are doing-I'll be a happy camper.