Sunday, March 11, 2012

She's a daredevil, just like her old man

Look Daddy, no legs!
We've been having some great weather around these parts as of recent. I'm proud to say that we have been making the most of it. Our girl has been riding the wheels off her Electra, and her bike tricks are getting more daring by the day. I can't wait until the trails dry out enough to bring her mountain bike skills back into practice. She made great progress last year, and I've been eyeing 20-inch wheeled mountain bikes equipped with gears and hand brakes in anticipation of an escalation of off-road skill building. Her 16-inch bikes have been great and she's learned a lot, but there are some real mountain bikes out there on the 20-inch platform. It won't be long before she's ready to move up.

Most of the major bike companies make some sort of 20-inch wheeled mountain bike, some of which are miniature versions of their serious adult offerings. I was very impressed with the Scott Spark JR 20; a real full-suspension mountain bike, not just a department store ornamental knockoff. It's more than likely outside of our present budget and/or needs, but cool in any case.
Mastered: circa 1990 Murray "Fashion Crew" ersatz BMX bike.
On the other end of the spectrum from the Scott, is the bike pictured above. Before proceeding, I should note that I have long been fortunate to have a wife who understands that it is beyond my capacity to let an intact and usable bike, no matter how ugly, end up in a landfill. As is symptomatic of my two-wheeled illness, I retrieved the neglected late '80s or early '90s department store bike from an elderly neighbor's trash a couple of weeks ago. It was likely once used by visiting grandkids who are now grown. Although the bike is a Murray "Fashion Crew" model, it is no beauty; sporting faded neon yellow and pink paint, worn out tires and a rusty chain. 

As aesthetically deficient as the Murray may be, it made for a fine testing platform. After airing up the tires, she threw a leg over and had soon mastered this up-sized bike, although the high handlebars were received as somewhat awkward. She was doing figure eights and loops in the street, and even some "look Daddy, no fingers" taunts aimed at my parental sense of safety. We then ventured to some dirt to get a different feel.
Dirt riding on 20-inch wheels.
The Murray has a higher minimum seating position than most new or near-new 20-inch wheeled mountain bikes, so something a bit more modern should fit her just fine. However, she is no bike snob and was more than happy to put the Murry through some paces, that is, until the front tire started going flat. Even this was a useful experience, as I coached her in how to gingerly ride the low tire home, taking care to make no sudden turns. It never fails to astonish me in how she's a sponge for soaking up this kind of information. The Murray will likely hang around in our bike barn for a little while, until it inevitably finds a new home where someone will put it to good use.

A little later, I rode downtown to my friend Andy's New Orleans themed party at the Denver Beer Company.
The boiling tent, with Andy and his crew hard at work.
A few of the guests of honor, affectionately called mudbugs.
It would be hard to top the day as a fine end to Standard Time until Fall. With any luck, we'll have a lot more dirt riding before then, and perhaps some more delicious marine creatures as well. Don't forget to set your clocks ahead!

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