They Don’t Make ‘Em Like they Used To – Or Do We Have the Repair Skills of a Rock?

They don't make bikes like they used to.  Or maybe it's just us.


Bikes.  Damn the bikes all to hell.  Now before you go thinking that it’s my discomfort with the outdoors (I can HEAR you calling me ‘diva’ inside your head you know) or you decide to get Doug Ford to call me a racist for hating bicycles…hear me out.

We seem to have an endless parade of problems with almost every bike we buy.  I know this is a ridiculous problem.  I own that.  Nerdguy’s bike never really worked properly.  My bike can’t seem to hold air in the tires, and on the weekend my whole seat swiveled around when I looked over my shoulder.  This could be a ‘too many bacon and cheese stuffed burgers’ problem rather than an actual manufacturing defect, but I refuse to own that.  Bacon and cheese should be in everything.

Molly’s bike was new last year, and this year won’t stop making clicking sounds.  And this weekend the pedal flew right off while we were on a bike ride.  Since Nerdguy and I have all the handiness of a watermelon, we passed it off to our friend who is supposed to be The Bike Whisperer.  We were full of hope.  He could fix it.  It will be something small that reasonable people and mid-sized children who are not related to us should be able to solve.  We were almost giddy.  Nerdguy and I both grew up with extremely handy dads.  He and I are good at other things, and that’s okay.  My dad was the guy that everyone came to on the street to get things fixed or ask for advice.  We have found the new go-to guy for our generation.  He has no idea the list of things I have ready for him to fix!  The bike is just the beginning.

He tightened the incredibly precarious brakes, pumped up the tires, probably gave it a wash and a new paint job too…and then…declared it broken.  The gear hub thingy (official terminology alert) is all bent, and if Molly keeps it in second gear it is the least terrifying, but don’t dare slip into first gear!  If the friggin Bike Whisperer has given up on it, then I’m starting to think that it’s not just us.

Grace’s old bike has never kept air in the tires.  It’s the second one the store brought out from the back when we bought it.  The first one didn’t even make it to the cash with inflated tires.

I think that these bikes are all crap!  And it’s not like we’re paying $3 for them either.  I don’t remember having all these problems as a kid.  My banana seat didn’t swivel.  I rarely had to put air in the tires, and aside from the little mishap from leaving my tricycle behind my parents’ car, I don’t remember a bike ever being declared broken beyond repair.  What is happening with the bike quality these days?  SO my daughter screams and basically drops her bike when she feels like she’s falling off.  So that’s probably why the gear hub is bent.  I feel like I dropped plenty of bikes in my day too outside the Becker’s on a Jumbo Freezie run, and my 10 speed survived.

Maybe things were better made back then.  Or maybe my dad was the true bike whisperer and he was fixing it all the time without me realizing or fully appreciating it.

Or maybe the clacking of the straws on my spokes just covered up all the broken gear racket.

Molly has her first triathlon next month, so any recommendations of a bike that doesn’t suck for a 10 year old are appreciated.  At this point she might be doing the bike portion in a wheelbarrow.


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