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Sometimes the things your child does just make you proud. My 2 year old son – the Pok – is growing at a rapid rate and never ceases to amaze me with the things he does or spits out. One thing that I have really enjoyed is that he has taken to my love of bikes. It should not surprise me as he sees my road steed near the entrance of our home every day, and whenever I am adjusting it or getting it ready for a ride he rushes over to both me and the bike. Not to mention the number of times he has fallen asleep in the trailer behind me while I am towing him along.

I have been trying to teach him all the parts of the bike as he has been studiously observing me. He has proven to be a quick learner. I regularly quiz him on where the parts are on the bike, asking him to show me as I name them. His pass rate so far is about 90%.

Parts of a Bicycle LabeledImage source: Jim Langley – Bicycle Aficionado

So in true father – son fashion I took him into a BMX bike store on our pre-Christmas trip to visit my brother in Melbourne. My son was awestruck when he saw all the chrome accented bikes hanging on the walls. He was especially chuffed when he saw a cabinet containing a kaleidoscope of metallic coloured cassettes, stems, and cranks. As it was a BMX bike store, I knew that most of the bikes would be custom made to the buyer’s tastes and design. We found the workbench where the store mechanic was putting together a new steed and I stood him up on the bench so he could see. The mechanic barely acknowledged we were there until…

Daddy (me): “Pok can you show me the wheels?”

Pok (my son): points to the front wheel and then rear wheel, “there, there”

Daddy: “Pok, can you show me the pedals?”

Pok: points to the right and left pedal, “there is two Daddy”

Daddy: “Pok, can you show me the forks?”

Now at this point the mechanic turned ever so slightly to see who was invading his workshop space.

Pok: pointing to the forks, “there Daddy”

Daddy: “Pok, can you point to the saddle?”

Pok: pointing to the bike seat.

Daddy: “Pok, can you show me the stem?”

Pok: pointing to the neck stem, “there Daddy, its glued to the bars.” (everything that is joined together is glued)

This definitely caught the attention of the store mechanic, who properly turned around and noticed a two year old standing on his work bench.

Daddy: “What is the man holding?”

Pok: “Allen key”

INSTANT JAW DROPPING RESPECT FROM THE BIKE MECHANIC!

Mechanic: “How old is he?”

Daddy: “Two!” with a grin beaming from ear-to-ear.

For 15 seconds, I was the proudest Dad in the world!

And with that we said our goodbyes to the store mechanic and went off to find the rest of our troupe.

So now the problem I am going to have is one that I imparted on my father, pinching his tools and not returning them to their rightful home.

Pok - bike tools

At least I know that he will know what to do with them once he uses the tools in anger. Who said that these were the terrible twos?

Pok - bike fixing

All I want for Christmas is a Park Tool Workstand… and it has arrived early! One of the reasons I love cycling is the mechanical aspect of maintaining my steeds. I don’t have all the tools in my kit bag and there are still some types of repairs that I have not quite cracked, but now that I have this workstand it will make things a whole lot easier. I had been eyeing up one of these for quite some time, and was further inspired by this video of one of the Garmin team mechanics plying his trade.

The workstand was delivered unassembled and we had to put it together before putting it to use. When I write we, I meant the Pok and me. He loves playing with tools, and already knows what screwdrivers, allen keys, and wrenches are. Though I think I give my son’s intelligence more credit than it deserves – he thought we had just built see-saw.

Today we got to use the workstand for the first time, giving both the road and mountain steed a through clean and lube. This workstand is awesome! For starters, it works equally well for both bikes. It enables me to get in under the rear derailleur mechanism and into the nooks where dust and grime build up. With its pivot, I can also rotate the bike around 360 degrees making it much easier to do whatever I need to. The height is adjustable too, but I have not fiddled with this setting yet. Little Pok loved the whole set up and joined in the bike cleaning fun. Now to work out how to adjust my rear derailleur.

If anyone thinks that I am subjecting my son to hard working child labour, the alternate option would have been dealing with a crying tantrum spitting two year old. He loved washing the bike, constantly interjecting with “Daddy, my do it.” Although he did object to the spray from the hose bouncing off the frame onto his head, to which he instructed me to “Stop spraying me Daddy, my don’t like it.” In between his bursts of assistance he spent the rest of the time jumping in the puddles I created, hopping over the hose in the garage and doing laps of the mounted bike.

How would I rate my new piece of bike gear? About 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the reason why I drop the 1/2 star is because of the mount that sits underneath the bottom bracket. It could be a bit better in terms of it’s base of support for the frame, but it is not flimsy – you just have to tighten hard the frame grip strap. I would definitely recommend my fellow cyclists to invest in one of these. If you shop prudently from one of the online bike shops you should be able to pick one of these up for not much over USD200.

Time to giddy up and go for another summer spin with one of my now super clean steeds.

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