A big decision

Lance was a little upset about the fact that his big brother’s bike went to Bike Barn and his did not. He knows good and well that a trip to Bike Barn with an existing bike means that it is going in for repairs. He has had his bike in there for flat tire repairs and brake adjustments we could not figure out.

He knows that this is my go to place for repairs. He also knew that his bike needed repairs and that he just got jumped over by his brother. He had been waiting and he knew that I knew about what repairs were on his bike. He was upset about it and he was not afraid to let me know about it.

He came to me on Thursday and asked me when I was going to take his bike to get it fixed. Like I said, he is no dummy. He had a concern and he brought it to me.

In all honesty, I am glad that he did. He knew this was something that needed to be addressed fairly soon since we would be going back to school before too long. It was time to get a move on it. There was a catch, however. Bikes are not cheap. No matter how you look at it, they are a pretty big investment. The good news is that they usually pay off over time.

Since I had not spoken with Ben about the purchase of the new bike with Ben, I was in a bit of a quandary. It was not a big deal, but after researching what would be needed for Lance it was more than the “go out and spend” threshold. It was going to have to be a discussion if it was not an emergency. Thus this was going to have to wait for a discussion of necessity.

I talked to Lance about it. I explained to him about how much it was going to cost to fix his bike from what we knew was wrong with it. When we took Andrew’s bike in we knew that a derailleur was going to cost about $40 to replace. That was broken on Lance’s bike as well, but Lance knew that this was not the only thing wrong with his bike. So we went through the list of things that were wrong with his bike and we started added up the prices that things would cost (possibly). I knew the diagnostic fee would be about $70 for them to diagnose everything. That right there with the derailleur would put us at $110 and we already knew his brakes and gear shifter were having issues as well. He also needed a new seat. It was not looking good since I knew that bikes were between $140-190 in his size.

The bigger issue we had was that he had grown considerably over the past couple of years and he really needed a new bike anyway. He had been telling me that he was hitting his knees on the handlebars when he would turn. I already knew he would hit is toes on the ground from time to time when he would pedal. I had seen that. It was just time to get him a bigger bike. It was not like this a surprise to me. I knew it was coming.

The catcher was that I only spent about $100 on that bike many years ago when I bought it for Andrew. Yes, the bike had been through three children now. I was having a hard time spending any more money on something that was (1) that old and (2) Lance was not going to ride that much longer anyway. Thus, I kept delaying the necessary discussion and I kept staying in denial as long as possible. With school approaching and Lance finally realizing that he just got trumped by his older brother I could not deny it anymore.

The discussion with him, however, was a good one. He actually seemed to understand that he was not going to get his current bike fixed and why he was not going to get it fixed. He seemed to understand that it did not make any sense to fix it at this point. It did not seem to take the disappointment away, but it did help he realize that it was not mommy be mean to him. It did help him realize that it was something bigger for him in the future. It just did not make that future a reality, yet.

What came next was amazing. He wanted to know when he could have a new bike. That is hard. When you do not have that money set aside for something like that, it is hard to say exactly. This was not a planned purchase and like I said it was over the “go right now and purchase” threshold we have set for things. We were going to have to discuss it first. Lance appeared to understand that but it did not take his anxiety away.

I told him that I would have to talk to daddy first. Then I thought about it for a few minutes as he’s sitting there thinking about it and stewing on it. I then mentioned that if he wanted it right now, he could buy it himself. That perked him up. He was paying attention. Really paying attention. “How much money does it take?” I explained to him that it depends on what kind of bike he gets and picks out. I told him what I had seen in the stores, but it would depend on which bike fit him. “Do I have enough money?” I told him that he did. “Will it take all of my money?” I explained to him that it would not, he had plenty of money. “Will I only have a little money left over?” I assured him that he would have plenty of money left over after he bought it. He sat there for a minute and thought. “I am okay with that.” It was that simple.

The next morning we went out together and went shopping for bikes to see what he fit. I had not taken him shopping yet. I had just been looking to get a feel for the price range we would be in when Ben and I did go get him a new bike. Like I said, I knew it was going to happen. He was so excited. We went to several stores. I was reminded that there just is not a whole lot to choose from in the 24″ bikes. They are not cheap. They are not on sale at back-to-school time in spite of the fact that many kids do ride their bikes to school and it would be a good item to have on sale at this time of year.

We did not purchase, we just looked and tried out a few bikes. We narrowed it down to two bikes. One was at the Walmart in Tomball and the other was at the Academy in Tomball. We then went home. I let him think about it. This was a big decision for an eight year old to make. It is a lot of money. I asked him again that night what he wanted to do, did he want to wait for mommy and daddy to talk about and buy the bike or did he want to buy it and get it right now. To my surprise he changed his mind. I let him sleep on it.

The next morning, I did not say anything. After a little while he comes to me and said, “When are we going to go get my new bike?” Wow?!. See this is why I let him sleep on it. I gave him time to think about it.

I asked him if he was absolutely sure this was what he wanted to do because last night he said he wanted mommy and daddy to buy it. He said he was sure. He then says, “I am going to need a new seat, that seat is not very good. Can I get lights too? Do I have enough money for lights?” Oh my goodness, my little boy was making really big decisions. I told him right there on the spot that I would buy him a new seat and lights if he bought his new bike. He asked if we could go get his bike right then. I asked him which one he wanted and that’s where we went.

He picked out the Mongoose 24″ mountain bike at Academy. He liked it best out of all the bikes he tried. They were all a little too big for him, but the next size down was too small. Surprisingly, the bike is not green. There were no green bikes available in the really good sturdy bikes. 
He was so excited to have the lady ring it up and pay for it himself. It was all his!
I think the sticker shock finally got to him and he realized what he just did. Should I tell him how much a car costs?
Of course we broke it in to the Houston weather elements walking out to the car – hot and humid. It was drizzling when we came out of the store. It got wet right after he bought it. He did not seem the least be worried about it. He realizes it is going to be getting all sorts of weather over the next several months. Fortunately, it had stopped raining by the time we got home because he could not wait to get his bicycle helmet on and take it for a ride!
He looks so proud of himself! I have to say that I am extremely proud of him for making such a big decision. He has a nice list of accessories that he wants to take mom and dad for. He is one smart cookie. He already got his lights. I bought those today. I will shop around for the right seat. He also wants a little bike computer and biking gloves. I am sure there is something else I am forgetting. Oh he wants a bottle holder, but that will take a bit more work to find one that will fit properly on his frame. 
It was interesting trying to load it into my new minivan. Fortunately, the minivan is a bit bigger on the inside than the last one so we had a bit more length to work with. That is one thing that I do miss already – the bike rack. I can see between having to take Andrew’s bike to Bike Barn (which we loaded into Sally’s Jeep that we were borrowing at the time) and bringing Lance’s bike home how much that bike rack was really used albeit infrequently. Unfortunately, adding the hitch to my new minivan is several hundred dollar feature that will just have to wait so my bike rack will just have to sit in the garage unusable for a little while until we can afford to put the hitch on the minivan. All things in due time.

I am so proud of Lance for making such a big decision. He sure is growing up on me quick. I love you, Lance!

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