I wish I could give each of my girls a new bike. That would be a luxury. I would have to do it every couple of years so you can do the math and calculate the expense. So we resort to sharing in this family. Some of the old bikes are better than others so there are often little squabbles as to who gets first choice. If a good one is not available, there is always walking. I used to walk everywhere in the neighborhood when I was a kid. It was usually not far to run an errand to the grocery store or to visit a friend for after-school fun. My brother always had his eye on the bike and rather than argue, I just let him have it. Since I didn’t have a new bike of my own for a few years, I had to be compliant. When I finally got one, I was ecstatic. I know my own girls would be if I indulged them in the same way. Sooner or later, it is going to happen. Kids depend so much on their bikes in spite of the problems they encounter with the hand-me-downs. Not only do the bikes look old and need painting, but the tires don’t hold air well.
My girls complain often about how annoying it is to use a hand pump so often. It is almost a daily chore. We have an old hand pump that we got at a garage sale and we could do better. One day, one of the girls was parking her bike in the driveway between our house and the neighbor’s. He saw the condition of the thing and you could hear his mental criticism. He is a friendly man and came over to inspect the tires that at that moment were ready for air. He then saw the hand pump and scoffed. You know, he said, I have just the thing for you. How about I go get my home air compressor. It will do the job faster and more reliably. He proceeded to exit and only came back ten minutes later with the item. He showed us how to use it. It was made for such jobs. Wow, we need one, I exclaimed. No problem, he answered. You can borrow it any time. I will leave it out in plain view in the garage and when your tires are starting to go flat, come and get it. You now know how to use it.
And use it we did. The tires were always a problem and I vowed to get some new ones. Meanwhile, we borrowed the air compressor as if it were our own. Life got a lot easier and there were fewer complaints since taking care of the tires was now easy. I felt a little odd about having my kids in someone else’s garage, but the neighbor reminded me often how pleased he was to be able to help out.