Despite living less than ten minutes walk away from school, my littlest Monster has decided in her wisdom or otherwise that cycling to school is the way forward. The problem with this, however is that when she gets to school, she doesn't want to leave her Huffy, or her Bomber with the other kids bikes at school because she's worried that they will get damaged.
This morning, as she parked up her Bomber she was walking away from it when this other little lad jumped off his BMX while he was riding along, and left it to find it's own way into the part of the playground where the kids lock their bikes up. As it carreered past my littlest Monster she watched it as it crashed into several bikes, including hers. She looked at me standing outside the school fence, then with a face like thunder she walked back to where her bike was parked, picked up this little lads BMX, and threw it as far as she could across the playground! Then looked back at me, gave me the thumbs up which I reciprocated, before she took off her helmet and wandered into her class. Clearly she was angered, but not as angry as this Mum was who was stood several feet away from me, and who upon seeing this little display came over for a chat.
She asked me if the delightful child who threw her sons new bicycle across the playground was mine. Proudly, I said that she is indeed my little girl. To which she asked me if I thought that it was OK for her to throw her sons brand new bike that he's only had for a fortnight across the playground like that. She was pretty angry at me, but to be honest, I was starting to feel like I might be on the cusp of some sort of anti-social behavior as I don't really play well with others, and one thing that triggers me off is stupidity, and rudeness. So I looked her square in the eye, and just said that my little girl treasures her bikes, she builds and maintains them herself, and she's proud of them. What she doesn't care for is when other people let their bikes smash into the bike that she cares about, and to be frank, your little tyke is lucky she didn't pick him up, and throw him across the playground! I then turned around, and started to walk away.
But... This woman followed me, and said that after school I needed to take my child aside and have a strong word to her about her behaviour, and make her apologise to her son, and her for how she acted! Well that was it for me, as far as I was concerened, she'd been rude, and now she was crossing my stupidity threshold! So I said to her that if anybody owes anyone an apology it was her little shithead of a Son. He should be apologising firstly to my daughter and the other kids his bike smashed into for stupidly letting his bike just go across the playground on its own. Then he should be apologising to her for having no respect for a bike that she had probably spent the best part of £200 just so he could wreck it by smashing it into other kids bikes. She looked absolutely dumbfounded, and so I said that I was going to go now, and it would be a good idea if she didn't follow me and try to continue this conversation.
Thankfully she didn't follow me, but I did feel that something needed to be done, and so today as it was a slack day at work I decided to create this monstrosity. I had this Giant Rincorn dumped outside my workshop just before lockdown along with some other bikes, and as it was pretty scruffy, and had flat tyres my feeling was that I would at some point break it down into spares for my stash. But I just never got around to it, and so I figured that as it's so scruffy I might be able to turn it into something that my littlest Monster can ride to school, without having to worry about someone damaging it. to be fair, its so scruffy that you'd be hard pressed to find any new damage that may occur to it on the playground, so I couldn't see how this could go wrong. The only problem was that as it's a full sized Mountain bike, it may well be a little on the large side for my littlest Monster, but as I had nothing else remotely small enough, I figured that this thing may well have to do.
The first thing I did was to fix the punctures, then after I'd got the wheels back on I checked the brakes, and gears worked, and that everything that was supposed to be tight was tight. I then put a saddle on it and took it for a little ride around the block. It rode OK, and I thought it was easily good enough for the five or ten minute ride to school. With that done I decided to add a pair of mudguards from a womens beach cruiser I sold two or three years ago so that she can ride in the wet without getting all muddy and wet on the way to school. I also added a pretty sturdy bike rack that has been kicking around in my stash forever. I'm not a big fan of bike racks, but I know my littlest Monster has been thinking about fitting one to her Bomber so that she can put her school bag on the rack instead of trying to ride with it on her shoulder. Added to that, the rack has the added benefit of a rear light which I thought might be a good idea as the evenings start to draw in.
I realise that what I have created might not be the most aesthetically pleasing looking bike I've ever built, but thats OK, it's not meant to be. It's just a sacrificial commuter bike for the school run and thats about it.
So then I thought that for fun I would take it to school, and swap it for the Bomber she rode there this morning. I buzzed the button on the schoolgates, and explained what I was going to do. It was pretty hard to get past the receptionist lady, but I think she eventually relented as I just wasn't going away. I went into the playground, unlocked her Bomber with my key, put the Rincon in its place, and locked it back up again before going home with the Bomber.
When she came out of class this afternoon she'd obviously noticed that I'd taken her Bomber as she didn't even stop at the bikes, but came straight over to me where I was standing at the fence. She was pretty unhappy, she told me that someone had stolen her Bomber! I said, What? No! Surely not, go and have another look. But she said it's just not there. So I asked her if she locked it up. She pulled the key out of her pocket, holding it up she said, Yep, here's the key. So I said, go and have another look. By now almost all of the other bikes had gone and I watched as she suddenly noticed that the Rincon had a lock on it that was very similar to hers. She apprehensively put the key in the lock, and it opened. She put the lock in her bag, and pushed the bike over to me. This bike had my lock on it, is it mine? she said. I said, yep, that's your school bike, I flung it together so that you could ride something to school that you didn't need to care, or worry about. Incase that little moron decides to fling his bike into all the bikes again tomorrow, you won't need to worry, and you won't need to throw his bike across the playground either. She said thanks Dad, I love it! Lets go for a ride and try it out.
So with her school bag strapped down on the rack we headed out for my normal quick ride route. I could see that every time we stopped it was a little bit big for her as she was right on the tips of her toes whenever we stopped. But before long we'd reached the point on my route where I normally turn around and head back to BelongaClint. As we started to head for home I asked her what she thought of it. She said that it was a bit big for her really, and it seems quite heavy, but it rides pretty well, and it would be good enough to abandon in the school playground. She said that she was pretty happy that now she didn't need to worry about her Huffy, or Bomber being wrecked by the morons at school.
So it would seem like mission accomplished for my little Giant Rincon build. Not the prettiest bike ever, but as a utility bike I think I've nailed it, and my client seems to be happy. Lets just hope she doesn't lose the plot again in the morning when that little tyke lets his bike crash into the other bikes from across the playground tomorrow! Although if he does, I reckon this Giant would take a bit of a beating before you'd notice any damage on it.