Vanessa’s Birthday

Vanessa’s five years old today. It’s so unbelievable that five years have already gone by! (Oh yes, and that means this blog site is also five years old!) She’s very quickly growing up, and she’ll be entering Primary One in just another two years (actually, it’s lesser than that). Sometimes, I’d wish that time will just slow down. She’s no longer a baby anymore, at least not literally. But I still want to enjoy her baby-hood.

For this 5th birthday, I was deciding between getting a bicycle or a pair of rollerblades for Vanessa. It’s about time for her to start learning some of these skills. My Dad made it a point that both me and my sister learnt how to ride bicycles, and I think it makes sense that my kids should too. I always assumed that cycling was a very basic activity that everyone should know. (I found out I am quite wrong. There are a good number of adults who, well, make it to adulthood and have yet to learn how to cycle.)

The other option, rollerblading, was something that I wanted to do myself. I haven’t been rollerblading for many years. At least 8 years, I think. What better way to go back to rollerblading than teaching my own kids to rollerblade, and then later on we can all go rollerblading together! Rollerblading is also probably cheaper than cycling. Rollerblade rental probably costs more than bicycle rental, but rollerblades cost less to buy than bicycles. (To me, bicycles means either a “road bike” or a “hybrid bike”.) But the problem with rollerblades for children is that they will outgrow them very fast. At least I think so.

Another point to consider is also which skill is more “important”, and which other one is easier to pick up later in life. As I said earlier, I considered cycling a basic activity that I assume everyone should know. It also seems like cycling involves a very steep initial learning curve. When you can’t cycle, you just try and try to figure out how to do it. Then one day, you suddenly can cycle. From that point on, cycling is easy. Children supposedly manage this better, because, the theory is that they are less afraid to fall. I’m not sure about that for my kids though. Both Vanessa and Ian seem like very cautious kids. (Isaac is still too little yet… he’s yet to flip over…)

So, anyway, I asked Vanessa. Would she want to rollerblade or ride bicycle? She didn’t think very long before she settled on cycling. I asked a few times, on different occasions, just to “confirm” her choice. It was decidedly a bicycle she wanted.

My next task was to figure out where to buy the bicycle. It just happened that on the way back from a recent excursion with her child care centre, I noticed there was a bicycle shop nearby to the child care centre. They had plenty of children’s bicycles lined up neatly in front of the shop. I ended up going there, since it was convenient, and I didn’t find any other good alternatives.

This shop that I went to is Bike Haus. The helpful staff suggested a few bicycles that were suitable for Vanessa. One suggestion was a white-red bicycle that, they suggested, is “neutral” coloured so that eventually Ian could take over the bicycle too. However, Vanessa had her mind set on a pink coloured strawberry themed bicycle. That’s the bicycle we got.

Bike Haus has two branches, both located along Bukit Timah Road. The one we went to sold all types of bicycles, except road bikes. The other one sells only road bikes.

I used to cycle road bikes. I think the last time I did that regularly was some 15 to 20 years ago. I don’t have that road bike anymore. The technology behind road bikes has progressed tremendously since. So many new things for me to learn about if I want to get a road bike again. The most shocking thing is the price. At Bike Haus, it seems like road bikes typically cost upward of $2K. For under $2K, you’ll have to settle for something like this:

Yes, a used bike for just under $2K. Awfully expensive sports. I think this isn’t the right place for me to go bike shopping. But it seems like you can’t get a working road bike  for lesser than $500 or $600 anywhere else.

Anyway, the next task for me now is to figure out how to teach Vanessa cycling. When you already know how to cycle, it becomes something you “just know”. It’s not easy to translate that knowledge into some instructions you can feed to someone else. I can cycle on my road bike hands-free, and I can even make U-turns while hands-free. It’s just a simple matter of balance and control. But I don’t know how to explain that.

Happy birthday baby #1!