As some of you blog readerly type people out there might know, I have a chid. An 8 year old son to be specific. He's been a bikey kid all his life. He's been carted around on various human powered conveyances ever since he was about 6 months old. Bike trailers, cargo bikes, cargo trike, a tandem. And he's been getting about under his own power for quite some time now. Tricycle, kick bike, his own pedal bikes.
The first time I made him his own bike was about four years ago when I was employed at UBI. It was made exclusively from tubing that was rendered otherwise unusable by students from the frame building classes there. Mostly tubes that were accidentally cut too short to be useful in making a bicycle for an adult. 12" wheels, super short BMX cranks, coaster brake. He rocked that bike for about a year and half until he outgrew it.
I made him another bike to replace it. Upped the wheel size to 20 inches, fenders, hand brakes, three speed internally geared hub. As that bike got to small (he won't stop growing, no matter how often I tell him to...) he kinda went into a period where he didn't have too much interest in riding his own bike. He still kicks ass on the back of the tandem. We go to school most days like that, and have been on numerous bike touring adventures on it. But recently he's regained an interest in getting places under his own steam.
So last week I took a little time, went into the shop on a rare weekend day and a couple of mornings before work, and knocked out another frame for him. Still keeping with the 20" wheels (never really understood why kid's bikes increase in wheel size so quickly, must be something about parents wanting to have visual reminders of their children growing up even though it's impractical) although we're going with a 1x9 set-up this time to get a better gear range. I fillet brazed the frame together, but didn't do any finish work on the fillets. (This is an option on adult sized bikes too, if you wanted a more handbuilt/unique look than a TIG frame but at a lower price point than a frame with lugs or finished fillets. It comes out looking pretty okay, been doing this kinda stuff for a while now). 1" steerer, V-brakes, fenders, rear rack for carrying his lunch to school and camping gear on tours.
Really excited that we'll soon be going bike touring together with him on his own bike. Also stoked to have him ride to school on a regular basis. Or maybe I'm just excited to not be riding around a tandem by myself after I drop him off. I don't want to enumerate how many jokes about my stoker falling off I've gotten in the last 4 years...
More pics here.