Birthday bike

This isn't one of those parenting blog posts that tell you how wise I am and what you could learn from my experience. Not this time, at least. It's also not a sponsored post showing you something awesome that I have and you should buy so that you, too, can be awesome like me. I'm sure you're already as awesome as I am. This is a blog post that asks for YOUR expertise and experience for a small problem/question I have.

This is my son, Johnny.

He is going to be 12 next week (oh how does that happen? it goes so fast, I kid you not) and he is seriously one of the greatest individuals who has ever lived. Let me paint you a quick pic of Johnny:

Every morning he is the first one awake in our house; he practices the piano, takes the dog out for potty, wakes his little brothers up. He makes his own lunch for school and often makes his 6yo brother's lunch, too. His mother is lazy, it seems. He never wants to be late for anything, but especially school, his teachers love him, he is a kind kid, he always asks if he can help me with anything. If ever I need something from the storage room, I ask Johnny and he will get it right away. He brings in the garbage cans without being asked. He loves making dinner and cookies and any food that I let him make. As I am writing this, he is on the other side of the kitchen island, peeling potatoes so he can use the spiralizer to make us fries and omelets for dinner. Johnny has his difficult moments and frustrating times, but I am quite certain he is one of the good ones and I am just lucky to have a chance to spend so much time with him during his life.

Because he is such a good and easy kid, sometimes it is easy to not worry about him. Especially during special events and celebrations. He always gets great test scores, so we expect it from him. When his brother gets a good score, we do back handsprings and bake a cake to celebrate. For Johnny's birthday next week, he has asked for new pants because his are getting too small and worn (mother of the year, anyone?), a ski helmet because his is too small, and maybe some gum would be fun, he says. So, I will get him a pack of gum at Costco and take him to buy some pants. The ski helmet can wait until next season (heaven knows his head could grow over the summer... right?).

Then this afternoon we were outside getting the bikes ready for spring riding. Johnny pulls out the bike he got for free from a neighbor and the valves on the tires are all wonky. We try to get the pump on them and the tire completely busts. Guys, this thing is kind of an old piece of junk. But Johnny loves to ride bikes so he doesn't care, so long as it rides. He asks if we can take it to the bike store to fix the tire and that he even has some money to get the repair. I tell him that I will go look online for some nearby shops and see what I can find out. But really, I think, "Johnny should have a new bike for his birthday. If anyone would take care of a bike and treat it well, it's this kid."

So for the last two hours I have been scouring articles and websites looking for a good bike that can last him a few solid years before he gets too tall and needs a new one. So it should be affordable, too, since I know it won't be his forever bike. I would love something sturdy and cool, because he's super cool. I love brands that are small and need some recognition and support. I also love if they are easy to repair and service. Because I've never bought this kid a new bike, I am at a complete loss of what to get. That's where you come in. Tell me what bike is worthy of this kid (and that I can afford--hehehehe... heh!) that you have loved/currently love. Share with us some of the lesser-known companies that need some support and eyes on them. Tag your friends who are bike gurus. Because I am sure I am not the only mom with a ridiculously good-looking and deserving kid who needs a kick-A bike.

TIA, yo.