Schlepping the boys about on the Bakfiets is very well, but Middle Son is way overdue for a bike of his own. It’s a mark of respect: he’s growing up and we want him to see we trust him to travel independently, and he’s getting competition for his laufrad from his little brother Besides, he’s getting heavy.

So we got him a bike. And not just any old bike: a new one with mudguards, a stand and a proper luggage rack so he can transport stuff like Daddy. It’s the sort of bike I dreamed of when I was growing up:  I remember at about age ten asking for a bike that had these ‘features’ in the UK, and and the guy in the shop just laughed. I didn’t get a bike with a stand until I bought the Xtracycle two years ago. (Mind you, I’ve made up for lost time by breaking four stands since).

Middle Son’s bike doesn’t have stabilisers. In Germany stabilisers are far less common than the UK: small people learn to balance on a Laufrad where they just push with their feet and then when they are stable enough and can race off at the speed of a scalded rocket, they graduate to pedal power. Instead of stabilisers, this bike has a solid handle built into the saddle for me to hold him up (or down, or back) which beats trying to grip on a few bits of foam and plastic.  With Eldest son we left  the stabilisers on his bike, and as a result it took weeks for him to learn to balance alone. Middle Son learned in three hours, and now he can be seen only as a speck in the distance,  if he decided to wait for me.

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