Gunnar's 20" MTB. Summer 2012. Putney, VT.
Gunnar’s folks were on a work trip in Norway this last week. My mom and Hill were at a conference/workshop. So it was me and Gunnar. It seemed like a good time to build him a bike. He’s not very big. Most of the commercial offering for people under 4 feet tall is pretty paltry. Bikes made out of scaffolding pipe with tin parts hanging from them. What parent wants to spend a lot of money on a bike that their kid will grow out of in a year!? But that’s short sighted. There will be other kids!! So. Gunnar will be the first owner of a bike that gets passed around the family, and neighborhood.
8 hour days in the shop making bikes is pretty tiring for me. Doing it WHILE looking after an 8 year old (”hey.. uncle Ezra.. What if this thing was a bazoooka and it had knives attached to it and… “) is another thing entirely.
“gunnar! seriously. I’m trying to figure out how to bend your chain stays so they’ll make it around the tire! I have to concentrate. Can’t think about Bazookas”
“oh. . . . . . uncle Ezra. Do you want to hear the whole first scene of Romeo and Juliet?”
It had been my intention to document the whole thing. Maybe even film some of it. But I found that my brain was spread SO thin that JUST getting the bike built was about all I could do. A little preview of (”Two households, both alike in dignity, In fair veronna where we lay our scene.. “) what it will be like to be a stay at home dad who builds bikes, while Hill is out in the world PHD-ing things.
“Can I have a PB and J”
“Well. Can I have another cup of coffee?”
“No. Not until those.. What are those called? are brazed to that thing.”
“Midget task master!”
By day three we were really starting to hit our stride. We made a playlist of story songs that we listened to more or less on a loop. Gunnar learned the lyrics to just about every song. (”Like my eyes ain’t green and my hair ain’t yella, it’s more like the other way arooouuund!!“) My brain expanded a bit and I was able to focus a little better on multiple things. Juliette’s suicide by dagger, and brake caliper clearance vis a vis seat stays simultaneously (try that, Janus).
“oh man, Gunnar.. That was a stinky fart!!”
“wasn’t me. I think it must have been you..”
“Gunnar. Seriously. In my particular condition, you KNOW it’s pretty obvious when I fart, and that the smell stays in the bag!”
“Well. It wasn’t me . . . find him, bind him, tie him to a pole and break his fingers to splinters..”
We had a good time. Managed to finish the bike just in time to have a bit of a ride before he packed up to go visiting grand-parents in Minnesota. Of six or seven races around the park, I only managed to win one. It may have been the 98 degree heat, but I feel like the finish line kept moving (G was the official course setter,naturally).