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Anna Sierra Heffernan-Wilker and Jasper Heffernan-Wilker Fix Bikes with DaddyWe'll have your bike working in a flash, Mama!
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Anna Sierra Heffernan-Wilker and Jasper Heffernan-Wilker Learn to Fix Bikes with Derek HeffernanA patient daddy and ready access to tools allow kids to gain confidence as junior bike mechanics.
There's never been anything more fun than fixing bikes with Daddy. Let the kids play with wrenches long enough and they'll learn how to use them.
My husband Derek is one of the most patient, enthusiastic and fun people I know. A high school teacher by trade, Derek encourages students to take an interest in history, geography and outdoor education all day. Then he bikes home and is ready to fix bikes in the garage with our two kids. Not every single day. The guy’s human. Sometimes he has a nap first.
But my point is that Derek welcomes participants, whatever their age or ability. He shares his tools, even if it means the project will take longer than if he were working alone. And that is a beautiful quality. And one that leaves everyone feeling included, confident, capable and empowered.
When the kids were little, mostly they helped Derek fix bikes by taking screwdrivers out of his tool bucket, poking them in his spokes and leaving them on the driveway. But after years of inclusion, now the kids really do know how to pump up tires. They’ve helped find leaks in inner tubes by watching escaping air from the tube bubble to the surface of a bucket. And they’ve watched wheels being trued, hubs being packed, brakes being adjusted and all kinds of other bike repairs. They love getting their hands greasy and being part of the bike fixing party.
When we’re riding together and we notice our bike is squeaky or our brakes are sticky, the kids tell me not to worry, they’ll take care of the problem with Daddy.
Sometimes biking with kids or fixing bikes with kids can be messier or can take longer. But creating a familiy biking culture where everyone's contributions are important and valued is definitely worth the effort.
I'll be posting more often than the usual two posts/week leading up to our quiet non-posting family time from December 17-January 4. Happy Holidays, Family Bikers!