I have two young kids.
They have needs which are far too complex for me to explain.
I meet them as best as I can through a combination of off-the-cuff parental wisdom, dynamic health and safety risk assessments, and blind luck.
So far, so good; we’re all still alive, and no-one (as far as I can tell) has been too mentally scarred by the experience.
I also have two bikes.
They have needs which are not so complex that I can’t explain them (it’s mainly tweaking, fettling, cleaning, stroking, and tucking in to sleep at night), but they need meeting.
Covering all these bases can be a tricky business.
Luckily, I’ve stumbled upon a solution.
On the Venn diagram where one circle is the needs of my children and one is the needs of my bikes, the little shaded bit where they overlap indicates Monday night at chez dad|THEORY.
AKA: bike-cleaning night.
AKA: two birds, one stone.
AKA: yes I will happily accept this dad-of-the-year trophy; please pop it on that shelf there next to my practical-bike-maintenance award.
The implements required are as follows:
- 1 x aerosol spray (dubiously chemical contents)
- 1 x spray gun (containing soapy water)
- 1 x pressure washer
- 2 x small child
Combine these ingredients wisely and you will end the evening with a couple of clean bikes, and a couple of small children who have been successfully parented without the use of a screen and/or gadget of any kind.
Combine them un-wisely and you could end up with…well, literally anything.
There is natural attraction between young kids and things that spray stuff. Give a child a pressure washer – the ultimate thing-that-sprays-stuff – and allow them free reign, and you’ve just bought yourself a good hour of me-time.
To clean and maintain your bike but even, should the mood take you, to go and watch the telly or mindlessly scroll Facebook.
You should bear in mind, though, that a pressure washer can do a surprising amount of damage.
Better that you stick to the bike cleaning plan and exploit their labour (sorry…I mean encourage responsible play), by having them direct said pressure washer at the frame of your bike.
In combination with soapy spray, and dubiously chemical shining product, in the appropriate order.
And just like that, the apples of your eye are happy.
The kids seem to enjoy themselves too.
Done correctly, only a minimum amount of damage to the surrounding foliage and other garden paraphernalia will be sustained (because, as the saying goes, you can’t parent a child in a mutually beneficial way without breaking a few random bits of garden).
“But never mind the damage to the garden,” I sense you’re thinking, “what about the bikes!”
It’s well known that you should be careful when using a pressure washer on bikes; there is a risk of damage to paintwork and finish, and also of flushing all that important grease out of the moving parts.
Advanced parenting involves teaching your offspring the appropriate care to take when doing this. For most of us, realistically, that kind of parental authority is a distant dream.
If the worst should happen, and your bike incurs damage, just take it on the chin and pay for it to be fixed.
After all, these things happen.
Also, can you imagine the looks on the faces of your kids if you took the things-that-spray-stuff away from them?
You can’t put a price on that.