Hand crank class, again

Tonight was Namine’s hand crank bike class, for real this time. It was, again, a disappointment — but for a different reason altogether.

We arrived for Namine’s bike class a little early, expecting to see the instructor. Not so; the same volunteer that we saw last week was there, who told us that the instructor should arrive shortly. He let us in so we could wait inside.

We didn’t have to go in the door we were instructed to enter last week. That’s good, because that door entered into a stairwell. The volunteer opened up the garage door that we should have been able to enter last week (communication, it’s important, people). Namine — the little daredevil — eschewed the handicap ramp, opting instead to race down the driveway.

We met the husband and wife we’d met last week, but we seemed to be the only ones who’d arrived.

Inside, we saw the plethora of hand crank bikes. There was quite an array, but while that was impressive, there was a considerable lack of child-sized bikes. We thought this was strange, given that the brochure stated “ages six and up.”

The instructor arrived at the same time as some other cyclists, none of whom appeared younger than ten. We had held out hope, even with last week’s postponed class, that there would be at least one of Namine’s peers in attendance. That seemed to not be the case, after all.

When the instructor arrived, he wasted no time getting everyone set up with a bike. There were no children’s bikes, so he directed us to the smallest of the lot.

Namine’s hand crank bike, which currently sits in our garage awaiting warmer weather, has handles which are opposite each other — while one is up, the other is down; while one is forward, one behind.

This bike, on the other hand, had handles which faced the same direction. It also had more in common with a wheelchair than with a foot pedal bike. There was still a seat belt, which we were thankful for.

The seat could be brought forward, but not raised. Namine is short, and she has short arms. This made things difficult. Even moving straight forward, the handles would hit against her chest. This didn’t prevent moving forward, but it did make it more difficult.

Turning, however, was a near impossibility. For Namine to still reach the handles at the apex of their revolution, she had to be close. But such closeness made the handles hit against her chest — not merely rub up against, but hit against — and could not continue until she straightened the wheel out again.

Moving the seat back, so that the handles did not hit against her chest, made it so that Namine could not even reach them at their furthest point. After spending somewhere around a half hour, we decided to throw in the towel. If there had been shorter handles, I think Namine would have been able to use the bike. (Of course, shorter handles would decrease the amount of leverage on hills. But we need a bike she can use, first.)

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