The Minibike Saga

We haul four bicycles on our trip- two on a bike rack mounted onto the front of our vehicle and two mounted on a bike rack connected to the rear ladder of our fifth wheel. Recently, the rear rack was beginning to bend our ladder. So, we decided to replace it with a different model. We headed to a Camping World to check out their selection. While we were there, the boys spotted a clearance area with a Coleman mini bike on sale. They have been eyeing this particular gas-powered minibike for a few years. Today, it was priced 50% off. They were giddy with excitement and wanted to know how I felt about buying it. Jackson looked at me with pleading puppy dog eyes. Jason told me that this was a great deal and we should take advantage of the price.

“Where are you going to put it? The hitch already has a bike rack. We can’t put it inside. We don’t have a toy hauler.”

They assured me that it was small and would fit on the bed of the truck, even when the fifth wheel was connected. I decided that if they got a tape measure and they made sure that it would fit without damaging the fifth wheel hitch or the rig, I didn’t mind if they bought it. The salesperson even allowed them to take it outside to check. Charlotte and I waited around inside and “tested out” all the camp chairs. Finally, the boys returned, beaming.

“It’ll fit! It’s fine!”

“Ok, I guess pay for it and load it up. You’re sure it won’t damage the rig or cause any issues?”

“Yep, pretty sure.” My husband looked more excited than my twelve year old son. “I always wanted one,” he confided on the way home.

I was happy for them. But, still unsure how they were going to get it to fit. They assured me over and over that it would be fine. They were so giddy talking about it, naming it, and arguing over who would drive it first that the minibike dominated the conversation the whole way home.

Well, when we got home, reality sunk in. When the truck was connected to the fifth wheel, the measurements changed and the bike was just a few inches too big. Items bought from the clearance section are not returnable. So, we were now stuck with a minibike and nowhere to put it.

We rearranged and rearranged. Bikes were taken down from the racks and put in different configurations. The bed of the truck was emptied and refilled over and over. We experimented with putting the bicycles in the kid’s bedroom and bathroom. We thought we might be on to something But, when we put their bedroom slides in, the handlebars caught in the slides, put a hole in the carpet, and nearly broke a built-in shelf. I was frustrated and completely over this impulse buy. I suggested we list it on Facebook marketplace and cut our losses. Faces fell all around me. But, we were seemingly out of options. We were worn out and frustrated and starting to get pretty snippy with one another. So, I announced that we would have to try again in the morning.

The next morning, Jason left bright and early to buy yet another bike rack and then we started bicycle tetris all over again. Eventually, we landed on a solution that I hated but there didn’t seem to be any other option.

Yep, this is a picture of my bed. MY BED!

The morning Jason went in search of another bike rack, we were supposed to be checking out of our campground by 11:AM. Well, eleven came and went and we were getting desperate. So, we laid a tarp over our bed and stacked the bikes on top.

“…you might be a redneck”

It’s ridiculous.

We have the minibike on a rack on the front of the truck, two bicycles on a rack on the rear ladder of the RV, and (on moving days) two bicycles stacked on my bed. When, we get to a new destination, the “bed bikes” are carried out and parked outside.

It’s a terrible system. We all agree that when we go home for Christmas, the first thing we’re going to do is put the minibike in storage. I’m leaning toward putting ALL the bikes in storage. They are such a pain. So, for Christmas this year, I’m getting my bed back. And, maybe when we come home permanently, we’ll buy some land and the kids can enjoy the mini bike whenever they want. Oh, and Jason too.

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