J.C. Higgins -- my first bike
Circa 1948, my dad bought me a brand new J.C. Higgins cruiser, when I was about 9 years old. It had front coil suspension and a tank with a horn in it. And whitewall tires. It had lights built into the front and rear fenders. We didn't have a car in those days, so my dad and I walked all the way to the local Sears store to get it one night. Then I rode it home, and my poor old man had to walk back too. I still vividly remember that night. I lived on that bike for about seven years, until I got my drivers license. Rode it to school every day. In those days, my school had a huge bike shed out back, and on any given day there must have been 500 bikes there, none of them locked. I lived in New Jersey, about 20 miles from New York City. One weekend, a buddy and I decided we were going to ride our bikes to New York City. So we did. Getting to the Lincoln tunnel, we managed to hitch a ride through the tunnel with a guy who had a truck. We had a ball in NYC, dodging taxi cabs, eating street vendor hot dogs, ogling the hookers on Times Square and taking in all the sights. This was the first time I had seen the big city. We stayed a little too long, and didn't get back home til midnight. My parents were worried sick, and my dad took the J.C. Higgins away from me for a while. When I got to college, I bought a great road bike used, from some guy who rode it all over Europe, I can't remember the name of it. I do remember it had plastic fenders. After four years of college, I sold it to the local Episcopal minister. It was a real thorobred, but I didn't really appreciate what I had. I don't remember what ever happened to the J.C. Higgins, but I wish I had it now!