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Old 08-13-02, 07:25 AM   #1
Inkwolf
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Childhood memories

Do we all have interesting bike-related childhood memories? I would assume we do, since until you hit 16, the bike is your only means of independent transportation!

I remember before I had a bike, two neighborhood boys named Ricky and Randy tried to teach me to ride. This consisted of them sitting me on Randy's bike, running to get up speed, and letting me go, only to roll into the ditch. (They were both very nice kids, so I refuse to believe it was deliberate! ) I think I eventually got my own bike with training wheels (I remember my dad running along behind me my first time riding without them.)

My family was strapped for cash--my first bike was actually a full-sized women's bike, because it was on sale for $30 at Copps department store. I couldn't reach the pedals from the seat and had to ride standing up for years! I don't remember what finally happened to it, but I know I had that bike for a long time. My next bike was a gorgeous purple-and-chrome thing from some local guy who repaired throw-away bikes. One day as I was riding it uphill, the top tube snapped right off at the front, where it had been badly re-welded. My dad had a talk with the guy who 'repaired' the bike, and he said he never offers any guarantee on kid's bikes because kids abuse them. (And naturally, after that my dad blamed ME for the bike breaking!)

My brother had a bike with a banana seat. I remember once or twice we doubled up on it, and made the same ride to town that is now my daily commute. More often, we would take our bikes to Pulaski, a 14-mile trip. Our mother would purchase a day of peace and quiet for 75 cents: one quarter for us to buy her the newspaper, and a quarter for each of us to buy ourselves some Star Wars trading cards. That was in the days when bubble gum was still included in card packs, and I still remember the smell of that weird, brittle, rocklike stuff.

Funny how those distances we all rode as children seem too far to ride for most adults. Oh, well.

So, what do you remember?

Last edited by Inkwolf; 08-13-02 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 08-13-02, 12:48 PM   #2
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I remember when I got my first bike. My mom took me into the garage after I woke up from my nap (I guess I was 5ish), and there sat Flower Power. That's what the bike was called. I was a tomboy so I grimaced at the name of the bike, but I didn't care because now I had a bike! It had a banana seat and a little basket on the front with flowers that I carried all of my treasures in.
I remember when I learned to ride it without training wheels. My parents were having a garage sale and I had to take my bike across the street so nobody would take it. My driveway was a steep hill and for whatever reason, the training wheels had been taken off. I just cruised down the driveway and over to my neighbor's driveway and couldn't wait to get back home to tell my parents of this great accomplishment.
My next bike was in the 5th grade-a huffy 10 speed that still sits at my parents house, which I'm thinking about bringing home. The gears are busted because my friend's little brother knocked it over and bent the gear shifters when I was at their house playing. I remember riding it down Kings Hill (the steep big sledding hill) without any hands (also without a helmet ). It was so much fun though! Aren't childhood memories the best? Thanks for this thread Inkwolf.
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Old 08-13-02, 06:56 PM   #3
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My parents belonged to the school that said you had to learn to ride a bike before you got a new one. So I learned to ride on a full sized bike, without a seat. It took me 3 summers. When I finally did learn, the guy in the hardware store (no bike stores in the small town near our farm) talked my parents into a bike that I'm sure he wanted to unload, but it was a smaller frame bike and it had smaller tires, maybe 26". Mostly I rode it the 2.5 miles to our one-room country school. Of course almost everyone else had a Schwinn (circa '56 or '57) with lots of chrome, springs and lights. I took a little razzing because my bike wasn't "full-sized". Most of the trip was on crushed limestone gravel roads. If the road hadn't been graded recently the milk trucks quickly made it get "washboarded". This was a sure fire way to wipe out if you didn't watch your speed. 50 years later I still have a 1 X 1/2 inch scar on my right forearm from one of those crashes. Big trips were riding to the swimming pool in town, 7 miles away. At least that was good for impressing the town kids, actually they didn't believe us. I don't even know what happened to that bike.
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Old 08-13-02, 07:13 PM   #4
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First bike memory is something like bugging my
father that I wanted to ride a two wheeler sans
training wheels. So, my father got a 1940's columbia
gas pipe balloon tire jobby (thats descriptive huh?)
in red and cream, taped pieces of wood on the
pedals so I could get my feet on them and sent me
on my way.
Problem was, we lived on this 1/4 mile hill in Poughkeepsie
N.Y. (no not downtown) and I promptly lost control, careened
over a bump across a neighbors lawn and into his lawn
mower, (Well I can see that I've made alot of progress in
the last 40 plus years) scared the bejeebers out of everyone
(who were sure I'd amputated appendages). I got up
proclaimed "that was great" and took off again.
I guess we kinda invented downhill that summer,
man that was really flying.

Marty
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Old 08-14-02, 05:01 AM   #5
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I remember lots but a few things stick out.
1. Training wheels come off. My dad bent them up without telling me and sent me forward. I wobbled forward balancing successfully and mom & dad were cheering behind me. I rode back and dad took the training wheels off for good. The next day I got in trouble for trying to ride in the street.
2. Riding around with friend after a blizzard on snowy, icy streets. It was so cold and the daredevil kid had abused his bike so much that at one point riding, his frame cracked. The downtube cracked and buckled, causing his frame to sink and stretch, but maintained it's integrity as a bike. He looked surprised, but exclaimed, "Hey! I've got a chopper now!". Then it finally broke and he went spilling into the street crying.
3. At about 8 or 9 I wanted a "cool" bike. In my mind, something I could jump off cliffs. Dad came home with a '71 Schwinn Cotton Picker, with the disc brakes, tiny front wheel and suspension seat. This was not my idea of a "cool" bike at the time and I was unappreciative. Other kids laughed at me on it. Now, I really regret getting rid of it.
4. Riding through a gas station with another kid, he pointed in the sky and said something like, "Look - the Goodyear blimp!" and I fell for it. I was riding by the pumps and a guy was wheeling in to get gas and then WHAM.
5. My first ride on a road bike was punctuated by a grab of the front suicide lever and flipping the bike face first. I remember avoiding 10-speeds until I was nearly an adult.
6. A kid up the street had a problem and kicked my spokes in. I went home crying with my mangled bike. Dad went to the other guy's dad about it. There was a big fight and the police had to be called. The whole time my great grandmother was watching all this on the porch yelling that we were all going to Hell.
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Old 08-14-02, 06:21 AM   #6
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I can't remember learning to ride but remember my first real bike, a single speed raleigh with flat bars. I used to ride it to school and passed my cycling proficiency test on it. I most remember that bike for 2 reasons.

1) I was riding along our street and a Morris Minor pulled out. I hit the front brake, went over the bars and slid along the bonnet into the windscreen. No damage done, but as a good catholic boy, imagine the fright when looking in the windscreen to see two startled nuns. I've been terrified of penguins ever since

2) When I had outgrown this bike, I used it with friends to run down dirt tracks. it was stripped down with only a back brake and I remember coming down a hill, onto a shale track on the other side of which was a small wall with a 6 feet drop on the other side. The idea was you raced down the hill, hit the shale, grabbed the brake and side skidded to a stop.

I came down the hill, hit the shale, grabbed the brake and slammed straight into the wall( the blocks had fallen out). This was my first instance of testicle-handlebar merging, and to make matters worse I went over the wall and dragged the bike with me.

I couldn't walk right for days.

The next time I hit those parts was on my brothers bike, a Raleigh chopper, when the Sturmey Archer gear slipped as I was standing up. I caught my plums on the gearlever, got a pedal bite in the back of my leg and went down for a good dose of gravel rash.

I at the time had a chopper style bike but then graduated to a BSA Tour de France, a catalogue bike (bought 2nd hand) which was orange, with shorty guards (fenders), suicide levers and a steel cottered double ring chainset. 10 speed. I used it for touring all over when 15 - 23. It was on this that I fitted a Pletscher rack, full guards, new chainset, better wheels and new brakes and eventually transferred the stuff over to a custom built frame I still ride at the age of 41.

It was on the BSA that I used to cycle along the Clyde valley into Glasgow and then home (always with a tailwind) and I remember meeting a guy with a beautiful Flying Scot and thinking one day I would have one. Guess what? i do now.

Great idea for a thread.
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Old 08-14-02, 07:58 AM   #7
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Ahhh...the memories...

The first real bike I remember having was a bright yellow Schwinn Stingray, metallic yellow banana seat, chrome fenders...way cool...I could still kill my mother for selling it! No real riding memories of it, however...

The first riding memories are of the bike that replaced it...a Huffy 10-speed denim edition...denim seat, baby blue with rainbow stripes...the greatest bike in the world. I put a gazillion miles on it riding all over the south end of Louisville. I still remember riding the few miles to the tennis courts, playing 3 sets of tennis, then riding back, all in 100 degree temps and humidity. How come that would kill me now?

And then there was the time I got hit on Ky. Derby Day...I apparently rode right out in front of this lady...no real damage done to the bike or me...but scared the lady and me to death...

I rode that bike so much that I put serious holes in the denim seat and wore the rainbow colors off the decals...and then I got my drivers license...

...and hadn't ridden a real road bike (assuming the Huffy was one... ) until I bought my Specialized a few weeks ago...man 20 years goes by fast...I must be getting old...
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Old 08-14-02, 09:15 AM   #8
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The first bike I remember was my bright red tricycle. I used to ride backwards really fast on it. My dad eventually backed up over it with his big gold van. A couple years later he got me a used little bike...I remember lots of yellow. I used to get it going really fast then take corners so that the side of my leg was almost touching the ground. I figured out how to do that left, right, left, right...so that I was going directly forward but never upright. If that makes any sense I just now remembered that I took that bike apart! I'm not sure why...I hope it was broken! It's not as if I got anything out of it, I just took it apart! A 7 year old with a screw driver and a bike... Geeze.
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Old 08-14-02, 10:31 AM   #9
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One from age 11--my grief-psychotic recently widowed father looking for me to take out some rage on, I rode from 3rd and Fairfax to Santa Monica Pier and back to let him cool off, on my red Sears 3-speed--first time I ever covered serious ground under myh own power. Seven years later, riding on a foggy morning in Griffith Park near the merry-go-round, me and a friend are training hammering along Crystal Springs, a road along a hillside with a retaining wall at the bottom. We hear a "clop, clop, clop, clop" and see two panicked deer drop down off the hill and cross the road right in front of us--six feet closer and we'd have taken 'em out--and probably bent the **** out of my Lejeune and his Cooper! As it was, an unforgettable primal nature encounter in the big city.
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Old 08-14-02, 10:35 AM   #10
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My memories are of watching donated bikes and bike parts accumulate and building or upgrading my bikes as new and different things showed up in the donation bins.
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Old 08-14-02, 10:48 AM   #11
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After a few years of tricycling (injuries: 4 stiches in the skull after unsuccesful scaling of staircase) I learnt how to bike at the age of 5 on a girlie singlespeed with no stabilisers. The bruises on my legs would have rung alarm bells with social services.

My first close shave was a few months later, playing on a ramp at my dads office (a country manor in a small village). As I rolled down the ramp, I suddenly found a huge Vauxhaul car bearing down on me. Managed to keep my wits and stay out of harm, but the lesson was learned. THEY are out to get you.

My first real new bike at 10 was another singlespeed, a Raleigh Rodeo, 24" wheels with dynamo lighting, saddlebag, fenders etc. It was my daily transportation for a few years, and gave me freedom to go where I wanted when I wanted. I dont ever recall having a problem riding on the roads, but I did do a cycling proficiency course at school.
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Old 08-14-02, 11:16 AM   #12
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My first bike was a Kent Rampage. It was only a 20 inch, but still too big for me at the time, so mom picked me up a little 12 incher to learn on so when I fell off i'd only be falling a few inches. Once I got the hang of the smaller bike though, it was the Kent all the way, heh, that thing rocked.
I always remember that the first true day of summer was marked by my friend from down the road riding up to my house barefoot. Then the water fights and everything else began.

Ahh, memories...
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Old 08-14-02, 11:38 AM   #13
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My first cycling memory was in 1943 or 1944. I was on a little wooden seat on the back of my mother's bike. I was facing backwards and my elder sister and brother were running along behind us as we went over the bridge at Totnes, S. Devon UK. Another memory from that time is the american soldiers building slipways down to the river behind our house, in peparation for the D-day landings. With the strict food rationing they were the only source of candies, so we always greeted them with "Any gum chum?".
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Old 08-14-02, 11:40 AM   #14
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Wow... this is amazing...

The bike I learned to ride on was a used girl's Raleigh. It was a coppery-gold colour and I never loved it. It did have this ingenious locking device attached to the frame. With a turn of a key, a kind of caliper lock would snap betweent he spokes to immobilize the rear wheel.

My brother, I remember, had a very cool blue Raleigh Chopper 3-speed in [or around] 1971. It looked like this:


I loved that bike... I lusted after that bike... I was riding a girlie bike, while my brother had this awesome speed machine with three gears and that amazing gearshift.

Around 1972 -- when I was eight -- my parents bought me a gold Baycrest [Hudson Bay Company brand] bike with monkey bars and a banana seat. The seat was white with a gold panel section down the middle. It was a single-speed with a coaster brake, and the sissy bar wasn't quite as high as on my brother's bike... but I could go faster. I think it had a more aggro geometry, and more evenly-sized wheels.

It looked very much like a classic Schwinn Stingray, and I rode it into the ground for five years, eleven months out of the year [think kiddie cyclocross!].

In 1977, I got my first real road bike... a Raleigh Record that was initially too big for me, but gave me nine years of service. It was heavy, equipped with not-state-of-the-art Suntour and Simplex components and could go like the wind. I didn't think about it at the time -- this was the days before digital speedos -- but I regularly rode 60-70 km rides at pretty high speeds on it.

I really loved that bike, and took good care of it... except for one day in the summer of 1986 when I locked it outside my first apartment on Duluth street. When I went out to bring it in -- I usually brought my bike into the apartment at night -- it was gone. I was crushed. I can't express how depressed I was to lose such a faithful friend and companion.

There have been other bikes, of course, but those three were the bikes of my childhood. I'd give almost anything to have the Baycrest or the Raleigh Record back again... just to look at.
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Old 08-14-02, 01:25 PM   #15
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I remember when my parents got me a brand new tricycle. I was about 5 and I can't remember how I knew I was going to get it, but I ran down to the basement one morning, before everyone was up. And ther it was, with streamers on the handlebars. At that time, the basement was nearly empty with no furniture and a linoleum floor, and I rode around the basement on my brand new bike!

I had that bike until I got my first two wheeler and I never had training wheels! I don't know if I ever told this story, but I learned to ride a two wheeler, in one day, with no assistance from anyone. My best friend across the street had gotten a new bike and her father was teaching her to ride, holding the back of her seat and I was really envious. I should mentione that my dear old dad is a notorious miser and we had to ASK - it would never occur to him to say, "Gee, you're old enough for a two wheeler- Daddy will get you a new bike!" He was clueless about stuff like that. Anyways, I wanted to learn to ride a two wheeler and my friend was pretty okay about letting me ride her bike, so one summer day I decided I was gong to learn. I got on her bike, wobbled along, and fell. I kept getting back on and falling until, by the end of the day I was black and blue, covered in road rash- but I had learned to ride a bike, in one day. I was that determined. Needless to say, when I came home for dinner my mother hit the roof at my bloodied appearance. But my friend was pretty cool about letting me use her bike, even with all the falling I did. SHortly after that, we got a bike, second hand from a family friend. I was kind of disappointed, but I did outgrow it soon enough. THe coolest bike I got was about three years later- new, with a banana seat and high-rise handlebars. I think it was department store issue, but it was the COOLEST. My sister had one too- hers was purple, mine was gold.

Accidents: my biggest road rash was a bad scrape on my left shoulder, which left a huge scab and you can still faintly see the scar to this day. My sister fell one summer (off the purple bike) and split her chin, requiring stitches.
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Old 08-14-02, 01:47 PM   #16
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I remember skidding so much on the tires that I'd wear them down to the fiber.

Once I crashed into a parked car because I had spaced out staring at my front tire.

When I was about 12, my buddies let me ride from Rockville, Md. to Washington, DC (on the street.) I'm not sure I'd recommend it to other inexperienced 12 year-olds, but I survived and had fun.

To us, bikes were our "cars." You just couldn't get around the neighborhood quickly enough without them.

My first bike ride to school, a crossing guard ordered me off the sidewalk onto the street.

We knew bikes were fun. It's the memories of fun that lured me back to cycling. I can't picture how my life would be without cycling, now. I am grateful to my parents who encouraged me to ride my bike and to my Dad who rode his bike partway to work as a 50-something guy during the 1970's.

Ahh, the wind in your face...

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Old 08-15-02, 07:55 AM   #17
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I can remember when I first learned to ride. My family was traveling in Europe, I had just turned 5. We were in this park, in Spain I think, and they rented bikes. We all got to ride one. I was given a small bike w/training wheels. I hated it. I wanted to be like my sisters and ride a big kids bike. My Dad gave in, traded up and taught me to ride in a couple of hours. By the end of the day I was keeping up with my sisters. I felt so proud of myself that day!

When we got back stateside, my dad bought me a used klunker that was in bad shape. He repainted it for me and used different color electrical tape to customise it with bands of colors. Looking back, it was hideous, but at the time I thought it was the coolest. My best friend Cheryl, a tomboy, would make a ramp in her driveway and would spend hours jumping our bikes. I rode that bike for about 3 years. One summer, we went on vacation and the neighborhood bully stole my bike and took it all apart. I was so bummed. Fortunately, my parents bought me a new 10 speed for my next birthday.

That bike was waaaayyy too big for me, but I loved it. I rode it everywhere. I would scare my mom, because I'd be gone all day, or I'd call her from the mall (about 15 miles away) to pick me up because it got too late. I wore that bike out!

When I was in sixth grade, my best friend got into BMX racing and I had to have one. I got a Huffy Pro Concept 3. It was white with red pads and stickers. I was the coolest on that! I ended up starting to race and realized quickly that bike wouldn't last. I then got an Ashtabulah BMX. It was a HEAVY steel bike with gusset plates welded at every tube connection. It had every color of anodizing available. Yellow rims, Red cranks, blue stem. The whole works. That got me started.

From there I went through sooo many bikes. I've not been off a bike for more than a couple months since I first starte to ride.

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Old 08-15-02, 09:48 AM   #18
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I almost forgot... there was a time when everyone had these orange triangular flags on top of orange 3-story high toothpicks sticking out of their seats. I really hated those things!
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Old 08-15-02, 04:07 PM   #19
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Yeah, I had a flashback to another memory, too...I didn't get the hang of using the brakes for a long time, and I remember being yelled at for wearing out three pairs of shoes in rapid succession, with my Fred Flintstone stopping technique.
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Old 08-15-02, 06:15 PM   #20
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LOL... SCREEEEECCCHHH! (smoke coming out of heels).

I remember another story about bikes being too big. When I was 8, I attended a day camp whicvh has since closed down- actually it burned! This was some years later. At the time, I think it was on its way down the toilet with crummy facilities, s*** food at lunch and moronic, ******** counselors.

The camp had a little outdoor bike track, like a velodrome, and bikes that we could ride around. One day we went there. Some of the bikes were the ones with the banana seats and sized right for me, but the kids all grabbed those. I was stuck with a bike big enough for a 12 year old- I should also mention I was quite small for my age. I gamely got up on it but my feet didn't reach the pedals and I immediately fell over. One of the moron counselors barked at me, "you're not doing it right!" Anyone with half an eye in their head and three brain cells would have seen the bike was way too big for me, and what kid doesn't know how to ride a bike? I just gave up and spent the rest of the time watching everyone go by. I hated that place- what a toilet. Needless to say, I didn't go back after the month was up although I remember one of them trying to convince me, telling me all the great stuff they'd do, etc. They just wanted my parents money, of course, and I steadfastly refused. Actually, when I heard the camp had burned down I was glad. No one died or anything, it was at a time of year when no one was there. Hmmm....insurance money????
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Old 08-15-02, 07:27 PM   #21
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I remember my late Dad, I was seating outside the house I was about 15 years old and I saw my dad with road bike he was just walking beside the bike, and I Knew that the bike belongs to me,boy you could just imagine the looks on my face, when He handed to me the red colored bike, I was static...
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Old 08-17-02, 03:27 PM   #22
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memories..... my friend and i would race down the block seeing which one could go the longest with his eyes closed. well, i plowed right into the back of a parked car..... bent the stem, and had my brother give me lifts around for a while (he had a banana seated schwinn) ---> well, one day soon after he had to go to the doctor....he got a hernia!!!

i remember going to Englishtown, NJ which is the best outdoor flea market around (probably still is)....my dad bought me a bike there, my first 10 speed. I still remember the decals said the brand was Delromi....i cleaned it up and pretended that it was my italian racing bike. i'd tell people i had a Delromi, like they were supposed to know what that meant. i put a comfort seat on it just a few years ago and he rides it.....

i remember the orange triangular thingies....

i remember learning how to ride without training wheels in a park in brooklyn. i fell into some bushes with thorns....

i remember when i became too heavy for a big wheel and pouted for a day till i got my new bike...

and of course riding for whacky stickers and baseball cards.

i remember locking up my bike at the school with a very thin chain and a combination lock.
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Old 08-17-02, 04:40 PM   #23
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I was in the third grade and Richard Popejoy (where are you Richard?) was also. I was riding away from him as he chased me on his bike with a dead fish. He hammered and caught up to me and threw the fish at me which hit me in the face. Richard liked me
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Old 08-17-02, 06:01 PM   #24
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My first bike was one my folks picked up at goodwill it was an old 48 schwinn my dad took that thing apart painted it and put it all back together, finally finishing it in the wee hours of christmas of 1965 It was a big bike fat tires, fat tubing and it was heavy. I hated it I wanted a Schwinn sting ray. It took me a long time to figure out the brake thing (no levers you jsut pedaled backwards to make it stop. I would just use my foot to stop it. My mom could not figure out why the soles of my shoes wore out so fast. I had that beast for a long time finally trading it in for a JC Penney's 5 speen when I was in Jr Hi. I had many adventures on that bike and never really apprieciated it. Of cours the boys down in Yosemite would of given there right arm to ride that thing off road it was in-destructable
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Old 08-17-02, 06:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bikes-N-Drums
I almost forgot... there was a time when everyone had these orange triangular flags on top of orange 3-story high toothpicks sticking out of their seats. I really hated those things!
Hey I always wanted one of those A couple of years ago returning from lunch at work I went to put something in my bike and my crew had taken an old orange warning flag attached it to a mop handle and fastened to my bike. On the handle bar the had taken the bell off the receptionist desk (one of those you find on counters to ring when no one is there) and attached it. Then made a cardboard license plate that said "I am special cause my mommie said so" I did get even though



Oh yeah, Thanks inkwolf this is a great thread
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