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Wouldn't get caught Dead on a Bike in High School..Mary Tyler Moore, Hotel California

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Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Wouldn't get caught Dead on a Bike in High School..Mary Tyler Moore, Hotel California

Old 12-24-20, 01:29 PM
  #26  
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Class of 1971. Rode to Jr High but took the bus to High school. Didn't ride bicycles again until the early 80s when I wanted to get in shape for motorcycling in the desert.

One of the few white boys in Jr High I was bullied, robbed, and punched relentlessly. Never had that problem in high school as guys just didn't do it as much. Plus, I wrestled heavyweight and got up close to 240# with 2 hours of weights 5 days a week. Hated school, all of it, and couldn't wait to get out. Got extra credits and graduated @ 16. Went to work full time until 2019.

Fleetwood Mac? Yes to the early stuff. Eagles? Never. Music of my youth included Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Blind Faith, Traffic, Led Zeppelin, Stones, Beatles and lots of Frank Zappa. At high school a friend introduced me to jazz.
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Old 12-24-20, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
Back in the late 70's , early 80's, as many of you remember, Bikes were still attached to your memory as something you rode in Junior High to deliver newspapers.
The late 70's and early 80's were a funny time. Mary Tyler Moore, which I watched with Dad and Mom every Saturday night, came to an end and my happy childhood was over. So was my paper route and my bike lay idle and we gave it to a neighbor.
A lot of things were suddenly strangely not Cool when we were in High School at that time . Being seen with your parents was one . Taking the bus to school was really shameful. Being a good student was not respected.
Riding a bike? That meant you were immature and attached to your junior high days. Do any of you even remember a Bike Rack at school?
My parents were immigrants and that made me an outsider.
This was what I remember the cool kids were do ing. Listening to Hotel California. Fleetwood Mac. They all had access to a car and a Trans Am or Camaro from the 60's was the prize. Being underage and having a beer. Blue Jean's , being a jock.
Bikes? You might as well have been talking slide rule, flood pants, mom cut your hair, taking the Bus to school, all of which were part of my life.
I sprouted 60 pounds of muscles suddenly and made the football team. Their was some humour pile driving a once former terrifying bully onto his back over and over until he hid from me in drills. The same terror I had of him was in his eyes now. Didn't do much good, once an outsider, always an outsider, I deserved a starting slot and never got one. Never got close to the cool crowd.
Anyway back to the theme. In 1980, never dreamed riding a Bike daily would be an obsession, did you?
gotta say I did not. And you paint a very accurate of the times I remember as well. Made many poor decisions then based on the influence of others
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Old 12-24-20, 03:29 PM
  #28  
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I went to a boarding school where cars were not allowed. Class of 1965. When I was home on vacation, I hung out with my public school friends. There was a sort of inverted social hierarchy among them. The better families realized that once a kid got a car, their grades would plummet. Those kids got by borrowing mom's or dad's car. In contrast, the working class kids were allowed to have their own cars while still in school. For my first year in college, cars were also forbidden. The overall result was that getting around with a bike or on foot was normal. Cars were often clandestine -- my girlfriend had a concealed car with her motorcycle tucked away where the back seat used to be. Another friend rebuilt an Austin-Healy 3000, largely in his dorm room. Back then, bikes were mostly English 3 speeds, which meant that they were much more practical for utility transportation than the pants-shredding "10 speeds" of the early 1970s bike boom. In graduate school, I was allowed to openly have a car, but there was no suitable student parking. That put me into my lifetime pattern of bikes for utility and cars for fun and sport, which continues to this day.

To answer the original question, I think bikes became uncool when cars became more convenient for transportation just as bikes became less convenient. That would have been late 1970s.
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Old 12-24-20, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
Back in the late 70's , early 80's, as many of you remember, Bikes were still attached to your memory as something you rode in Junior High to deliver newspapers ... In 1980, never dreamed riding a Bike daily would be an obsession, did you?
Throughout the '70s, it was normal for kids who hadn't yet made "bank" to have bikes for getting around, commuting, heading to and from school. Most days, I'd log 15-20 miles, just doing the basics. During summers when there was a bit more free time, I'd often travel good distances, logging sometimes 40-50mi in a day and often getting well above 150mi for the week. Lived in a region where cycling was just another way of getting around, and I'm happy to say that there didn't seem to be much stigma attached to it.

Here in the U.S., in many places, it's become downright difficult to get around urban areas via anything other than a motor vehicle. Many more cars than I remember back in the '70s; more powerful cars; less-tolerant people (it seems). Back when, I lived in a place where there were several secondary routes to get from A to B, generally, and those could be much less-traveled and safer for cycling. Was great for relieving the parents of "taxi duty" and being more independent. Learned a bit about basic bike maintenance, bringing spares, having a "plan B" for when things didn't work as planned. And learned my way around town much better than had I simply been a passenger in a "door slammer" all the time.

Ah, the '70s.

Like the air quality a lot better now as compared to back then, however. The music, not so much.
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Old 12-24-20, 03:58 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by PaulH View Post
I went to a boarding school where cars were not allowed. Class of 1965. When I was home on vacation, I hung out with my public school friends. There was a sort of inverted social hierarchy among them. The better families realized that once a kid got a car, their grades would plummet. Those kids got by borrowing mom's or dad's car. In contrast, the working class kids were allowed to have their own cars while still in school. For my first year in college, cars were also forbidden. The overall result was that getting around with a bike or on foot was normal. Cars were often clandestine -- my girlfriend had a concealed car with her motorcycle tucked away where the back seat used to be. Another friend rebuilt an Austin-Healy 3000, largely in his dorm room. Back then, bikes were mostly English 3 speeds, which meant that they were much more practical for utility transportation than the pants-shredding "10 speeds" of the early 1970s bike boom. In graduate school, I was allowed to openly have a car, but there was no suitable student parking. That put me into my lifetime pattern of bikes for utility and cars for fun and sport, which continues to this day.

To answer the original question, I think bikes became uncool when cars became more convenient for transportation just as bikes became less convenient. That would have been late 1970s.
There were 7 kids in my family and we were not allowed to have cars until after graduation from high school because of the idea that grades would suffer. In my case I hated school so much and was terrified of my father's wrath I would have been an A student even if I had a car. On the other hand my motivation for those "As" was to get out of school and gain his approval for a car/license.
Bought myself a 1964 Ford Galaxie for $850.

I had an "English" 3 speed and I broke the frame at the head tube when I was jumping it to show off.
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Old 12-24-20, 04:30 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by 5 mph View Post
Back in the late 70's , early 80's, as many of you remember, Bikes were still attached to your memory as something you rode in Junior High to deliver newspapers....
I sprouted 60 pounds of muscles suddenly and made the football team. Their was some humour pile driving a once former terrifying bully onto his back over and over until he hid from me in drills. The same terror I had of him was in his eyes now. Didn't do much good, once an outsider, always an outsider, I deserved a starting slot and never got one. Never got close to the cool crowd.
Anyway back to the theme. In 1980, never dreamed riding a Bike daily would be an obsession, did you?
Accurate. I don't remember any conscious decision based on the bike not being cool, because it didn't even enter the equation. I had a poignant moment of nostalgia and regret, mixed with exhilaration putting the bicycle away and climbing on my new motorcycle at 15. I knew that it was the last time I'd be on that bike and it kind of hurt, but that's life and the motorcycle represented a new chapter.

I can also sympathize with the football story, having had that "outsider" experience in football one year in HS before we moved to a new town. I also extracted my payback from bigot bullies 30-50 pounds bigger. You wouldn't expect it from coaches, but it happens and I was never a starter in that school. A different school was a whole 'nuther story.
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Old 12-25-20, 06:50 AM
  #32  
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HS in the late '60s. Never cool. Never sprouted any muscle. Played trombone in the band and orchestra. Skinny kid. Sucked at sports. Had more respect for and fear of my parents than for any of the "cool kids" so their opinions were, mostly, irrelevant. Did not bike to school due to the hills tween there and home and a 30lbs Schwinn Varsity. But learned to be satisfied with life. Started growing in college, mentally. Accepted leadership positions just cuz someone had to. Did well. Worked as a college DJ. Did not realize that was actually cool. Fleet wood Mac, the Dead, Wishbone Ash, Rundgren, etc. Knew of bands no one else knew of for years yet. Early '70s FM. Good times. Sticking my neck out and doing well delivered cool. Electrical Engineering was never cool but I did well in a tight knit community.

Started seriously cycling again in my late 50s. Now have 11 bikes, retired and a part time LBS job. I ride a lot and am in great shape for a old fart. Glad of that too.

I've seen numerous cool kids who never did well, even never left town. In retrospect, I've been unimpressed and am glad I was never cool in high school.
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Old 12-25-20, 09:29 AM
  #33  
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I grew up on a farm close to a small town. I had to ride my bike to school until the school consolidated, and then rode the school bus. It was always the town clik against the farm kids. Us farm kids alway had to work on the farm and couldnt run loose in the summer.

What is funny is how things turned out. Most of us farm kids didnt stay on the farm, but got really good jobs. But one of my best friend did stay on the family farm and expanded it over 3000 acres. BTW that farm ground now sells for $10,000 and acre. So in the end it seem that the farm boys and girls won the brass ring.
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Old 12-25-20, 09:44 AM
  #34  
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I grew up in a one horse town where the city ordinance prohibited horses being kept in town. However the area was very rural and being a consolidated school district of at least 5 rural towns, were it not for busses, the school would be empty. I was one of the last among my friend circle to get a car, but that didn't change my love of riding a bike. If anything it opened the opportunity for me to get out of town to buy my first bike from a sporting goods store rather than one of the little stores in town. I could also put that bike on a rack and drive to a town about a half hour away to ride a path system they had alongside the river. Being cool or not being cool was not anything I seem to remember caring about. In fact high school in general holds no special memories for me. But I now live in the town where I used to ride the path alongside the river and I have a bike very much like the one I had in the early 80s. Riding that bike on that path is all I need to feel 18 again.
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Old 12-26-20, 12:22 PM
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I rode my Raleigh 3 Speed through my junior year in HS - 1964 - until I got doored and a car ran over my bike, bending the frame beyond repair. My parents wouldn’t buy me a new one since I’d be going away to college. So I stopped cycling from 1964 to 2019 when my friend coerced (kindly) me to start riding on the nearby MUP.

Prior to the dooring I not only rode everywhere, I did it carrying books, groceries and as I was in the band, my French Horn. That was the hardest physically, but the teasing was way worse. French Horn was very uncool in the 60’s. Today, the kids, at least those at St Anne’s in Brooklyn Heights, had no problems with the also ride bikes to school.

Times change
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Old 12-27-20, 06:33 AM
  #36  
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I never dreamed I’d have a fleet of the top racing bikes I couldn’t afford in that day. Back in the ‘70s I never thought bikes would last this long...or myself for that matter. Those days, being 30 was old.
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Old 12-27-20, 07:07 PM
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I rode a bike to school - even in Cleveland winters - most days from grade 3 through 12, graduating in 1976. I didn't have a car, nor even access to one, and I would beat the bus had I taken that... Semi-rural outer suburb, no sidewalks on many of the city streets until much later, not that I ever rode on the sidewalks... Hotel California came out later...

I bought my first car a month before heading off to college... and I rode the bike more there, only using the car to go home on the occasional weekend since the freshman parking lot was over a mile away from my dorm. Actually, I didn't ride on campus - but went on rides after classes with my dorm mates, and oftentimes solo. By spring quarter I was riding an average of 60 miles every afternoon - from Ohio State campus, heading west past Upper Arlington, across the Scioto River (nothing out there in those days), then farther west or north to Plain City and on to Marysville, south to London and back to campus. After dinner, I'd sometimes go back out again with my roommate for another 20-25 miles. Lots of open flat farm country out west of Columbus!!! Occasionally, I'd head north to the reservoirs, Columbus Zoo, and up to Delaware... Our Ohio State Cycling Club started a ride called TGRR (The Great Reservoir Ride), a Century that hit most of the reservoirs up there, as a warm-up century a couple of weeks before the double-century of TOSRV (105 miles each of the two days of Mother's Day weekend). By then riding 500 miles a week was normal!!

I was lucky in that two of my dorm roommates were cyclists. We kept our bikes broken down and under our bunk beds (against the rules to have the bikes in the dorm rooms).. Several of the other guys in my upper-classmen Engineering dorm (Houck House was four to a room, and all male back then) were riders as well.. Oh, I was double lucky in that none were 'heads' or 'stoners', and we all shared musical tastes. Seals & Croft, America, Chicago, James Taylor, Al Stewart, Chuck Mangione, Fleetwood Mac...
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Old 12-27-20, 11:03 PM
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I could write my entire story by cut and pasting your stories, but here goes:

Graduated HS in ‘73. Was never a jock, but a skinny outsider that tried hard in sports but never really had any true talent. That didn’t keep me from trying. Ran track, soccer, ski and tennis teams, but was pretty mediocre. Was a bandtard and played the clarinet if that tells you anything. Pretty much a loner other than one good friend who had a Masi and Bob Jackson, but never understood his passion for bikes.

Rode a green 30 lb Schwinn Continental until it was stolen in my junior year and insurance paid for a step down brown Schwinn Varsity. Both were hefty hunks of indestructibility. Didn’t own a car, too poor, so rode the bikes to school and every where else.

Got a car at graduation due due to a settlement and took my bike to college and road the Varsity to classes at U.C. Davis. Classes were so spread out that bikes were necessary unless you were a sprinter. After Davis, took the bike to grad school and road it another 6 years, and 3 more years after that. Didn’t consider the bike a workout, but transportation. Running was my workout.

Music was Fleetwood Mac, Moody Blues, Bob Dylan, The Doors, The Band, the infamous Peter Frampton prior to his Frampton Comes Alive album and a slew of others since music was my constant companion since friends were few.

My how my life has changed since those days.
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Old 12-28-20, 12:21 PM
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I too must be from the same era as OP! The big difference is I had little to no interest in bicycles after public school and barely remember the last one I rode to school occasionally. Dirt bikes and cars were all consuming and many many years went by before acquiring a town type bike in the mid eighties. In the early 90s MTBs were the rage and I moved near a rail trail so my wife and I purchased some shiny new Free Spirits which carried us into the 2000s and were great bikes to carry on our RV. Post retirement I became involved in restoration and rebuilding bikes and the whole world of cycling opened up! I now have around 20 bikes from a modern Ebike to a 60 yr old 3speed. Still have my longtime TR7 though.

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Old 12-28-20, 03:48 PM
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In 72 I was in 10th grade and took a class in cycling and mechanics. Haven't missed a season since. I stopped riding to school in the winter because I got a racing bike with tubular tires that were too narrow for winter riding in upstate NY icy roads where the snow didn't melt until April or May, and I was too proud to be seen on my old crap 10-speed. During the better weather my bike was locked in the office of the physics teacher who taught the aforementioned class. I always loved to drive (learned on a 4-speed manual Fiat, thanks, Mom!) but there was never any conflict between modes of transit. Driving was a way to get to cool paces to ride, to school and work, and to Grateful Dead shows. Riding was...riding. Never thought I was cool then and care even less now. But my 20-something kids seem to think I'm cool enough, and I'll take their word for it
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Old 12-28-20, 06:12 PM
  #41  
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Over 4,000 kids in my high school. The peak of the baby boomers. And the peak of the bike boom. End if the hippy era. A lot of skinny long haired kids, some who rode bikes. I hit my peak of riding in high school. Entered a local bike race when I was 15. Followed that with the first ever Boul Mich bike rally in downtown Chicago. $15,000 in prizes, sponsored qby Raleigh. It was huge, all the top riders from around the country. I was hooked. Joined a club, subscribed to Bicycling, Bike World and recieved Cyclenews/Velonews, and Midwest Bicycle Review thru my ABLA racing license. Raced thruout high school and a couple years beyond.

I was definitly odd with my bike shoes and shorts. Riding everyday after school. But traveling around racing on the weekends was a blast.

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Old 12-28-20, 06:48 PM
  #42  
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I always loved riding bikes and rode to High School just because I liked it. And I was scared to death of peer pressure. But I was a nerd pretty much, so if I did meet with some distain over my Bright Orange Schwinn Varsity, so what. I thought it was cooler than my white Rambler Ambassador!
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Old 12-29-20, 02:47 PM
  #43  
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I don't think I ever rode my bike to school. There was a lot of bike theft and it was an easy walk. But I kept cycling for fun, with a couple of friends, even after we got our licenses. After graduation, two of us cycled around Lake Michigan from our homes in Chicago for a 1000 mile tour. My Schwinn Continental was the better bike.

Cycling was good cross training in sports. I wasn't a jock but had fun on the field and enjoyed being in shape.

The Oil Embargo of 1973 played a role in staying on the bike. I swore I'd never wait in line for gas, so I conserved what was in the tank and in my wallet and cycled as much as I could. I started community college as gas prices exceeded $1 and that was far enough to get a good ride in every day. Gas would have been over a dollar a day, at a time I was earning $2/hr. I saved gas for dates. Then I married a dedicated cyclist.
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Old 12-29-20, 04:29 PM
  #44  
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There was 4 of us that pacelined to High School in my Jr and Sr years (73-75). That last mile was an all out sprint. That’s the time of life that the roadie cycling bug bit hard and I have looked at life behind bars since!
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Old 12-29-20, 07:37 PM
  #45  
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Since we all seem to be of the same era, here is a car of that time. It’s a ‘71 conversion to a 6 cylinder.

How fast can I go? About 130 on the track.



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Old 12-29-20, 08:04 PM
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OK, we're gonna do cars now? My first car (mentioned, but not named above) was a '72 Cougar - base model. Bright red, white vinyl top, white interior (no pics of that one that I can find... Only four years old but already rusted out due to poor steel used in those years and living in the Rustbelt of Cleveland... A couple of years later, due to the nostalgic feelings of my first car, I bought several more Cougars... I STILL have my two 'Q-code' (351C-4barrel) '73 Cougars... and a bunch of other 'fun' cars... I met my wife in a dark parking lot - at a cruise-in. She (still has) her 23k-original-mile '70 Mach 1 Mustang...

My 'Alpha Cat' 'BetaCat' is the same thing in silver/pewter...


Wife's '70 Mach 1 Mustang





.
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Old 12-29-20, 09:02 PM
  #47  
rsbob 
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Very cool! Your wife has excellent taste in cars.

In high school, I used to occasionally drive my mother’s ‘67 Cougar, with her permission. That came to an abrupt end when I was cited for going 30 over. It was good fun while it lasted.

Funny thing, I pleaded my stupidity to the judge and he ordered me to traffic school. At the time I was going to a small high school and when I mentioned to a buddy I got popped and was heading to traffic school, he said he was too. And not only him, he knew two others in my class were going, so we carpooled together. What happened n that car to and from traffic school would have had us all taken to jail. Good times!
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Old 12-31-20, 02:18 AM
  #48  
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Grew up in a small community just outside of a mid-sized Midwest community. In middle school a math teacher who was loved by all of us students rode a bicycle or a motorcycle to school weather permitting. He was zany, a trend breaker, and went against the grain often. It was the 70's. Two teachers in our high school rode bikes to school, and toured during the summer. Lots of us kids rode our bikes to school, even as seniors we still rode, plus we were cool because the two teachers that rode to school were well liked and respected, so it was cool to ride a bike. For what it's worth, it still is!
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Old 01-02-21, 06:27 AM
  #49  
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I rode all through high school except for bad weather. I could get away from school faster on my bike than I could my car.
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Old 01-02-21, 06:57 AM
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Richard Cranium
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I was already pretty "warped" by the time I got to high school. I had already purchased an AMF Sturmey-Archer 3speed for $25.76 from a JC Penny catalog store. (24.99 plus tax) That was 1965.

I bought a 50 cc "motorcycle" on my 16th birthday - I was sophomore and remember taking a lot of crap for not having a "real motorcycle" . I know I never rode a bicycle around most of my high school friends.

The seventies were a decade of change every bit as much as the sixties - but much more subtle to the public eye. I think the "sixteenth year" is a bigger deal than high school for perceived social attitudes to bike riding ........

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