Miscellaneous Rumbles

My First Bicycle

26

My earliest memory of riding was Dad taking off the training wheels and me riding up and down the driveway. It was the summer after Kindergarten. We moved to Fairfield Iowa shortly after that and I got a new bike, pretty sure it was a Raleigh, to me it looked like a smaller grown ups bike. I would ride up to the Carnegie library in town, then a little further to town limits, eventually to the old dirt farm roads. These were my private adventures, I never told anyone about them, until the crash. One day I found a rare downhill, a gravel road running down into a ravine. I pedaled down it, relishing the free speed.. Until I hit deep gravel at the bottom. I went over the handlebars, tumbling across the gravel into the ditch. I got a sprained ankle and was pretty scratched up. It was a long, painful walk home.

Not long after, the obnoxious kid around the corner, Stewart, got a Mattel Stallion. All the sudden my bike seemed plain, even ordinary. I stopped riding for a short time after that.

I eventually got a stingray clone, riding it until I got my first ten speed. It lasted until 7th grade, where it was one of a dozen bikes that ended up on the bottom of Hopkins Pond in Haddonfield, NJ. There was a little group of bullies and shitbirds, who stole bikes and drowned them after a joy ride. No kid got compensated that I heard of.

We moved to rural Maryland, where it was all dirt bikes and cars. I didn’t get another bike until I got to Arkansas, where I got a Trek 4100 mountain bike. Lots of fun on the trails here, and my son Dylan and I had a great time riding the switchbacks and suffering on the climbs. I slacked off when he lost interest and rode infrequently until 2016.

I’m riding again now, I have a road bike and a gravel grinder, but the mountain bike is gone - no more technical stuff for me. I did RAGBRAI in 2017 and had hoped to do it this year, but you know. Northwest Arkansas is a great place to ride, we have a 40 mile greenway (and growing), lots of gravel and single track.

It still makes me feel like a kid.

27

Never really thought of my first bike as "mine" In the early 50s we lived on a government island in Southeast Alaska, Japonski Island, commonly called Mt. Edgecumbe. During the war it was outfitted with an underground hospital, fully stocked bomb shelter and warehouses of everything under the sun. A tire warehouse, types of rolling stock warehouses and a BICYCLE warehouse. When we kids wanted a bike, we (not supposed to) put one together and rode them. All the same OD Green. We didn't ride much, the island wasn't very big. I vaguely remember most of my time there, just government employees and the kids that came every year to go to school, in the summer they went back to their villages. We could not attend that school, I had to take a shoreboat ride to Sitka for school. No bike on that side.

28

These are great stories. Moreplease.

29

Proteus, re better treaded tires and rolling resistance, you can probably find what you're looking for : gravel tires with treaded sides and smoother central rolling strip, like this :

30

This thread's brought back some memories. I remember spending a lot of time fixing my bike. A paper route took it's toll on a bike. I got pretty adept at popping a flat tire off, putting a hot patch on the tube, maybe a boot in the tire and getting it back on the road. There was an old man in our neighborhood who had a bike repair shop in a small barn full of parts. He had great prices, and great advice on how to fix things.

We'd ride a couple of miles to the local regional airport, which was quite large. Get a coke, and play pinball for awhile. You could stand out on the observation deck and actually see and hear the planes at the gates and feel the blast and breeze off of the radial engines. There were no ramps then, just a truck mounted stairway that'd meet the planes. The bowling alley was another mile farther.

We had a couple of service stations nearby where they actually worked on cars, not like the gas n go setups we have now. Real mechanics that could fix cars and trucks. I remember buying oil in glass jugs. Had to know where to get air to pump them tires back up. Hated doing it the hard way.

Lots of fun with bikes, but once I got a dirt bike, and then a car, I never looked back. You can't really ride a bike in the snow, or haul amps and guitars---or girlfriends.

31

You can't really ride a bike in the snow, or haul amps and guitars---or girlfriends.

Wellll...I do sometimes ride in at least light snow (probably not wisely)...and from the perspective of age, it’s possible to see those other deficiencies as benefits. As is usually the case, there’s something freeing in limitations.


Thomas, thanks for the reminder. I’ve heard of those tires; the guy at the local bike shop mentioned them. I told him to get me some. Pretty sure he’s forgotten. I need to remind him...or look online.

32

There’s a lot of talk these days about larger tyres and rolling resistance, it seems the old thinking that they were less efficient has been debunked somewhat.

The larger air volume in the tyre gives you a smoother ride, softening out road chatter, especially if you run a slightly lower pressure, while giving you more purchase on the road. When I was racing, I used 25c tyres with 80psi in them, nowadays most people seem to run 28c or more if they have the clearance.

33

Some really great bikes throughout the 1960s and 70s. Stingrays, and Fastbacks. No knobby muscular motocross bikes yet, just sleek rails and skinny tires.
They took on some style and flare, for sure. Extended 'chopper' forks in the front, banana seats, high bars on the seat back for attaching reflectors or tiny license plates (locally known as 'sissy bars' as they assumed to save your hide if you pulled a wheelie too far back).

I don't recall the make of my first, likely a hand-me-down from one of my 2 older sisters. I know it was red with white markings, with no coasting ability. I remember the training wheels coming off though and being able to ride it on 2.
The bike I remember most was the one I won in an Easter coloring contest, sponsored by our local newspaper. I was around age 12 and already artistically inclined, so I had fun rendering an Easter themed line drawing and submitted it. I won first prize; a nice bike, from our local Zayre store (remember them?).

The peak years for biking came when my family moved to a more rural area in the early 70s. The subdivision was situated around some fallow pastures and wooded acreage. I found that the local kids and teens had carved out some great biking paths over the previous years, and it made for wild endless recreation. It was still an era when you could take off with your bike at 10 am and be home for supper, hungry, sweaty and exhausted from a full day of exploring with your friends.

Specifically, I recall a kid named Steve Etienne, who had a LOT of siblings. Big family (I had a crush on his older sister). One of Steve's great skills was being able to hold a wheelie while riding around the block. At first we didn't believe, we thought he was pulling our leg. But we stationed a couple of other kids around the block, keeping him within eye-shot, to confirm that he never cheated and dropped his front wheel.
Sure enough; Steve had mad skills. Probably could have easily mastered a unicycle, if he wanted.

34

This is my favourite thread of the year and I'm only half way through. (Late here and super HOT.)

Look forward to reading more in the morn.

Reminds me of a Richard Brautigan novel. So The Wind Won't Blow it All Away - Dust American Dust

Thank you!

36

i haven't ridden a trail in years, but still keep tires on with fairly aggressive tread (WTB Velociraptors) for additional traction in case i have to switch from pavement to gravel or red dirt, and in case i ever start using my copy of Mountain Biking In Virginia.

37

I was much more a skateboard kid than a bike kid. My adult bike though, is a keeper.

39

rather than a bell, i have a squeaky dinosaur toy on my bars...i found that it got people's attention better because they tune out bells but the squeaky toy is out of the ordinary. sometimes accompanied with a verbal "beep beep."

40

My first couple of bikes were non-descript kids bikes, the usual fodder. But my first real bike was a Norwegian DBS five speed, with short straight pipe handlebars. We were Army brats, and dad was stationed at Ft Lewis Washington for about eight years. We move there at the start of my third grade and moved at the beginning of the my freshman year (10th grade). We lived on Nixon Ave in Lakewood (a suburb of Tacoma). I was in the 7th grade, and I got my first paper route and needed a bike capable of hauling paper bags. One cloth bag slung across the handlebars and one on the rear rat trap book carrier.

It was 1974, and the bike cost the princely sum of $75. My dad bought it for me at a local bike shop, and he made a ledger for me to pay him back $10/month. The paper route only netted me about $30/month and boy was I happy when the bike was finally paid off!

EDIT :

Like all of us Boomer kids, our bikes were our main transportation, we rode them everywhere. I was an avid fishman, and I remember countless times of riding to our favorite fishing holes. The greatest adventure of all was riding our bikes down to the Steilacoom ferry, on the Puget Sound, and buying a .25cent bicycle ticket to ride the ferry to Anderson Island! There is a beautiful lake on Anderson Island that is stocked with rainbow trout. We would go swimming and fishing, then clean, skewer, and cook the fish we caught over a small camp fire on the shore. Fish cooked straight out of the water is amazing. Add to that the high adventure of getting to the lake by ferry, and you had the perfect day!

41

My earliest memory of riding was Dad taking off the training wheels and me riding up and down the driveway. It was the summer after Kindergarten. We moved to Fairfield Iowa shortly after that and I got a new bike, pretty sure it was a Raleigh, to me it looked like a smaller grown ups bike. I would ride up to the Carnegie library in town, then a little further to town limits, eventually to the old dirt farm roads. These were my private adventures, I never told anyone about them, until the crash. One day I found a rare downhill, a gravel road running down into a ravine. I pedaled down it, relishing the free speed.. Until I hit deep gravel at the bottom. I went over the handlebars, tumbling across the gravel into the ditch. I got a sprained ankle and was pretty scratched up. It was a long, painful walk home.

Not long after, the obnoxious kid around the corner, Stewart, got a Mattel Stallion. All the sudden my bike seemed plain, even ordinary. I stopped riding for a short time after that.

I eventually got a stingray clone, riding it until I got my first ten speed. It lasted until 7th grade, where it was one of a dozen bikes that ended up on the bottom of Hopkins Pond in Haddonfield, NJ. There was a little group of bullies and shitbirds, who stole bikes and drowned them after a joy ride. No kid got compensated that I heard of.

We moved to rural Maryland, where it was all dirt bikes and cars. I didn’t get another bike until I got to Arkansas, where I got a Trek 4100 mountain bike. Lots of fun on the trails here, and my son Dylan and I had a great time riding the switchbacks and suffering on the climbs. I slacked off when he lost interest and rode infrequently until 2016.

I’m riding again now, I have a road bike and a gravel grinder, but the mountain bike is gone - no more technical stuff for me. I did RAGBRAI in 2017 and had hoped to do it this year, but you know. Northwest Arkansas is a great place to ride, we have a 40 mile greenway (and growing), lots of gravel and single track.

It still makes me feel like a kid.

– fieldhdj

This year was going to be my first RAGBRAI. I WILL be there next year though.

42

I was much more a skateboard kid than a bike kid. My adult bike though, is a keeper.

– Bonedaddy

I built his one, as well as the motor and tranny. Diablo Run 2007

43

This year was going to be my first RAGBRAI. I WILL be there next year though. - LA_Manny

If the cycling gods smile on me, I’ll be there. I’ll probably be using Bubbas Pampered Pedalers as my sherpa.

44

My first bicycle was a 16 inch something-or-other with training wheels. I don't know what kind it was cuz I couldn't read yet. I did ride it to school in kindergarten in 1949 and on into 1st grade until the snow fell, after the trainers were removed.

My 2nd bike was a 24 in. Rollfast that I rattle-can spray painted a custom flat black.

My 3rd was a 26 in. JC Higgins that weighed 20 lbs. less than my first motorcycle, a new '69 Triumph 650 TR6R.

My 2nd motorcycle was a '71 AMF Harley full dresser. It didn't go well and was replaced by a '74 Triumph Trident which I still own and still runs!

In '80 I bought a new Bicycle, a Nishiki Comp 10 speed. I started riding it to work since they were building a Gym with showers. Some friends at U 0f M in Ann Arbor Mi. invited me to ride with them to Hell and back in an annual Century ride, but get there early so we could get to Hell before it opened! That was a 150 mi. day before it was all over!

The bike weighed 23 lbs. when I bought it, but after loading it up with all the stuff I needed to take fresh clothes to work and stay safe in the dark in the snow and rain of Michigan winters, the bike topped out at just over 52 lbs. and was accused by others as looking like a circus going down the road!

I kept a log on all the rides and ended up putting slightly over 15,000 miles on it when my Son and his friends borrowed it to replace a broken Datsun 280Z. .....don't ask.

45

I built his one, as well as the motor and tranny. Diablo Run 2007

– LA_Manny

Nice! I've always wanted a springer front end but haven't run across the right one yet.

46

My first 2 wheeler was Raleigh Chipper ,which was a smaller version of the Chopper,can't recall what age i was but it was late 70's ,it got stolen ,so a while later dad bought me a used Chopper,which was a lot heavier!

Raleigh Chipper.

Raleigh Chopper.

Next was a Raleigh Burner BMX,1980 or there abouts.

I traded that for a used 16 speed Racing bike which i can't recall the name of.I don't recall what happened to that one,i suspect it got given away or something.

47

from the Chipper to the Chopper...sounds like the plot line of a sequel to Fargo.


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