Sick Day Part II: My first bike

On day two of being sick, whatever I have has decided to manifest in a headache that makes it super painful to look at computer screens. I hope to get Seattle Bike Blog back up to full steam tomorrow.

But for now, enjoy this photo of me on my first bike (posted to Flickr recently by my mother). The rear tire still has tread, so this must be right after I got it. For the first couple years of riding, I thought the whole point of a bike was to see how long of a skidmark you could leave at the bottom of the hill. It was rare that I had a rear tire that wasn’t threadbare.

Riding a bike was just for fun, though. I would get a ride to and from school in the neighborhood carpool. Then, the second I got home, I would hop on my bike and go back to school to play on the playground. I even walked to school a bunch of times. Why didn’t I just bike to school? I don’t think it ever occurred to me that it was an option.

What memories do you have of your first bike?

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7 Responses to Sick Day Part II: My first bike

  1. Eli says:

    Hey Tom! Hope you feel better & thanks again so much for everything you do. You really are our master community builder for biking in Seattle.

  2. Gary says:

    My second bike was the one I remember. The first bike was a family “training” bike that had a top tube that was removable to make it into a “girls bike.” So I’ll tell you about the second bike instead since I had everything to do with it and nothing to do with that first bike.

    First, to get my own bike I had to prove to my parents that I could in fact ride a full sized bike, which I did by borrowing the neighbors bike and demonstrating it by riding across the lawns, including the lawn of the house between us and the kid’s whose bike it was.

    Second I had to pay 1/2 of the cost. My parents believed that owning a bike was a big deal and I had to have some skin in the deal or I wouldn’t take care of it. So I saved the birthday money from my Grandmother for two years ($25 total) so that I’d have it to spend when I got big enough. So even though I didn’t earn the cash, it did require advance planning on my part to not spend every dollar that came my way.

    Third, my parents were convinced that “Sting ray’s” were a fad and that you needed a “real” bicycle so you could actually ride it some distance. They thought that the small wheels, and banana seat would preclude this. So even though the cool kids on my block had sting rays, it was not available as an option. ( These things happen when you are only into the bike 50% instead of 100%)

    So we went to the local schwinn bike store, (was there any other place to buy a bike? Heck if I knew) The store was full of bikes, and it was somehow decided that a 3-speed was too fragile for a kid and probably too expensive as well, and the choice that fit me was a Black Schwinn Typhoon! Which I thought was the coolest bike ever until my brother two years later got a schwin which had a horn! (in a metal box that hung under the top tube.) Of course neither of these bikes were as cool as my Dad’s Ranger (built in ’36) his had a real leather seat about the size of a Harley Motorcycle, a front suspension with a dual fork, a horn (non working) and a light on the fender (also non working).

    I rode my bike everywhere. School was only a 1/2 mile away but I rode regularly. even though walking was nearly as fast. I had a “bike” lock which was keyed and was a precursor of a “U” lock. It was basically a really long shackle and you locked one tube of the frame to the rack. Since wheels were bolted on, and I didn’t live in a high crime area, nothing was ever stolen off it. I also took longer trips on it as I got older, the local YMCA pool that we used in the summer, and bit farther to the local park which I fished in, and eventually to the next little town over, up and over past rolling farm fields. And thing was the kids with those sting rays while not as fast, came with us group of friends and we “faster” kids just waited whenever they fell behind. And secretly I always wanted a sting ray even though in a race around the block I could beat them every time.

    We also had new housing being built around us and when they dug the basement they would mound up the dirt and we would ride over and in between on our “mountain” “go anywhere” bikes. I think we also built “jumps” that were a piece of lumber on a cinderblock and we’d ride as fast as we could and “fly” off them. Must have been a whole 6″.

    Anyway that bike was eventually relegated to the garage when I bought my first 10 speed, and then I think sold at a garage sale but it still has a place in my heart for being the first big purchase I ever made.

  3. Kevin says:

    I rode to McKnight Middle School all three years on my metallic sky blue Schwinn 3-speed. I actually had my heart set on one of those super cool Sting Rays, but once the brand new 3-speed was sitting there in front of me, with the speedometer and electric horn, that became my bike. On days I had band, I was somehow able to hang my instrument case (b-flat cornet) on my handlebars along with my book bag. Of course this was also the bike I used on my paper route. At 4:30 in the morning, riding was very special, because I had the streets all to myself. I think the model was “Speedster,” but I’m not positive. Wish I still had it…

  4. Joe says:

    My first bike was a blue/gold “KMX” (BMX knockoff). My dad was anti-training wheels (for which I am very appreciative), and we lived on a hill so the first thing I learned was how to bail out onto the grass parking strip.

  5. LMB says:

    I don’t really remember my first bike too well – I think I outgrew it pretty quickly. My 2nd bike was a clunker that we bought from the classifieds and it was worthless. But my 3rd bike – oh, what a deal my mom struck with me to get it! I was in 3rd grade and on the swim team and they needed someone to swim the freestyle portion of the IM medley. I had already swum my events and wanted to go home. She pushed me to do it with the world’s largest carrot hanging from the end of the stick in front of me – she’d finally buy me the Schwinn Ms. Enduro that I had asked for for Christmas (and didn’t get). Man, I swam that race and we sped on the bus over to the Schwinn store right after the race. Loved that bike!!!

  6. merlin says:

    My first bike was a dark red, rusty, very heavy folding bike (very challenging to fold and unfold thanks to the rust!) that had once been a paratrooper’s bike. It took me forever to learn to ride it – I think some critical component was badly bent – and I never was as fast as my little brother. Nevertheless, we did ride all over Edmonds together. I rode a succession of beat-up single-speed bikes through my teens and twenties (having spent a year in Europe as a teen, I never caught the car addiction so common in the US!). But my most memorable bike was my first 10-speed – a beat-up old Raleigh. I thought there must be a motor hidden somewhere on that bike, it went so fast!

  7. Black and white?! You’re not THAT old, Tom!

    Hope you feel better!

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