Thursday, January 23, 2014

two wheeled memories


I was ten years old and really wanted my own bike.  I didn't just want any bike.  I wanted one of those new cool looking bikes with high handlebars and a banana seat.  I didn't get a new bike for my birthday.  Dad bought an old bike from a buy and sell show that would come on every Saturday on a local radio station.  It was a worn and rusty bike some guy had under the eave of his house with some other worn and rusty old bikes.  Dad seemed to be very pleased with the bargain, but I was beginning to think I was getting the short end of the deal.  The rusty old bargain was loaded into the back of our Ford Fairlane station wagon and brought home.

Dad got Brook to help me sand the rust off that Saturday afternoon.  Afterward, a coat of silver paint was sprayed onto it.  It was starting to look alright.  Dad picked up some nice fat-knobby tires and a new chain from the Otasco at the Agricola Shopping Center.  Otasco didn't carry those new fangled high handlebars or banana seats.  No one carried them in town.

Dad asked around and found out he could order the items through J.C. Penney on Broad Street.  The order pick-up department was at the back of the store and there was parking lot and entrance in the back which made it quicker to access.  I had to wait about two weeks for my high handlebar and banana seat.  To me, it felt like an eternity.

I remember the day they came and opening the boxes.  Wow!  I started getting excited about the old bargain bike.  I had to wait till the following weekend until Dad and Brook could put on all the new parts.  When I say dad - I mean that dad oversaw Brook.  He was good at giving instructions from the sideline.

My bike never looked brand new, but that didn't matter to me.  My bike was unique and it was MY bike.
It wasn't a pretty bike, but it was durable and custom made for me.  I rode that bike all over the mountain.  I rode it on roads and off, up and down steep hills, shortcuts through people's yards, through bumpy trails in woods.  I road my bike throughout the rest of my childhood, through every season of each passing year.  I rode it until it could carry me no long.  It served me well.
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