I don’t think that I could name very many people lucky enough to still OWN their first bike. To be able to walk into the garage, point a finger up to a cobwebbed storage hook and say “there she is!” That would be pretty cool. I do, however, meet plenty of people that can RECALL their first bike. I also meet many that gush about the bikes they’ve had when given the opportunity. The ones that they own, the elusive “perfect” bike, the one that was remorsefully sold. These conversations are what enrich the day to day experience of working in a bike shop. Bike people relating to bike people.
Once upon a time, when I was 8, the “cycling experience” decided that it was time to make its grand entrance into my life. Being a bit of a showoff, I can still recall sitting astride one of the neighbourhood kids bikes, PRETENDING to be riding the bike. This is key, because I really had no clue as to the subtleties of ACTUALLY riding a bike. So…. kid on bike, idiotic behavior, blue 20″ wheeled sidewalk bike assuming that it is about to be ridden…. and a small grass hill directly in front of the other three ingredients. Cut to the chase. The bike rolled and so did I. Being that I’m alive enough to type this, we can assume that everything turned out okay. What DID happen was that my dad saw me riding this little bike around all afternoon (there was no way that I was going to stop once I’d started) and went out and bought me THIS:
I owned this trusty steed until I was about 13. In the very end it didn’t get ridden much because of a flat tire that never did get repaired. The fenders were gone and the poor thing lived out the remainder of its existence rusting against a wooden fence in all sorts of weather. My parents divorced, the house was sold and I don’t know what happened to my candy apple red 1967 Supercycle roadster after that. I owe it a lifetime of thanks.
When I was in my mid teens THIS came into my life:
It also happened to leave my life quickly when I sold it to buy a new skateboard. Call it regret number one. You could also call it dumb thing number one, if you so choose. (or maybe not, since I skateboarded for a couple of decades)
At the same time that the skateboard scene was happening, so too was the BMX scene. I plunged in head first, landing my first bike shop gig. I absolutely loved THIS bike:
A 1982 Kuwahara. Made in Osaka, Japan. I ended up owning quite a few of them over the years. In fact, I accidentally left one behind in Edmonton when I moved here. It was in a box ready to be loaded. Call that regret number two. Or dumb thing number two, if you so choose. God knows, I would agree to the latter.
I owned tons of BMX bikes during that time frame. They weren’t ALL great. My most sought after bike was ironically the biggest piece of crap I ever owned. The elusive, MEGA-bucks PK Ripper:
Most kids would have sold their souls ten times over for it. It was way too stiff and rattled the teeth out of your head every time you landed. I didn’t hang on to it for long.
I’ve owned more than a few mountain bikes. I liked some more than others. Road bikes too. I even had one of THESE:
Mega fast and drew attention like crazy. It took up a LOT of room in the shed. Another local cyclist is still enjoying it, for which I’m grateful. It would be a shame to see it sitting around doing nothing when it’s capable of warp speeds.
I still own THIS:
It’s a keeper. So is THIS:
The coolest, most fun bike I’ve had thus far is THIS:
I highly recommend owning one (or two).
I have a pile of other bikes that would take too much space to talk about. Some give me the warm fuzzies. Some are forgettable. However, just like my first acoustic guitar discovered one long ago Christmas morning, my little candy apple red 1967 Supercycle will never be forgotten. I just wish that I could walk into the garage, point a finger up to a cobwebbed storage hook and say “there she is!” That would be pretty cool.