At the present time, I don’t own a bicycle, having a couple years ago given away the Specialized Hard Rock mountain bike I bought shortly after starting at the Democrat-Herald in 1990.
A friend’s son needed a bike, and I seldom rode mine anymore, so I signed it over. I liked the bicycle pretty well, though the seat seemed more uncomfortable than it should have been.
Now I’m thinking about getting a bike again, if I can find a good deal on a used one; I’m way too thrifty (cheap?) to purchase a new one at this point in my life.
Like most kids in the 1960s and 1970s and earlier, I rode a bicycle a lot when I was a young person growing up in an era in which parents weren’t too freaked out to, well, let their children ride their bikes everywhere. Sans helmet, of course. No one wore a helmet back then; and if you did, you might as well have just worn a sign that said “dork.”
My first bicycle, when I was around 6, was purchased with something akin to Green Stamps; they weren’t official Green Stamps, but the same sort of thing.
It wasn’t much but it was mine. That was the good news. The bad news was, the training wheels it came with were installed in such a way — unevenly — that basically what they taught me to do was to lean on one training wheel or another. They did little to teach me to get the feel for riding on two wheels.
Still, I did finally learn to ride properly, and I ended up getting a cool, orange, five-speed Scwhinn Fastback when I was about 9. The Fastback was what back then we called a sting-ray style of bike; sort of resembled a chopped-out motorcycle.
I loved that bike, though I was never as good at riding wheelies as my friends who had similar models.
A couple years later, I ended up inheriting my brother Craig’s yellow Schwinn Varsity, a 10-speed. I had that bike throughout high school and college — it survived a few spectacular crashes; maybe I should have been wearing a helmet — until it was stolen one day from my roommate Casey Russell, who had borrowed it.
Alas, not all that much later, another roommate, Chris Jarmer, gave me his blue Schwinn varsity since he was no longer using it, having purchased a Honda Ascot motorcycle. The main distinction of the blue Varsity was the Who R U license plate Chris had affixed to it; ultimately, I bequeathed Who R U to another college friend, Dave Foster.
And then I was without a bicycle for five years until buying the Hard Rock, but if I can find a decent bargain, my current state of cyclelessness, if that’s a word, will soon end.
And now today’s catch of the day, No. 25, a mid-1960s Wilson first baseman’s mitt that came to me as part of that swap with the OSU PE department last spring: