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What was your first bike?
 FooRider member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 11:31:22 AM
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I'll kick it off. After that you go without training wheels...

My first bike was a hand-me-down my dad was given by one of his cousins. It was an ugly, battered thing, well loved but bearing the scars of repair welds where the steel frame had cracked. What paint was left was dirty white and a shade of red or brown that looked like dried blood. It had wheels somewhere in the 15" range, and the tires were solid rubber. No coaster brake for this beauty. It was a fixie, and when I wanted to stop I took my feet off the pedals and stomped hard on the curved bar that pressed another piece of flattened steel bar against the rear tire.

I started out with training wheels, but they kept coming loose unexpectedly and dumping me in a heap. It was after one of these mishaps that Dad decided it was time for me to ditch the training wheels. I was resistant to change, even then, but Dad had made up his mind and before the end of the afternoon, I'd managed to ride far enough on my own to run off the pavement in front of our house and land in a heap in the ditch.

By then, I was hooked and there was no stopping me, merthiolate be hanged.

Soon after, we moved to our new neighborhood. It was a development under construction, it was northeast Ohio, it was the '60s, and we dreamed of chip seal. My crappy little solid rubber wheels didn't roll in the gravel worth a flip, so Mom & Dad got me my first store-bought bike: a battered Schwinn with about seventeen coats of paint, several of which could still be seen peeping out from beneath the most recent, which was fire engine red and apparently administered from a rattle can. It was a girl's model, probably made in the '50s, and still bore several layers of paper license tags stuck to a rear fender that had approximately the diameter and aesthetic appeal of a stovepipe.

What it did have was a coaster brake and big, fat, air-filled tires that would put some of our modern mountain bike rubber to shame. Gravel was no longer a big deal, and I quickly learned how to lock up the coaster brake and leave nifty J-shaped black marks all over the concrete driveways of the neighborhood. The other kids ragged me mercilessly about that bike, and I desperately wished for one of the cool new five-speed chopper bikes like they had.

I was in first grade when Mom and Dad bought me my first new bike—a '67 Schwinn 3-speed with "Radiant Coppertone" metallic paint, white metal flake banana seat, and a suicide shifter on the top tube.

It was the bomb.

I wasn't allowed to ride it until after I'd received the report card that would provide proof of the good grades that were the condition of my receiving the bike. It was the worst torture my parents could have devised, allowing me to see my new bike just sitting there in the garage, its fat racing slick rear tire just begging to take a bite out of the neighborhood streets--and finally, I cracked. I sneaked out with the bike to show it off to my buddies, who wasted no time pressuring me into riding it down a dirt hill. Not used to hand brakes—front hand brakes, more specifically—I promptly went over the handlebars, and worse... bent the shifter lever, breaking the click stops that indexed the shifter. A rare act of defiance, and both the bike and I were busted; but I guess Dad understood, because I don't recall catching too much grief over it. He took me down to the Schwinn shop to buy a replacement shift lever, we replaced it together, and once I got my report card (all As) I was back in business.

I rode that bike everywhere, well into high school, by which time it was far too small for me and the bottom bracket was shot. I had to raise the seat so high and sit so far back on it that every rotation of the cranks threatened to flip me over backward.
thread edited on 10/30/2005 at 6:05:25 PM

 dallasbikr member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 11:50:30 AM
post #1 viewed 2050 times
Don't recall much, since I was 3 or 4 but it was a little 15 inch hand-me-down from my sister, solid rubber tires, etc. It did have a coaster brake, and the bigger kids taught me how to leave skid marks pretty quickly.

A few years later came wheelies and no-handed riding...and of course jumping. This was all on the next hand-me-down.

I was probably 9 when I got my first Huffy "bmx" bike (not really a true BMXer but it sure looked more like it than my sister's cast-off bike...

I went through half a dozen bikes and frames over the next few years, all the way up till my Senior Year in high school. I was constantly upgrading parts. When all the parts were nicer than the frameset, I got a new frame and started upgrading parts again. At this point, retail for any incarnation of my 'FrankenBike' would have been close to $1000 or so, since you had to buy all the pieces separately.

My last single speed, BMX bike is hanging in my garage...and you can see it in my profile as well. DCPhotos tells me its worth something on eBay...

Those were the days

 clevernamehere member not displaying online status
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posted 10/19/2005
at 11:56:04 AM
post #2 viewed 2052 times
OK, let's see... that was a while ago
My first bike was a second-hand "stingray" type around '70 or '71... not sure if it was the real thing or a knock off. It had the nice wide rear "red-line" tire & cool chrome short fenders that curled up a bit at the bottom edge. I too have fond memories of all the skid mark competitions with the neighbor kids... go flyin' down the street as fast as possible, hit the coaster brake & turn... woo hoo!

Unfortunately, there are no pics of me with this bike. I loved it I don't remember what the original colour was, but when my dad had the family station wagon re-painted metalic forest green, he painted my bike the same colour.

I remember envying the kids with the new 3spd chopper bikes with the top-tube mounted shifter (just like a car!)

I learned to ride when I was 5 or 6. My dad was teaching my older sister to ride. He kept asking if I wanted to give it a try. I just said "no, not yet" and continued watching my sister make all the mistakes. Once she had it figured out, I decided it was time. My dad held the bike for the first few feet, then let go & I was riding... first try!

We never bothered with training wheels back then, just road trikes until we wanted to try the two-wheel thing.
post edited on 10/19/2005 at 11:59:52 AM

 slantz member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 12:00:46 PM
post #3 viewed 2045 times
Great thread Foo! Discounting the tricycle stage, my first bike was this black Huffy cruiser, circa 1980. I learned to ride with the training wheels on, then we took them off sometime during the kindergarten or first grade school years. We kept the lovely racing number on it at all times. We even have a few pictures of me on the bike at the Grand Canyon and such (just don't ride over the edge!) so it went on a few trips with us. I don't remember what happened to this bike, but in 1983 I stopped riding it when I got a shiny new BMX bike. Thanks Mom and Dad!

post edited on 10/19/2005 at 12:04:01 PM

 Rockhound76 member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 12:43:02 PM
post #4 viewed 2023 times
My first bike was a "big" bike, a Western Flyer, the one with the headlight built into the top tube. It was the bike I learned to ride on, and it became mine sometime around 1963. I think I was too short to even reach the seat, so I simply stood up to pedal all the time. I used it to commute to school (about 3 miles) until I was in 3rd grade.

Actually, it was my dad's bike, but I used it until it fell apart (eventually, the headlight was removed, the bike painted a flat black, an extended fork was welded on with a 16" wheel replacing the original 24", plus a sissy bar and banana seat added for effect. Yes, I ruined a classic, but I thought it was cool to build a "chopper". I kept that bike until the mid-70's.

The first real bike I picked out and bought as my own was a Stingray. This was around 1965 or so (66? guessing). I helped my Uncled deliver clothes for his dry cleaning business. We did this daily, so I was working close to 30hrs a week in the 3rd or 4th grade (he would drive to his customer's homes in a big van and I would deliver the clothes to their doorsteps. Now, THAT was service.)

I saved my $10/week salary to buy that Stingray. Then, every week I would load it up with options. It had tassled handgrips, a generator light, a huge sissy bar (later transferred to the flyer).The paint and banana seat was candle-apple red metalflake.). I don't remember what happened to that bike. i do remember riding it to school every day until some bigger kids made fun of it for being a "girlie" bike and then tried to beat me up. I didn't ride it much after that....

post edited on 10/19/2005 at 12:46:24 PM

 drut member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 1:26:36 PM
post #5 viewed 2010 times
Ditto to slantz...great thread Foo. First bike was a hand-me-down from my brother who is 11 years my senior. It was probably bought from Montgomery Ward just after WWII. It was a very heavy machine with wide handle bars and chrome fenders. It was a 26 inch bike and I had to push it up to the front steps in order to get on. I was the proverbial skinny weakling and ended up pushing it up most hills. My brother had a sheep skin saddle cover on it and a racoon tail flying from the end of each handle bar grip. Coaster brakes and fat tires that would go anywhere I could muster up the strength to take it.

After several years of using that bike, I found a bike under the Christmas tree that had tires about the width of today's hybrids. If my memory serves my right, it was a Bauer that was originally from Germany. That was about 1955 or so. Coaster brakes, bright red frame and chrome fenders. The envy of all the kids in the neighborhood. It must have been about half the weight of the first bike, thankfully.

 spencerjack member not displaying online status
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posted 10/19/2005
at 1:43:23 PM
post #6 viewed 2007 times
Bike #1 was a overhauled klunker given to me as a surprise by my Dad and Grandpa. Being a young kid, I flipped when they brought out and I beamed as I rode the klunker down the road. Steel frame; oversized tires; spring seat; comfort handlebars; and an ugly red paint job.

Bike #2 was a black Schwinn Varsity 5-speed (new) received while I was a middle-schooler.
post edited on 10/19/2005 at 1:42:49 PM

 BadgerLand member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 1:57:43 PM
post #7 viewed 2009 times

I thought I had died and gone to heaven...that was THE exact bike my parents had bought me for my 7th birthday! Thanks for the memories.


ps. I had to wait another 20 years before I got a "new" bike for myself instead of a hand-me-down. My now near extinct single-speed cannondale.

 deadhead member not displaying online status
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posted 10/19/2005
at 2:23:14 PM
post #8 viewed 2011 times
My first bike was a gift from my grandparents. They bought it with S&H Green Stamps. Is anyone else old enough to remember those? It was called a convertible bike because the top tube wasn't actually part of the frame, it could be bolted to the frame in either a boy's or girl's bike position. It must have been a really small bike, because I was only 5 or 6 and small for my age.

I started bugging my dad right away to take the training wheels off. Finally he took them off and let me try riding without them in the backyard. He gave me a little push down the slope in our yard and I took right off - no more training wheels.

I think my sister & brother both wound up using that bike as their first bike. The frame finally broke, but my dad took it to a local welder who fixed the frame and welded a permanent top tube onto it. Don't know whatever became of it - I think it was still kicking around the garage when I left home. RIP wherever you are, little bike. Thanks for that first taste of freedom.

 Hideaway member offline
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posted 10/19/2005
at 2:40:14 PM
post #9 viewed 2008 times
My first bike was from "Best." Some people from the Houston area may remember this store next to Almeda Mall. Looked like it was crumbling.

Anyways, it was an Incredible Hulk Huffy. It was green and instead of a number on the front, it had a pic of The Incredible Hulk.

I remember it not so much as my first bike (I was 3) but more for the stories my mom, dad and family member told me about it. I managed, without any tools mind you, to completely dismantle the entire thing. The only think I couldn't get un-done was the Handle-bars from the fork. I couldn't ride it, so I made it fun. What's funner than a bunck of metal parts when you're a kid, right? My dad put it back together and again, with no tools, I managed to take it a part again.

I don't know how I did it, but it should have been a warning to those who knew me, just what kind of kid I was going to be. I was a destructive DEVIL!

 playswithtrains member online
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posted 10/19/2005
at 2:46:25 PM
post #10 viewed 2008 times
My First was a big Green Huffy with a Banana seat. I thought I was the coolest thing on wheels. Favorite bike memory was building one for my younger brother using parts from his old DG bmx bike and a new Mongoose team frame. He was so thrilled when he came home and found it ready to roll.
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