Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bicycle Memories

I found this on the interweb and it got me thinking about bikes when I was a kid. My first cool bike when I was about nine was a black Huffy Dragster III circa 1969 or so. Apparently everybody else thought it was cool too because it got stolen twice. I never got it back the second time. I was very sad about that for a long time. Mine had a 3-speed shift on the handgrip.

Here's a little better picture of one but with a different color. It also had the shift on the crossbar which is a little cooler when you're a kid. There's actually a Dragster forum on the interweb for these things. They refer to them as "muscle bikes" these days and they sell for as much as $450 on eBay.
 Going into the 70s, the trend with banana seats continued along with a high sissy bar. The next step in bicycle coolness was bikes with steering wheels.
A lot of guys rigged their own, but manufacturers soon started sending them out from the factory. I never had one of these, but I did have a chance to ride one that belonged to my cousin's boyfriend when I visited in Indianapolis once. I was very young at the time and found the bike hard to control. Of course now that I've been driving a car for almost four decades I imagine that steering wheel bikes would seem fairly normal.
After this in the mid 70s came the chopper look with the long front forks. 90% of these forks were homemade, but I do think a few were factory made somewhere.
Next up was something a little strange. These were called "high bikes." I'm pretty sure that no factory ever made any of these. They were pretty much all homemade designs that usually consisted of welding one frame atop another.
Of course some guys were bound to get carried away with things.
After this, the run-o-the-mill 10-speeds came in and took over for a couple of decades, followed by the mountain biking trend. However, cool bikes did make a brief return in the new century with kids customizing small bikes that had pegs welded here and there for trick riding.
Well that's it for this article. Next week we'll take a look at some very "dapper" vintage antique bikes.

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