Mid-Life Rider

rambling through mid-life on motorcycles

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The Story of My First Bike: Ric Short

March 11th, 2008 · No Comments

Ric is a buddy of mine. I asked him to tell the story of his first bicycle. Not that it matters, but he’s got serious credentials with me for many reasons, not the least of which is that he’s the builder of a truly special bike called the “Camaro Bike.

Here’s his story . . .

I grew up poor. Times were tough and we didn’t have much. It was the summer of 1965 and I had just turned 5. Lyndon who? More like Meet The Beatles! And GI Joe for me.
My father came home with a rusted, broken down old bicycle. No handlebars, a totally ripped-up traditional seat, no fenders, no tires, and a broken pedal.  I learned that he had pulled it out of someone’s garbage. I knew it was bad, but that pedal really had me worried.  All I could see was shame and ridicule.  But Dad had a vision.
Step 1: He took it all apart and sanded the frame down to the bare metal.  You can DO that??!??!?! Then, he asked me what color the coolest bike in the world would be.
Step 2: I was angry with him that, even after I had told him that PURPLE was the coolest, he painted my frame a matte gray, the color that I now recognize as primer. This bike sucked!
Step 3: I checked back in on the bike a little later and WHAT!?!? It was purple!  Not some lame lavender purple, an awesome purple – like the coolest bike in the world would be.  How did he do that? That frame looked so cool and naked hanging there in the shed.
Step 4: What the!?!?!  I came home a few nights later and there it was.  Magically, brand new monkey bars with new grips - and the whitest ribbed vinyl banana seat in the world were sitting on my purple frame.  And the pedal was replaced!  Suddenly I understood just how cool NO FENDERS could look.  I loved that bike (though I secretly longed for a really high sissy bar).
Step 5: When I rolled that bad boy out onto the street I was the man.  Then came the moment of truth. I had to LEARN HOW TO RIDE a two-wheeler!  With my friends totally digging my bike, I climbed on and struggled around a bit.  Eventually I got it going – going really well – until I crashed.  The kids ran up to me and told me how cool the bike looked. I forgot about the crash and hopped back on – maybe they didn’t notice that I was just learning!
I only had two other bikes after that. The next was a really cool banana bike WITH a tall sissy bar (hated it). Then came the obligatory mid-seventies 10-speed that I bought with my own money for $100.  My FIRST bike was, by far, my coolest bike.  I’ll never forget it.
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