Thursday, May 3, 2012

Past bikes: #2

I don't remember what happened to Bike #1, but by the time we moved to Spokane in 1979 it was gone.

My sister Betsy had a bike. I must have had something.  But I don't remember. I do remember  Bike #2 though. And how I got it.

My mom sent Betsy and me to the store to get something. When we got back, we walked in the door and right in the middle of the living room was Bike #2. My mom and step-dad were smiling ear-to-ear: "Isn't it great Johnny?! Don't you love it."

Of course I did. I was blown away. It had mag wheels. It was red and yellow for god's sake. What was not to love?

And of course I wasn't paying attention to Betsy, who, apparently was standing there sort of quiet and glum. My parents were definitely paying attention to Betsy, because they were saying, "Isn't it great Bets? We sold your bike to buy Johnny a new one. Isn't that something?"

I still wasn't paying attention to Betsy. But to hear my parents tell it, she was welling up at this point: tears and such.
Me, Ryan. I was awesome.

Our house was built in 1907, so stuff was always in disrepair. As usual, the toilet was "running." My step-dad, Marty said to Bets, "That damn toilet. Betsy, will you go tickle the toilet -- it's running again."

Betsy ran out of the room in a silent, about-to-burst, fist-clenched rage.

I finally noticed Betsy when I heard a scream out of the bathroom.

My parents had bought her a bonafide 10-speed bike and had it set up in the bathroom. It was a step-through lugged Nishiki with straight-gauge 4130. I know that because I've seen a million of them since.

Nice. And true to my mother's game, well-played as always. It wasn't enough to buy new bikes for the kids. There had to be twist. A bit of fun to be had.

I ripped it up on Bike #2. I was no Tom Canning, who was our local crazy kid who jumped off anything. But I learned how to bunny-hop, kickout, and take minor jumps on Bike #2. It was pretty awesome to me. Though by BMX standards it was lacking in the singularly rad feature of not having a freewheel. Coaster brakes (or any brake for that matter) were for babies.

My best accident was when I did the board-on-the-block jump. I was on my buddy's wheel as he launched off the jump and the board jiggled a bit. As my front wheel cleared the end of the board, I watched for one split second as the board jiggled off the brick and my rear wheel hit the cinder block, pitching me over the bars and onto my face for that sweet nose impact taste once again.

I remember thinking that this was it for me. I limped home to die and as my mom cleaned me up, she found a small twig sticking out of a wound in my belly. She pulled it out and white pus-funked blood came with it. That was pretty cool. But I was sore for a few days.


Dan O said...

Cool story and pic.

I worked in a bike shop from '81 - '84 or so. Assembled many, many BMX bikes from that era.

Stine said...

Tubes socks, yeah!

Anonymous said...

apparently you were too caught up in your story telling to mention WHAT BRAND OF BIKE WAS IT?

John Speare said...

anon: the brand was a some import house-brand called "Cycle Pro" -- there were parts on really nice BMX bikes that were cycle pro parts, but this bike was clearly a volume import.