Suddenly It’s 1978!


I don’t think of myself as a lucky person — too many broken bones and too many outsized consequences for small mistakes — but sometimes I do have fate on my side. Here’s an example: About 72 hours ago, somebody listed an old bike for sale on Pittsburgh’s Craigslist. I was sitting around Thursday night when I was struck with a sudden desire to search for this particular bike. Never before in my life had I searched for this bike, and I mean never. My search brought up the bike, which had been listed about four hours previously. As it happened, this weekend was the one weekend I planned on having open between now and May, so I was able to go to Sewickley, PA and get it for the considerable sum of $140.

It was a remarkable coincidence that somebody would list this bike within driving distance and I’d have the idea to look for it, all on the same day. So what did I get?


Why, it’s a Ross Polo Bike Junior, in yellow. I cannot imagine that any of my readers will have ever heard of the Ross Polo Bike Junior. Few enough of you will have heard of Ross itself, a Pennsylvania-based bike builder that was sort of a distant third to Schwinn and Huffy with virtually no distribution west of the Mississippi. The Polo Bike Junior was a response to the Schwinn Stingray, in more or less the same too-little-too-late way that the Chevy HHR was a response to the Plymouth PT Cruiser. It was really fucking lame, actually.

Unless, that is, you were seven-year-old Jack Baruth. I’d just arrived at my new house in Columbia, MD, pictured below with a TPC-tuned 997 Turbo that I used to visit it thirty years later:


I’d had a red training-wheels bike from Montgomery Ward that I’d never really learned to ride, and it had been left behind at our previous house. Wherever that was. I should mention that I lived in probably ten different places on the East Coast as a kid. I also had something like a half-dozen concussions in my teen years that almost completely erased my memories from childhood. I can’t recall much from before I was ten years old or so. So what I’m about to tell you is pieced together from what other people have told me and from spectral fragments of childhood recollection, insubstantial and easily damaged just by thinking about them too hard:

And most my memories / Have escaped me / or confused themselves with dreams

I do remember the bike shop where I picked out my Ross. There was a blue one and a yellow one — I picked the yellow one. Or was it that the blue one wasn’t available? We took it home. Dad took a brief shot at showing me how to ride it and then gave up. Mom spent a couple of hours trying and gave up as well. Neither of them understood that you can’t shout somebody into riding a bike.

It turned out to be a good thing, this parental disinterest in my cycling future. Their combined anger-fueled ineptitude regarding this topic would end up galvanizing me into thinking long and hard later in life about cycling instruction, which is how I became a BMX coach after I broke my neck in ’88. I’ve devoted a lot of effort to breaking down the basic motions behind bicycle riding. A surprising number of the riders I coached turned out to be champions in their own right, including one double World BMX Champion — and when it was time to teach my own son to ride, it happened effortlessly and immediately, well before his fifth birthday.


But wait! Our story is still stuck back in 1978, and I still don’t know how to ride a bike. Enter my neighbor, a brillant kid named Jeff. He was a few years older than me, and he was an outcast — not because he was black, which he was, but because he was a black intellectual. He was the only kid I knew who wanted to talk about all the same things that I did, from the physics behind Star Wars to the biochemical programming behind anthills.

Jeff was the closest thing I had to a friend, and I was the closest thing he had to a friend. But I didn’t know how to ride a bike, which was a problem in his opinion. So he put me on the Ross’s banana seat and shoved me at high speed into a couple of small trees and out of sheer self-preserving terror I learned to avoid the trees and then we were set. We’d ride down the long hill of Tamar Drive all the way to the creek, a distance of a few miles, throw rocks at stuff, then ride back.


There was a limit to how fast the Polo Bike could go, thanks to its low gearing. Jeff had a Raleigh ten-speed, and he delighted in switching to tenth gear and dropping me like a bad habit. “SUPERCRUISE!” he’d yell, because “supercruise” was what you called it when an aircraft could maintain supersonic flight without afterburners (cf. SR-71 Blackbird, Concorde) and it was also his name for tenth gear. I told you he was a nerd. We were well matched.

Jeff was about the best friend for which a kid could ask. I have a dim memory of a attending some sort of craft camp at the elementary school up the hill and getting into a disagreement with some older kids who were picking on me. I mentioned this to Jeff and the next day he supercruised into the school parking lot and read my antagonists the riot act. That was the end of the problem. Of course, before long it was time to move and leave Jeff behind. This move would be the longest yet, all the way to Upper Arlington, Ohio.

Shortly before the move, my father and I went to the local MG dealer so he could buy himself a sports car. To my immense delight, the ’79 Midget that he picked up was the same color as my Polo Bike Junior. Unlike my trustworthy Ross, however, the Midget was a total and complete piece of shit that didn’t crack the 5,000-mile mark before Dad sold it in disgust.

Not that I gave the Polo Bike any props for its durability. To the contrary; I wanted it to die, so I could have a new bike. By the time we got to Ohio, I was pretty well aware that the Ross was “gay” and if I had harbored any doubts on the subject, the derision from my rich-kid friends, with their P.K. Rippers and Mongoose Experts, removed said doubts with all the delicacy of Holly Holm kicking Ronda Rousey in the chin. Of course, my parents didn’t figure that I needed a new bike. The bike I had was perfectly fine. I disagreed. I was eleven, attending class with fourteen-year-olds, and most of my friends had mopeds, for Christ’s sake. The Tomos Silver Bullet, owned by the kid whose father founded Red Roof Inns and a few other classmates, was considered the gold standard, the Lamborghini Aventador of middle-school transportation, but I was on a “kid’s bike”. Ugh.


When my parents got divorced, Mom finally listened to my pleas and sprung for a Huffy Carrera ten-speed, like this one. Check out the copyright-infringing logo, stolen straight from the side of a ’73 Porsche:


Later on, she and I went on a harrowing bike ride together in which we got lost and wound up at a Schwinn store twelve miles from the house. It resulted in my getting a Schwinn Traveler:


I don’t know what happened to the Polo Bike; it was probably a casualty of a move. As a child, I accepted without question the idea that half of my stuff always disappeared or was broken during each move, even though we used North American. My mother existed in a state of permanent warfare, protracted over the course of a decade, with North American Movers. “Sons of bitches,” she’d snarl at the hapless blue-collar fathers who passed us with their heads bowed, like stevedores, carrying massive boxes full of Wedgwood jasperware and souvenirs from Mom’s recent trip to London. “John, I don’t trust them. Half of your things will be lost.” I had a suspicion that the problem was not with North American but I said nothing.

By the time I got to Sewickley, PA last night, it was too dark to properly inspect my new Polo Bike Junior. In the headlights of my rental Malibu, however, it looked about as good as I could have hoped for. The seller was apologetic; he’d neglected to mention the flat rear tire and broken spoke. I had to chuckle, both at his apologies and at the fact that I was about to pay $140 for a worthless old bike. I was tempted to play hardball on the price. No way it would fetch $140 to anybody else. Yet I’d have paid $1,400 without blinking and I didn’t want to spit into the eye of Fate so there was no negotiation.

For a mild-steel bike with an indifferent paintjob, the Polo Bike Junior has weathered the last thirty-eight years pretty well. The one flaw that immediately stands out to me is the missing “ROSS” sticker on the seat tube. It should have one, as seen here:


Then again, maybe this bike never got that sticker. It would be a mistake to think that a bicycle factory in the middle of both rural Pennsylvania and the troubled Seventies wouldn’t occasionally miss a decal application. There’s no sign of scraping or other forcible removal on the tube. I’m not too stressed on the subject.

So, what to do with my new bicycle? I’ve been considering dragging my son back to Columbia, making him don some vintage polyester Sears clothing, taking photos of him riding the thing, then running said photos through a Hipstamatic filter, having them printed on old stock, and passing them off as childhood mementos. It’s unlikely. But I will fix the thing up a bit, swap the wheel bearings out, and let John ride it around the neighborhood.

He won’t be impressed by it. He’s not yet to his seventh birthday but already something like the Polo Bike would be laughable to him. He owns and can competently operate a seven-speed Gary Fisher mountain bike, a DiamondBack Viper, an electric motorcycle, a Yamaha TTR-90, and a TopKart. If he had an ultralight plane he’d probably be able to fly it. There isn’t much that seems to be beyond his capabilities. His world is already much bigger than mine ever was.

So we can close the story here, except for one memory that may or may not be real. In this distant recollection, somebody built a little dirt jump next to the stream, at the bottom of the hill in our neighborhood. It was maybe a foot high. Jeff dared me to ride over it. There was a path down the grass hill that started at the end of Tamar Drive. I pushed off and was seized by gravity. Frightened, exhilarated. The first time, I think I swerved around the jump when I got to it instead of riding over it. Maybe the first few times. But I eventually hit the jump and my front wheel — just my front wheel — left the ground and at that point some thin glass rod in my head snapped. From that day on, I started seeking out ways to go faster, scare myself, do things that I didn’t think I was brave enough to do.

It’s possible that it was a dream, or a retcon fabrication of my teenaged mind after some tooth-loosening impact, a face-first hit to the ground on a dusty evening at the Pataskala Phase IV BMX track. It’s also possible that it really happened. I’ll never know. Whether it was real or just a way for my brain to explain something to me, it was the pivot, the Rubicon. It was the moment when I started to become myself. It was the pinprick in time when I became permanently bonded to the idea of the machine and where it could take me. That machine, and every one that followed, in a forty-year journey that has seen me wind up behind the wheel of everything from a World Challenge McLaren to the Goodyear blimp. It’s the only permanent thing in my life. I’ve had many relationships with people, almost all of them abject failures. There’s only been one relationship in my life that has truly worked. That childhood bond, that marriage to the machine. For better, as they say, or for worse.

44 Replies to “Suddenly It’s 1978!”

  1. jz78817

    Unlike my trustworthy Ross, however, the Midget was a total and complete piece of shit that didn’t crack the 5,000-mile mark before Dad sold it in disgust.

    I was struck by the differences between the bailout/nationalization of British Leyland, and the bankruptcy proceedings of GM and Chrysler. Though the dimps who were saying things like “American Leyland” apparently didn’t see them. British Leyland seemed to believe being propped up was a licence to keep shoveling out crap. At least Detroit was trying to get their shit together before everything fell apart.

  2. MrFixit1599

    My first bike was I believe a Huffy, very similar style. Would have been around ’77 or so. Banana seat and a basket. Streamers on the hand grips. My parents tried to teach me as well. Lots of yelling ensued. They gave up, so I would push my bike up this small hill in the back yard and let gravity work so I didn’t have to figure out pedaling and steering all at once. Eventually I discovered the same thing. My bike was pretty much the opposite of cool. Next was a black Huffy with yellow aluminum mags. That’s the bike I want back. It was mean looking. Then I broke one of the aluminum mags, then I broke the frame, and ended up buying a Mongoose. My buddies had Redlines. We were all set to go BMX racing, and the weekend before I crashed and ended up in the hospital for a week with a cracked vertebrae in my neck. Needless to say that ended my BMX career that never even started. Mom made me sell it, and I was relegated to my 12 speed tour bike when I was just going somewhere. The fun bike I won in a St. Jude’s bike-a-thon for riding the most miles, and bringing in the most money on a day that my parents were at a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. It was a Western Flyer 10 speed. Ended up pretty much destroying it.

    I had a similar thing happen with Craigslist a few years ago. I was needing a riding mower, and I wanted a snow blower etc. I was doing some research and stumbled on this thread about older Bolens tube frame tractors, and since they were built in WI, I figured that would be a decent choice. Went on Craigslist, and the 2nd item on the page was a Bolens with the deck, blower, tiller, plow, chains, and wheel weights for $450. One of the best purchases I have ever made.

  3. Dirty Dingus McGee

    I got a Stingray for my 9th birthday. Coming off of some hand me down regular bike, it was like going from a Rambler to a Corvette. I was a KING by god. The first ride brought me rapidly back to earth however. Coming down our driveway, I went to hit the brakes. THERE WASN’T ANY BRAKES. In my enthusiasm, I forgot that this didn’t have coaster brakes like my regular bike. I rear ended my dad’s pickup truck, doing a face plant against the tailgate, while my “boy parts” smacked that snazzy stick shift. It was a couple days before I worked up the nerve to try riding it again.
    By the following summer I was big into dirt bikes(Hodaka B+) but still used the bike to get to friends houses. One afternoon, coming home later than I was supposed to, I was hauling ass down a rather long hill, when it went into a tank slapper, finally throwing me off. I slid and tumbled off the side of the road, down an embankment, into some folks yard. They heard me hollering, broke arm and road rash hurts like a sumbitch, and called my folks. I don’t recall using that bike after that, and have no idea what ever became of it. Probably my younger brother used it, as I recall seeing him all beat to hell a couple times.

  4. Mental

    I had the red Huffy version, with a tan seat. I discovered wheelies on that bike. I remember the kids in the apartments were always scrounging piles of wood for ramps. I am surprised I didn’t jump that bikes to its demise. I would do that to a Sear BMX bike years later, broke the frame. The coaster brakes failed, as they always did, and I still rode that bike for another year. Ramps, jumps, in traffic, all with no brakes.

    Helmets? What? This isn’t a motorcycle.

    I am often amazed I am still alive.

  5. Baconator

    My first bike was a Ross, too: A 26″ 10-speed steel-frame mountain(ish) bike. Bought at a K-Mart that has since been shuttered.

    We didn’t really have anything properly resembling a mountain where I lived, but I sure bunny-hopped up onto, and down off of, every damn curb I ever saw in that thing. Like yours, it was not cool at all, but impervious to abuse.

  6. Robert

    Thanks for sharing this. That same sentiment has me periodically browsing Craigslist for a ’77 Honda Z-50. Unfortunately I’m too fat to ride it if I ever got one, and my boys are on bigger bikes already.

    I came close to recapturing a moment with it though. There’s a picture of me on it in my mother’s driveway; she had it printed on my 40th birthday cake. When my boys got their first bikes I staged them in the same position and pose on the same driveway and took their pictures. The three photos hang over my fireplace now.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Last time I saw my former boss, Larry Webster, was at Mid-Ohio. He was on a CT70. Yes. I was jealous.

      • faygo

        must have missed the non-announcement when Larry left R&T. hopefully nothing too untoward behind that. he’s really good people in my experience.

        he used to do track days with the group of random folks I ran with at Gingerman back in the early 2000s. Larry trailered in his IT-whatever gen-2 CRX. my MZ3 kept me entertained.

        the organizer of the events used to beat the snot out of his original Carrera RS (which he had smartly removed the stock engine from to put on the shelf, even back then it was the smart thing to do) but later switched to an ex-Spec Racer Toyota, which was stupid cheap and bulletproof.

  7. -Nate

    ” There’s only been one relationship in my life that has truly worked. That childhood bond, that marriage to the machine. For better, as they say, or for worse. ”

    _This_ .

    It helped me escape poverty and make a nice little life for my self and my Family .

    ? you got to drive / ride in the Good Year Blimp ? color me GREEN .


  8. Shocktastic

    There’s a fine line between scolding a total stranger for navel gazing & high fiving him for capturing a fragment of his youth. Congrats on the latter. I would have spent the $140, too.

  9. Steve Ulfelder

    Takes me back to a glorious trip to the Schwinn store in Ann Arbor, MI, in the spring of 1970. My brother got an Apple Krate; I came away with a Lemon Peeler. Were we envied in the neighborhood? Oh yes we were.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Damn it Steve, you and your charmed life. It’s enough to make me want to skip your next book signing out of petty jealousy!

    • AoLetsGo

      I had the Grape Krate single speed and yes I thought I was the coolest. Eventually I got bored with it and made a custom chopper out of it. I bought a custom padded sissy bar, swapped out the front fork with a long one from a ten speed road bike, and put a smaller front wheel on it. I lowered the rear of the banana seat and tilted the handle bars way back so I could lay way back when I rode. My favorite trick was to ride a wheelie for a while and then jump off and see how far I could get to go on it’s own.

    • Ronnie Schreiber

      When I was ten, my parents bought me what we called an “English racer” in the early 1960s, a Royce Union with 26″ wheels, caliper brakes and a three speed Sturmey Archer rear hub. Shortly after I got it, I left it on the lawn instead of putting it up on the porch with my siblings’ bikes and it got stolen. The cops found the frame, stripped. My dad built it into a single speed drop handlebar bike that reminded him of the six day racers he saw in NYC in his youth.

      When the Schwinn Stingray hit, my parents bought me a Japanese knockoff, with a Shimano multi speed hub (maybe 5 speeds) and a large gonad threatening stick shift on the top tube. Some of my friends knocked the “Jap crap”, but it ended up being a pretty reliable bike that I rode until high school. My older brother and I would ride all over the place, he on the Raleigh “racer” and me on the banana seat bike.

      It’s still out in back of my mom’s garage, rusting. I’ll have to check the brand. I wonder if vintage Japanese bikes from the 1960s will ever be collectible, like vintage Japanese guitars.

      If I was going to get a vintage bike of that style, it wouldn’t be a Schwinn, it’d be a Raleigh Chopper.

      In any case, I prefer my Litespeed Catalyst to the wheelie bike of my youth.

      • Jim

        It’s fun to read the memories here about bicycles, but I think your dad has everyone beat. A “six day racer” from pre-war NYC is about the coolest bicycle I can imagine. Your dad must be 80 or 90?

        • Ronnie Schreiber

          My father would be 95, if he was still alive. This all took place in the 1960s. When he first built it, he put a fixed gear rear hub on it, just like the track racers, which lasted until he tried riding it and did a header, so he replaced it with a single speed coasting hub (but without a coaster brake).

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      I should find out. I imagine that he grew up to be very successful. Maybe he’d spot me a couple bucks for my Viper down payment, just for old times’ sake!

  10. rwb

    Learning to ride was much easier for me. I don’t remember if it happened the first attempt or not, but I remember wobbling around when I was told, probably out of exasperation, “Just go faster!”


    So I went faster and lo, I rode a bike. It was a triumphant moment and led to a desire to race cross-country MTB professionally, but my knees stopped working by around 14 so that went out the window.

    I have a few old bikes crowding my foyer right now I need to figure out what to do with; the only one worth mentioning right now is my Alenax Transbar TRB2400 which is just the goofiest thing. It’s useless even in excellent condition and takes up valuable space, but I don’t know if I could ever get rid of it.

  11. awagliar

    “I don’t expect that everybody who reads this site will know who Richard Stallman is”
    “I cannot imagine that any of my readers will have ever heard of the Ross Polo Bike Junior”

    Instead of publicly doubting my existence, you could just email me directly!

    Mine was light blue, BTW. I wonder if, back in the day, that made it more or less susceptible to schoolyard derision than yellow? Given a choice, I probably would’ve gone with red, which was the color of the Huffy somethingorother that eventually replaced it.

    I can’t say I’d be interested in regaining a vintage Ross, but grasping that feeling again would be righteous indeed. That “I live my life a quarter mile at a time” quote from the original Fast & Furious movie now sounds hackneyed and has fallen out of favor with the Internet cognoscenti, but that’s what it was about, wasn’t it? Just a couple numbers .. the pitch of the downhill, the length of the ramp, and the height of whatever sticks/logs/rocks/bricks that could be scrounged up and wedged underneath? Oh yeah, and the cost of stitches as the hospital.

    It sure didn’t take much to be a Knievel-in-training.

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Everything I’ve read on the Internet, none of it primary sources unfortunately, seems to indicate that blue and yellow were the only colors.

      Since we’re on the same bike-and-free-software wavelength, I’ll tell you that it rained while RMS and I were walking back to the AI Lab. You can guess what happened.

      • awagliar

        Oh, I have no knowledge that the bike was ever offered in red, but That’s! What! I! Wanted! Any attempts my long-suffering parents might have made to reason with this Son-of-Privilege 3+ decades ago were surely drowned out by the wailing of my tantrum du jour.

        Re: RMS .. I dunno, your beards got wet? (I can’t shake the feeling that you’re providing the lead-in to a joke, like “a lawyer, a priest, and a rabbi walk into the AI Lab..”)

        Speaking of luminaries in the Internet Hall of Fame, RIP Ray Tomlinson, who saved us all from the purgatory of UUCP bang-path email routing and rescued the humble at-sign from relative obscurity.

        • Jack Baruth Post author

          RMS is afraid of water.

          When it started raining, he ran like hell.

          He was wearing a woven poncho at the time, which streamed behind him as he ran full-tilt, hands over his head, to the AI Lab.

  12. -Nate

    I’d think John would rather enjoy riding his Dad’s old bike……

    Kids tend to want to experience and know everything about their Parents .


  13. Chris Tonn

    First bike was circa ’82/’83, I was 4 or 5. I’m sure it was a Huffy BMX-style, in John Player Special black and gold. Remember it fondly.

    Have a photo somewhere of the bike posed with dad’s ’83 280ZX Turbo in front of our then-new house.

    • Economist

      Mine was the same. It had the hand-operated brake on one wheel. I have many fond memories of that bike. We took it with us to Disney World and I got to ride it around Fort Wilderness.

    • MrFixit1599

      That was the Pro Thunder. I had a 79 or so with aluminum mags. I posted a pic above of a very similar bike.

  14. VtNoah

    Reminds me of when I had my Huffy “Dirt Duster” back in 92′. This was right about the time that Huffy’s were considered to be bikes for the poor. A couple of older kids made fun of me because my bike wasn’t a “Mountain Bike” I begged my parents for a full year before they upgraded me to a Raleigh M-20 18 speed. Rode that thing until the tires were bald and then someone stole it out of my front yard. I don’t have any sentimentality towards most of my old bikes except for maybe my Geekhouse SG-1. Quick google search and I found my classified ad from 2005.

  15. VicMik

    That Ross banana makes for a perfect hipster transportation these days. I bet it would fetch $350 on a NYC craigslist.

  16. Widgetsltd

    Damn! Thank you for reminding me about my first bike. I had forgotten what it was, but now I remember my Ross Polo Bike, circa 1974. Mine was metallic blue and looked similar to yours but it had an odd feature: the top tube could be unbolted to convert it into a girl’s bike. It was eventually replaced by a Huffy Santa Fe, which was later replaced by a ’78 Olds Cutlass Salon. Those were the days!

    • Jack Baruth Post author

      Yes sir! The difference between the full-on Polo Bike and the Junior, if I understand what I’ve read correctly, was that convertible top tube.

  17. Frank Galvin

    I was 7 when my dad came home with my Ross Snapper; yellow and red with yellow spokes. I’ll never forget it or that day. He worked for a railroad that was always flirting with bankruptcy. Depending on their latest financial state – he either a good solid company car, a Ford Fairmont, or an absolute sh**box. The latter included a reconstructed Pinto and a Chevette with a rear seat delete. The day I got Ross – he had it stuffed into the back of the Chevette. That bike was unbreakable – till it was upstaged by younger sister’s Mongoose. We weren’t living the high life, but my Dad always splurged on bikes. I think it had something to do with him being a city kid and having to share with his older brother.
    Bike looked like this:

  18. rpn453

    As I’ve said before, I love the old bike stories.

    The banana seat bikes were a few years ahead of my time. My first real bike was a 16″ wheel Sears Constrictor BMX, in white, with black bar pads. I had been riding a little green bike on training wheels up to that point but didn’t want to progress any further, so my mother told me that they don’t make training wheels for BMX bikes. I really wanted to ride that bike so I learned by pushing with my feet and gliding, until one day I just put my feet on the pedals and kept going. I have clear memories of that moment, as well as the trip to Sears to buy the bike.

    The local BMX track was right across from the rink where my older sister took skating lessons, so I’d take that bike along in the fall and spring and do some jumps. No idea if I was actually getting the back wheel off the ground at that point, but it sure felt like it. Crazy that it was normal for parents to let us do that stuff with no helmets or gear back then. Anyway, it was only a few years later that I was sliding unconscious on my face down the back side of the camelback doubles, the perfect jump for the smaller kids to see how big a stack of car tires they could clear. I picked one too many that day, and showed up to my classmates birthday party the next day looking like I was straight out of a horror movie. I concluded that the red Sears Free Spirit 20″ wheel BMX that I had once loved was partly to blame, and that I needed a GT Interceptor to improve my jumping abilities. The next spring I had enough saved for it but managed to talk my mother right past that, and the GT Mach One, into subsidizing the black Robinson MX Pro that I hadn’t even seen before that day. I don’t plan on ever losing that one.

  19. 05LGT

    My first bike was pieced together from several broken bikes at the dump. I had to have been 5, because I remember a parent at either end of the block giving me a push start to wobble down toward the other. It was almost far enough to keep them from fighting. The marriage had less than 6 months left. A black lab jumped it’s fence mid block and knocked me off with paws to my side. I was so outraged that I found out dogs can’t wrestle for shit and bit the hell out of it’s ear while I choked it and squeezed it in a childs figure 4. Dog’s owner rushed out in time to get knocked on his ass by one pissed off dad. Mom chewed on both of us for the next hour or so, but we kept exchanging “we won” eyebrows and nods. About a month later we found a banana seat with a high rise sissy bar, and my bike became cool for a while.

  20. Dan

    My first bike was a Raleigh RSW16 with 16 inch white tires that looked like they were made of Goodyear Blimps – it had the 3 speed Sturmey Archer, a tartan trunk made form a dead Scotsmans sporran, a front dynohub and the drag of a dead rhinoceros. My dad & grandad only spent the years salary as a divorce was pending – it was some kind of atonement. The tires turned to powder and it was lethal in the rain or snow, so bad I got to know a kindly old lady who was always there when I came off the thing at least 3 time on the same bend outside her house. I developed calves like the above rhino pedalling this heap around the town for about a year when finally a used Sun 10 speed came my way. They actually made a moped version called the Wisp which my masochistic side craved for, there has to be treatment available !!

  21. Noah Sternchos

    I had this same exact bike! Same model and color! Thank you. I’ve been searching for years for a picture of it.

  22. Bill McGuirk

    Let me know if you ever think about selling it. Had the exact same bike, same color growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s in NY.


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