Adventures on a Folding Bike
When I was a young kid, about 12 or so, in the 1970s, my parents surprised my younger sister and I with new bikes. You know, the classic “sting-ray” style bikes that all the cool kids at school had. I can only imagine how long they had to save up in order to be able to buy those bikes for us. Mine was a Sears “Screamer 2”, 3-speed, with a 20 inch slick in the back and a 16 inch wheel in the front. I remember it had the double brakes in the back operated by the two grips on the handlebars. The 3-speed shifter was a center-console type mounted on the double cross bar. A Sears catalog from the era advertised a price of about $50.00 for each copy of my bike (there was a version that had really fancy butterfly style handlebars wrapped in a gold colored grip tape for $68.00). I imagine that Sears may have put the bikes on sale which made it possible for our parents to be able to afford them.
I remember pedaling this bike to visit my friends’ houses almost every day. One friend was within a half-mile of our house that was then out in the “boonies” (the block our house was on in those days had only two houses with a sea of grass all around us). The other friend lived around 2 miles away but he was in a more developed part of town. Also, during the summer, there was an activity camp at our elementary school that was about 4 miles away that I needed to ride my bike to get to since my father drove the family station wagon to work. Afterwards, I rode those 4 miles back home in the afternoon. It seemed pretty far for my young legs and mind. But now it would be a relatively easy trip with better bikes and the more than 90 miles of bike paths the city has installed. I will be visiting my old home town soon and will ride and document these paths in a future blog after my return.
As I recall, my sister’s was a light blue girl’s version of a “sting-ray” bike. I don’t remember if it had multiple gears like mine or if it was a single speed. However, I’m sure it was also from Sears since my father was a huge supporter of that that store. He was a mechanic and used to buy his Craftsman tools there and knew that if ever there was a problem, you could always bring them back for replacement. They extended that guarantee for everything they sold at the store. What a deal!
I really enjoyed this nostalgic trip down memory lane and hope you did too.