I know some of you city dwellers are thinking,"What's the big deal in that?". The big deal is that I didn't live in the city. I lived three miles from the burgeoning metropolis called Marengo, where my school was at. And I was all of 12 years old.
Well, the big day finally arrived, and I was ready to go. Jim & Dave stopped by and we were on our way. Both of them had 10 speeds, while I had my BMX. There were times that they had to slow down for me to catch up. Dave had your run-of-the-mill 10 speed. Jim had a bike that was like no other.
Jim called his bike "The Ghetto Machine". It was a 10 speed bike with a banana seat and a huge sissy bar.The handlebars were from a 20 inch bike. It had two baskets, one on each side of the back tire. In one basket was a car battery, in the other, a CB radio, and a car radio that was rigged to the battery. A large "whip" CB antenna was attached to the back of his bike in which a raccoon tail had been tied to the top of. He also had a basket on the front of his bike to carry his pop & snacks. Jim was a big fella, and always had pop & snacks around. A large squeeze bulb horn on the handlebars completed the ensemble. It was quite the sight.
We made it to school without incident, but then it dawned on me, I still had to ride back home. Dave's dad worked in town, so he rode over to meet his dad there, that left me & Jim to ride home together. Since Jim rode to my house to pick me up, he suggested that we ride to his house first to drop him off, so that's what we did. I rode three miles to school. I rode six miles home. The school was three miles north of me. I found out that Jim lived three miles west of me. Up to that point, I had no idea where he lived since I only saw him at school.
That was just the beginning of riding into town on my bike. Once I got my 10 speed, I made it into town at least once a week. When the Butcher boys moved from beside us into Marengo, I knew that I could always stop in there for a cold drink and some good conversation. I even did stupid things like ride to Marengo and then turn right around and ride home just to see how fast I could do it. I rode to Marengo a lot, but never again to school because my seventh grade school building was about 12 miles away.
Did you live close enough to ride your bike to school?