The Brat Patrol | A Long Time Ago, In a Neighborhood Far, Far Away…

Archive for August 20th, 2008

Hillcrest Bike Culture

Schwinn Stingray

Schwinn Stingray

We loved our bikes on Hillcrest (as most kids do). We could spend an entire day lapping the block over and over again. Most of the kids in the BRAT patrol had a BMX style bike, complete with pads covering all of the dangerous parts of the bike. My brother and I? We had the legendary Schwinn Stingray. The only complication? It wasn’t “cool” by the time we were aware of the concept of “being cool.” A yellow banana seat atop a metallic red frame might have cut it in the 70’s, but by the 80’s a banana seat would just get you chased by “the big kids.”

Christian (my brother) and I would try anything to make our curvy bikes more BMX-like: replacing the seat, different handle bar grips, pedals, tires… anything. Looking back though, I really loved that bike. It provided my first tastes of freedom, danger, and excitement… banana seat and all.

Eventually, most of us upgraded to multi-speed bikes. A few folks got 10-speed street bikes, but just about the time it was my turn to get a new bike, mountain bikes were becoming the new standard. They could take more abuse and looked a lot more like the BMX bikes that I longed for when I was younger, but they really never replaced the spot in my heart occupied by that old yellow and red Schwinn.

2 comments August 20th, 2008 by duane


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