When I was a kid I remember watching E.T for the first time. Being so young I was really affected by the movie and story line. I would imagine myself being Elliot and meeting an Alien from outer space. What a thrill and scary opportunity that would be!
One thing I did take away from that movie though was I had to have that bike. Many think it was BMX but actually the real bike was called a Kuwahara. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s this style was en vogue. It had the awesome frame with bold tires and included the wheel pegs for passengers or the more savvy trick riders.
I never did all the trick-ing but I definitely had the bike. Mine had an all red frame with white rims and black tires. It had the forward slant look too which I just loved! My Dad picked it up at a garage sale so it needed a little work. I had to tighten up the handlebars and seat. The chain needed some cleaning and lubrication. I also buffed out any rust spots in the chrome on the handlebars and pedals.
I would cruise all over the neighborhood with that bike thinking I was Elliot. I would imagine I would get speed enough to take flight and soar in the sky and leave the world behind. I often would think that it would be a great escape. I didn’t have that awful basket on the front though.
The coolest part of the bike was the gear differential. Every now and then i would meet a rider who would want to race and thinking their ten speed would easily beat me. I knew that it didn’t matter how many gears you had really. What mattered was the power on the pedals. Plus the proper gearing that gave you the best torque to harness that power.
This bike had the special gear position and I literally dusted many would be challengers. You would just start standing and just pedal with a consistent downward thrust and you would be able to stay in front no problem.
That of course made me a little popular in the neighborhood. That summer I got that bike was also the summer I met Phil. We bonded over riding bikes. He had a similiar bike like mine but in blue and had more chrome. I was stronger than him but we were pretty evenly matched.
That was a pretty magical summer for me. We went everywhere together on those bikes. We would do our paper routes together and hit the local diner every Saturday. We would ride for 30 miles sometimes. It didn’t matter, our bikes would get us there.
After we grew though times changed and we grew apart. Then i got my license and drifted away from biking for a short time. When you start driving it is hard to consider riding again when you can there in less than half the time.
Last I heard my friend was working in Florida at a roofing company called http://www.roofingclearwaterpros.com. He never got back to biking like I did. Life got too busy for him raising a family and working two jobs.
That was a magic wheelin’ E.T. Stylin’ summer that I will never forget. It is funny how those things happen in a moment of time and then slowly fades into a distant memory.
The magic of wheels.