Now, don't get me wrong, I wasn't a hoodlum or anything, it's just that when I was a kid, bikes were forbidden fruit. My parents were convinced (well, mostly my father) that bicycles were "too dangerous" so I wasn't allowed to have one.
It totally sucked. All of the other kids were out riding all over the neighborhood, and I was stuck, on the sidewalk on my over-sized tricycle feeling completely and totally humiliated.
|This looks very much like the trike I was stuck with|
|This is not the bike, but it's a pretty close replica|
And... well... I mean, it was just sitting there gathering cobwebs, and I really, really, REALLY wanted a bike.
Sooo... one afternoon when nobody was around, I grabbed a wrench, removed the training wheels, and my entree into the dark underground of bike-thievery began. There were some advantages to being a latchkey kid who had many hours without parental supervision - I don't think anyone figured out I had commandeered it for about a year.
I'm sure I must have fallen a few times teaching myself how to ride, but I have no memory of it. All I remember is that I FINALLY had a bike! And even though it was a horrible, heavy, ugly, uncomfortable dork-mobile, it was certainly a step up on the dorkdom ladder from the over sized tricycle, plus it was FREEDOM and I loved my ill-gotten booty with all my heart!
After it became clear that I wasn't going to give up the bicycle, my mother finally gave in and got me a "real" bike. It was a super cool lime green girly bike complete with a banana seat and handle bar tassels.
I guess this one doesn't really count as theft, since it was purchased for me, but it definitely counts as blackmail because Mom was terrified that I'd tell dad I'd been riding the bike for a year now. So she relented as long as I promised not to say a word to my father - oh the joys of growing up in crazy land!
|My banana bike looked much like this, only it was lime green|
Then a few years later I got a paper route and found myself in need of a workhorse bicycle. My mother had purchased herself an old Schwinn at a rummage sale, but she'd never actually ridden the thing (she and my brother were a lot alike in that sense.)
Sooo... I needed a paper route bike, and this bike had baskets and everything, and it wasn't being used...
Yup, you guessed right, I stole it, fixed it up, and it became my faithful companion every morning. It still sorta blows my mind, but I used to get up at 4am every day, come rain or shine and deliver the papers. I could ride down the center of the street and hit porches on either side!
|Imagine it with front & rear baskets heavily laden with newspapers|
By this point I was pretty deeply into bike-a-holic-ism, but my parents still hadn't given up on getting my brother interested, so they teamed up and bought him a shiny new yellow Schwinn. This was a pretty big deal, not only because it was a fancy bike, but because my divorced parents seldom spoke, and the fact that they did this together for my brother (and not for me) made me insanely jealous!
|It looked pretty much like this, only yellow|
OK... you know what's coming don't you?
The thing is... he just never rode the thing, and even though I had saved up my paper route money for a cheap department store 10 speed, this was a much nicer bike... and when he left for college without it...
Anyhow, there you have it... confessions of a childhood bike thief. The thing is.. a kid's gotta do what a kid's gotta do! And although it was an inauspicious beginning, I'm not sure I would have ever fallen in love with bikes like I did if I hadn't taken matters into my own hands.
You'll be comforted to know that I have reformed, and all of my adult bicycles have been duly paid for with cold hard cash!
So tell me... did you have a bike as a kid? I'd love to hear your childhood bike stories!