As usual with all of my writings that are of immense emotional importance to me, it sometimes takes alot of time to get going. Loser that I am. I guess it was sometime around 1971 or 1972 in the North Bronx. I lived on Mace Ave in the Projects.
I don't really remember exactly the first time I ever saw someone on a bike riding around at that age, I just remember that I wanted one of those Raleigh Chopper bikes
or the Apollo Five speed.
It's weird though, at the time I was much more obsessed with these chopper bikes because they had a shift stick kind of deal for the shifter, ape hanger bars, slicks for tires... you get the deal now don't ya? So anyway I was busting my father's chops like every 5 seconds, "Dad I want a bike, please get me a bike". So he picked up this 5 speed from Korvettes Department store which is not around anymore. At least from the picture on the box this thing was a bad ass and the color was gold.
It came unassembled or semi-assembled. Now at this time, my Pop was working at night as a New York City Taxi Driver and also going to Pace University to finish his degree, so he had a pretty full plate.
I guess it's a good thing good ol' Korvettes went out of business because, after like losing his mind, he went back to the store and found out, that they shorted him on some of the hardware and the docs. Bad scene. Guess, I should never mention Korvettes in my Pop's presence.
So he gets this documentation and it's just completely substandard and FUBARED, and my dads getting pissed! You know can just see it in his eyes, and he is like doing that biting your fist thing and growling. But you see, even though he was pissed about it, he really did not want to be a downer, so he kept working it. Finally he gave up, and he found this hardcore steel ass single speed street bike, with the un-cool roadie saddle. Just remember that the image from velo cult is NOT the exact bike, it's just the best visual example I can find at this time.
The thing was a beast!!! It was too big, like in a very unsafe way!! It was the epitome of punk and hardcore man, outright. Now I am about 6 or 7 at the time. So it is strange, but bike shops, made these wooded or rubber blocks for your pedals so you could like adjust size or compensate (supposedly) from frame size issues. So basically my feet literally could not touch the ground and I am at the top off this hill and my dad starts pushing and telling me to pedal like a mad man and go!!!!!, and finally gives me a push and launches. I can hear Ozzie's cackle in my heading, All Aboard hahahahaha.
And I am out of the cannon, going for it, wind in my hair flying like breeze on the steel devil!!! But it is so righetious. My small 6-7 year old mind just on fire, with the wind in my hair and I am pedaling like there is no tomorrow. Just me, concrete, rubber and steel.
And then BOOOM!!!! I crashed, and I mean it's crying time and in the most traumatic intensity, like I thought I was with broken bones, But just bruised up. My dad I know was trying to do it right, but now he felt soo bad I think, and also I think he was like "This dude has heart, he needs a proper and correct bike". So we went down to a bike store in the Bronx on Allerton Avenue and he got me a badass grey bike, with a black banana seat and a yellow racing stripe.
Then in Saint Bernards when I was maybe in fourth or fith grade I finally got the Ross Apollo from Danny's Rideaway in Levittown, then I fell for the stupid "hey let me ride your bike trick", oldest trick in the book used against the most gulliable. When I told my dad this, well things got directive in nature let's just say.
But back to the Bronx and the crash. So my Dad I guess we can say is pretty much single-handedly responsible for instilling my passion for velo culture. At least I know I hope to be cycling well into my golden years, and that by that time I can say that I have seen some more beautiful travels and times. I know in my father's older years as adult he had some really good times over the years on a bicycle occasionally, however, he did not have the time available nor the opportunies and perhaps permission to ride in his age childhood ages. Some of us at times... We end-up becoming non-ambulatory for whatever reasons and therefore we were not mobile either temporarily or permanently. This sucks in every way conceivable, so this next ride I take Pop.
Well those wheels... theyre a gonna pedal for you my man!
It sound's like this story it kind of harsh. Well it is, but the harshnessness is what is so rad about it. My Dad's persistence and attitude forged my passion for cycling and the pursuit for my perfect bike, led me to master the art of bike riding at such a young age, and also to not be scared about pain, or the agony that comes with epic failure when riding or skateboarding.
So in a nutshell whatever we do as human beings on this planet, if we fail, if we crash, even at times over and over. What must we do? We must "Brush the Dirt Off" -- "Get up and Try Again"
I mean what else should we do in the 5 boros?
Stay tuned for more stories from the five boros.
Lets go out and ride and skate.