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Wheels of Freedom

Wheels of freedom ,a look back at life as a kid

As a kid growing up in a big Family lets just say we didn't have it all. My family wasn't poor but we like most Families in our town got by. Most of our mothers stayed home and ran the house while our Dads were working in the factory or Mill.

In most houses the kids were all pretty much a year or two apart and we all knew everyone. One thing most of us had was a bike. Learning to ride a bike was the first step to freedom. I think I was in grade two when I mastered the art.  Then you had to get a bike.

Us kids were always on the look out for parts of bikes. We would wait for garbage day and ride double on our buddies bike looking.  Riding double was either sitting on the crossbar or handle bars of a bike or if you did weigh to much, you sat on the back fender.  

It took almost a year of searching with no luck.Then we found some old wheels front and back. The Rileys were moving to a new house and throwing them out.  

Handle bars came next; we found them in the vacant lot behind the church where the fort was. We picked a seat up from behind the Atlantic gas station. The hard thing was the frame.  We looked all summer and most of the fall for one -- no luck.

My Dad who worked all the time saw most of junk parts in the yard didn't say anything about it. It was almost winter when one day My Dad came home with a complete 26" frame.  It was rusted up a lot and looked like it had seen it's better days but it was all mine.

We took it to basement to store until spring. Most of our spare time that cold winter was cleaning the junk parts.  We steel wooled the rims and spokes, fixed the chain and sprocket, oiled up the ball bearings and polished the handle bars.  I cleaned up the frame with some sand paper, patched the flat tires.  My older brother wrapped the seat with electrical tape -- it looked great too.

As the cold months of winter rolled on I could see this once pile of junk turning into something. By March of that year, we were ready the only thing left to do was to paint the frame and put all the parts together.  My big brother said he would paint it for me.  He was good at that.  

March came and my brother and I hauled all the parts up from the basement.   My Dad brought a can of flat black spray paint home.  My Brother sprayed on the first coat and we waited till it dried then the next coat. Again, we waited till it dried.  We flipped it over and did the same to the other side.  It was cool  looking flat black.   I remember going to school and telling the other kids how cool it looked.  The other kids would stop on the way home and look.

March was still cool and most kids waited till spring was full blown before the bikes came out.  Most had their own bikes they had been working on during the cold of the winter.  I came home from school one day late in march and my Dad had a day off.  He was working on my bike he had the wheels on he was just about to put the handle bars and seat on when I came home.  

I helped with the chain and lined up the back wheel.  I pushed the peddles once to see if the back wheel worked then pushed hard to see if the brake worked. Then flipped it over the right way. There was my ride.

My Dad put the tools away as I stood there in warm afternoon sun just looking at what we created.  It was cool -- my very own frankenbike.  

I put a lot of miles on that monster of the roadway. I went places I never been and saw things I never saw that year.   All on the wheels of my very own Frankenbike -- how cool was that.

I don't think k;ids do that much of that anymore as matter of fact I don't see to many kids even riding bikes. They're loss for sure, as the fun I had is something I will never forget.

Where did you go on your wheels of freedom? 

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Livia Sappington July 05, 2012 at 06:59 PM
What a wonderful story! Your father sounds like he was a wonderful dad... Nothing like enjoying something you made yourself!!! I did not have "wheels", but I got hold of an "illegal" western magazine back in Hungary that was run by a Communist regime... What I saw in that magazine is what I wanted - I wanted to go to places and wanted to own nice things like those in the pictures... I came to the U.S. and most of my dreams came true! God, I love this country!
catmandu July 05, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Thanks for reading, Glad you had a chance to go for your dreams.I bet you have a few more yet to come. My Dad was a good guy I miss him and my Mom daily.

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