Me in Argentina sporting the wheelie crown at a mighty young age on my bad ass trike.
A while back my mom sent me some old photos of me on my first bike in Argentina and some pics of me with my banana bike back in the day in good ‘ol Cleveland. As a young boy in the 70s having a bicycle and not just any bike, a banana seat chopper, wheelie bike, was my elevation to independence. To ride with the summer breeze in my face anywhere and anytime without wearing out my kicks and in record time was the freedom I longed for as a boy. We couldn’t afford the classic Schwinn Sting-Ray bikes ( the Apple-Krate, Orange-Krate, Grey Ghost etc…) but for my birthday, my single, hard working mom was finally able to afford a less expensive knock off from the then only mass retailer, good’ol K-mart. But I didn’t care. Just the fact that I was finally getting a two-wheeled armored mare of my own made me feel like a knight ready to joust! It was better than the Schwinns! It was a fiery red, had flames on the chain guard and seat, and could leave a braking skid that would’ve made Evil” Knievel jealous.
This bike became my chariot and of course foreshadowing the same type of importance my first car would have. I customized it with STP stickers, added a racing flag pole to the back seat, side mirrors, in other words, “tricked it out”. The bike not only became a mode of transportation but a reflection of who I was. Later on I also came to realize, it’s not just what is on the outside but what was inside of me. It wasn’t where I went but how I got there, the heart and the journey, that is what truly defined me then and still does today.
“Ralphie Applecrate, the Wheelie King!”.