Saturday, August 1, 2009

Hell On Wheels

My very early days as a motorcycle hellion weren't on a motorcycle at all but a 1968 red Schwinn Typhoon (red must have symbolized something to my bike, red house, Irish Setters?)
with playing cards clipped to a fender brace by a clothes pin to really cop that authentic
Electra-Glide flapping sound. My good buddy Jack had a Huffy his dad bought from the Western Auto where you could also buy these 45's by singers imitating the same hits of the day at a fraction of the cost. I was always envious of Jack's bike because for one; Huffy sounded like Harley, you know, Huffy Davidson. Plus his bike had a headlight and kind of a feux gas tank and a luggage rack that ran across the top of his back fender and I think even white wall tires. All very Harley like.
My ride was bare-bones but sleek I kept telling myself, after all, it was a Schwinn.
A few years later, after running out of playing cards, my neighbor got a brand new Bonanza mini bike and proceeded to tear up the back field. After weeks of watching Pete wear down his own trail and days on days of whining and begging as I stood from our patio, I finally got my dad to cave.

There it was, in my driveway. A beat-up blue, two and a half horsepower, JC Penny, with a hunk of black vinyl wrapped around a chunk of foam stapled to a small, thin piece of plywood for a seat. I didn't care, it had Born To Raise Hell written all over it. After a year or two of intense backyard mini bike motocross, my rig disintegrated and my neighbor graduated to a
Suzuki 90 road bike which I managed to" borrow" several night...when people were sleeping...including my neighbor.

Photo Of Schwinn Typhoon (not mine)

Photo of mini bike (also not mine)


  1. LOVED the mini bike as a kid! of course it was Truly my brothers first bike, only one of many, many over the last 35/45 years.
    Pretty cool!

  2. its pretty close to the one I had but blue!

  3. Don't know how I missed this post before, but I'm catching up today, so.....

    No mini-bikes for the Van Arman fam. But Steve Dreyer in the red brick house across the street had one, and though he was kind of a tool and I was a lot younger than he was, sometimes he'd give me a ride down the dirt road that was Lakeland Drive. After the first ride, I had a major crush on Steve. Funny, his sister had an Irish Setter named Wendy.

    Red houses, Irish setters, mini-bikes, the name Wendy.... I'm gettin' the creeps.