I was driving to work a couple of days ago and saw a young man on a green crotch rocket that completely reminded me of the bikes Della and I had as kids. Not the first 3 speed bike that was far to big and bought at St Vincent De Paul in the Pike Place Market. But the two matching bikes that looked like motorcycles. Green plastic gas tanks, green and silver plastic fenders and manifolds oh and peddles to make it go. Mom bought the bikes at Sears and Roebuck I think, delivered right to Haines Alaska and we spent several summers on them.
Seeing this motorcycle on my way to work brought back several memories, I’ll get to those. In the mean time I have spent
two complete days a little time during the last two days looking for a picture of the bikes we had, or something similar. What I have found is nothing…oh and comments on how unsafe it would be to have moulded plastic gas tanks on bikes cause they could break and have a sharp edge and might hurt your precious pride and joy.
I am here to tell you that those plastic tanks were sturdier then you think. I layed that bike down several times, gravel roads and all. The worst was when we were riding into town (that’s how you said it) about 5 miles. Going down a large hill that had recently been graded so all the gravel from the sides was pushed back over the whole thing. I slid and went over the handle bars onto my head, over and over into the ditch. My bike was finally toast, however I don’t think I was cut by that plastic tank. Della rode ahead to the Taylor’s and they came and picked me and the bike up in the back of the truck and took me back to the cannery. I still have scars on my elbow and both knees, mom pulled the gravel out of my forehead and that was that. No Dr.’s, no helmets, no knee-wrist-ankle-any guards at all….and we lived.
However the story that came to me when I saw that bike this week was probably one that hurt far worse than that spill, one that still mortifies me. Della and I had been swimming in the bay. When the tide went out to far and it was just to rocky we headed inside. I had started to change out of my wet swimsuit and I got on my bike to ride down to the cannery store/office to ask mom if we could have an ice cream. I parked the bike and walked up the steps and into the store, turned the corner into moms office and her eyes got big. She asked me “sweetie, where are your pants.” Yep I rode down to the store in my shirt and panties. I had been in a swimsuit all day so I am guessing I didn’t notice. I hid behind my mom’s chair, then wrapped her sweater around my waist and walked home. I made Della walk down there and get my bike because in my over dramatic ways couldn’t show my face back down there.