1970s Homemade chopper bike-- love the pack of smokes tucked just within reach on the forks.
Back in the day, you most likely graduated from your Schwinn Stingray straight to a 10-speed– the big leagues, baby. Maybe there was something in-between, a hand-me-down 3-speed or 5-speed– but more than likely you just made the big jump. I remember some pretty crafty adaptions– like wood blocks taped to the pedals to get you over the hump until you grew into the bigger bike.
And there were always guys like our friend above– that guy whose old man or older brother was a welder, or maybe he was a metal shop junkie himself. Anyway, he’d build some crazy bike, and it’d become his signature– he’d be that guy with the wild ride. The two would become inseparable in your mind– even years later when the bike was long gone. The guy had to have a mustache too– that was like an unwritten rule. You just couldn’t have a wild bike guy without the ‘stache– it wouldn’t work.
Man, those were the days– not like today. It wasn’t like most teenagers had cars, the way it seems now. If you were lucky, you got to drive an old family car that maybe you even shared with your siblings. Spoiled kids got cars, the rest of us dealt with getting rides, pedaling our bikes– or we busted our humps at a job to buy a used car. You didn’t get everything handed to you then– we called it character building. Today it’s all about immediate gratification and convenience, for the kids– and the parents who don’t have the time or interest to mold their kids. Maybe that’s one reason personal character is becoming scarce. Nobody wants to bother with learning or earning. Just give it to me.
Love this shot-- 1970s California chill beach style at its best. Makes me want to throw-on a pair of OP shorts and head for the beach on my Schwinn.
1970s California criusin' on an old Schwinn ten speed bike. I remember everyone turning their handlebars back like that-- or flipping them around completely. He kinda looks like a young Tom Cruise.
The always excellent Hollister Hovey did a great story on NYC Hardcourt Bike Polo. She’s right– these guys do look intense– with the chap on the far left throwing some downright menacing Clockwork Orange vibe.
Pictured above is daredevil Robert “Evel” Knievel on his Harley davidson, 1971.
If you were a boy growing up in the 70s, then this guy was probably at the top of your hero list. Man, one of the best Christmas gifts I ever got as a kid was the Evel Knievel action figure and motorcycle that I’d launch across the room- off ramps- down the stairs- off the porch- wherever. I completely idolized him. And how great was the white leather stars-and-stripes stunt suit? He was like an awesome combination of The Fonz and Captain America.
The other cool thing about him is that Evel Knievel never backed out of a jump, never made excuses, and never showed any fear. He had to know some jumps were going to end badly- didn’t matter. If he said he’d do it, he did it. He had 433 broken bones during the course of his career to show for it.
Sadly he passed away on November 30, 2007, but his legend will definitely live on for a long time to come.
I found his classic jumps on YouTube today and introduced him to my boys. The verdict was– Whoa, awesome!