On my next birthday after learning to ride without training wheels, I got my very own bike. It was a sweet Stingray-styled Sears Spyder Bike, gold with a tiger-skin pattern banana seat. I was stoked. Not only was it my very own, brand-new, bike but it was also exactly like the one my best friend, Rusty Fox, had. Now we had a bike gang (of two), riding identical bikes!
(Oddly, I found out, a year or two ago, that this was also Dave Webb's first bike. We saw one at Velo Swap, and both started talking about how it was our first...) See a picture of one here.
A couple of days after I got the bike, Rusty and I were riding from my house to his, and we started to take our normal shortcut across the driveway of the Crockers' house, behind the duplex where my family and I had lived before buying a house, and into Rusty's back yard. As we crossed the high point in the center of the Crockers' gravel drive, flat-out and pedaling hard, I clipped the ground with my right pedal.
The platform of the pedal popped off the spindle, and I barely managed to avoid crashing. Once we got stopped, I was in a panic. I'd only had my bike for two days, and I had broken it!
Of course, I thought my dad was going to kill me. He had given me the standard "use the kickstand...I don't want to see you dropping this bike on the ground" lecture, and had pointed out how lucky I was to have such a nice bike, and I'd better take care of it, etc., when I got the bike.
Now, the bike was broken and I was probably on my way to military school.
Before I could get into a full-on screaming frenzy, Rusty came up with a plan. Rusty was good at plans. The fact that they always backfired and got one or both of us a spanking and a grounding never kept me from trusting them, implicitly. Just because the previous thirty had backfired didn't mean that this one wouldn't work; did it?
Part one of the plan was simple: I would ride his bike, with two good pedals, home and park it in the garage as if it was mine. No one would notice, since we had identical bikes.
Part two would take some figuring. Somehow or another, we would have to get a new pedal and put it on my bike. Then, we could swap back, and none of the grown-uos would be any the wiser. The fact that neither of had any money, nor any way to get to the store without our parents driving didn't occur to us. Small details, like that, tended to rear their ugly heads as Rusty's plans progressed in the real world.
So, I rode Rusty's bike home, at the end of the day, and parked it in the garage. About ten minutes later, Daddy went out to the garage for something and came back in.
"Why is Rusty's bike in the garage?" he asked. "Where is yours?"
What? How could he know? Was he psychic? No, not psychic, or he would know where my bike was. So how, then did he know? How? How? How?
Amazing how your mind works, when you are 7 years old.
Rusty had been riding his bike for 6 months, before I got mine. And, the bike showed all of the dings, scratches and general abuse that a 7 or 8 year-old boy will inflict on his bike. You would have had to be blind to mistake his well-loved steed for my shiny new one. As I said, earlier, small details...
Of course, I broke down and cried and confessed, through sobs, to what all had transpired. I fully expected to be tied up and thrown in the dungeon (or, at least, forbidden to ride my new bike for a week) for trying to perpetrate the fraud that Rusty's bike was mine (not to mention that mine was broken)!
Daddy got on the phone to the Fox house, and made sure my bike was there and safe. Then, he told me that we could go to the store, the next day, and get a replacement pedal. No big deal. No lecture. Nothing.
What a relief!