First off, in modern times do girls ever wear dresses to ride a bike anymore? Didn’t that go out of style about the same time as side saddles for a horse? So why do girl’s bikes still have that downward curve in the frame ahead of the seat? And a better question: Why have boy’s bikes never had that same curve? Any man who’s ever rode a bicycle has at some point ended up rearranging the family jewels when falling straddle of the frame. You lay there in the street in exquisite agony while the adults in their cars ease around you snickering and pointing at you.
And what about bicycle seats? Way back when, my first bike was a hand-me-down Huffy that was too small for me. It was so old I think my great-great-great grandfather (on my dad’s side) rode it to Texas from Tennessee. And he must’ve been a small guy because the bike was this dinky little thing with tiny sprockets. All my buddies could outrun me with ease. How embarrassing for a young man in his formative years. But my folks did at least buy a new banana seat for it. It was comfy to sit on, which was about the only positive memory I have of my first bike.
Realizing that this wasn’t working out, they found a Schwinn at a yard sale and surprised me with it. But it had the opposite problem. I’m sure the bike would have been a perfect fit for Shaq O’Neal or Michael Jordan. But I was a short-legged 11 year-old white kid with all the physical grace of a hippo on Percocet. The only way my feet could reach the ground was to straddle that damnable frame in front of the seat. And speaking of the seat, I earnestly believe that it was designed by some corrupt company that sold a drug to treat bruised testicles. One could not sit upon it without having to move’em to one side or the other.
Finally when I was around 12 or so, my folks surprised me on Christmas morning with a brand new Huffy “Dragster.” It was purple with black trim. Had a tall sissy bar. Had a stick shift. Had a big old comfy banana seat – black trimmed in silver. I was out the door and gone. Missed Christmas lunch. Didn’t open my other gifts until that night. I was cruising and feeling that insane joy that only young boys can know when they’re on top of the world. And all my little buddies were stopping me to “oooh and ahhh” over my new ride. My head almost needed a wide load sign. Good memories.
But let’s get back to seats. Why in Dante’s Hell did the banana seat go away? Was there ever a more comfortable seat on a bicycle? I look at the seats on modern bikes and wonder how they don’t end up six inches up the rider’s butt (or maybe they do). Perhaps this is why most of the bike riders I see are standing on the pedals? Jeez…
And back to the frame design – are guys nowadays so insecure about their masculinity that they just gotta have that potential ball-buster right in front of the ball-buster they’re sitting on? Because, you know, guys can’t be riding no little girlie bike. When I was a kid I didn’t know any better. It was just what was. But now? Gimme a girlie bike with a banana seat. I’m too old to care what anyone thinks about it. You wanna crack your eggs on a steel pipe or a seat that looks more like a sex toy, be my guest.
And bicycle helmets? Where did this nonsense come from? When I was a kid if you wore a helmet on a bicycle you became the town sissy. And now they have laws requiring helmets on a bike? This must be the work of some squishy liberal who got a black eye as a kid when he took that trip over the handlebars. We’ve all gone over the handlebars. Most of us more than once. Hell’s bells I did it on a sidewalk in the courthouse square in Fairfield, TX and landed up against the door of Dr. L. L. Bonner’s office (convenient). Back then they weren’t “clinics” or “wellness centers.” It was the “Doctor’s Office.” Nowadays if you ask where the doctor’s office is, someone’ll probably tell you it’s somewhere inside the clinic.
You don’t need a frigging helmet to ride a bicycle. Guys might consider an athletic cup however. Or just ride a girlie bike.
Take care, be safe and stay healthy y’all. And until next time, au revoir.
NOTE: The Schwinn and the Huffy Dragster pictured were not mine. They’re somewhat accurate representations of what I had, but the images were scrounged from the Internet. I pixelated faces and brand names for all the normal legal reasons.