Lovely Bikes I Have Known: The Yellow Hot-rod Bike

Two and three wheeled bicycles were my main mode of transportation, escape, and income during my first two decades.

Here’s a story about a lovely bike I have known…

The Yellow Hot-rod Bike (1973)

My hot-rod bike was a lot like this, except no handbrakes… (Oh how I fussed over it.)

When I was in grade 3, Dad bought me my first two-wheeler, a pint-sized yellow bike with a long padded black leather saddle and chrome fenders. It looked like a hot rod to me, with its leather, shiny chrome and big inflatable tires.

Unfortunately, at the time Dad bought it for me we were living in the country, on the transmitter site of the radio station where Dad worked as Chief Engineer. There was no pavement, just sand and bumpy dirt roads. Because of this, I really didn’t take to my new bike and didn’t learn to ride it – but my little sister Kim did!

At just five years old, Kim would hop on my bike and ride it off down the road as far as she could and then stop (or fall off), walk the bike back around to face the direction she’d come from, and cycle all the way back. She was fearless, in her own little way.

The following year, when we were living in Victoria again with our beloved grandfather, the surroundings were all cement sidewalks and paved roadways all around. Someone – I vaguely remember a teen-aged male – encouraged me to get on my bike. The teen held my handlebar while I pedaled along, and pretty soon I was booting down the block on my own, past the front of my grandfather’s yard.

I remember braking and wobbling as I gingerly negotiated a ninety degree turn on the corner, and then off I went, pedaling like mad, racing down the other side of the block. It felt so good to be so fast and so free!

Kim had her own little bike by then, but she needed to learn how to turn corners, something she’d never had to contend with out on those long straight dirt roads in Langley. Soon enough she did master corners, and would often follow me and my pals on our many biking ventures around Victoria.


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The memoir and family history of E. John Love