Christmas Bicycle Stories



Sep 13, 2007
645
24
Northeast Alabama
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I'll start off by relating some of the Christmas bicycle memories I have. The period before Christmas was always a busy time in the shop. This was before the mass merchants had the effect on the market as they do now. It actually always began in the late summer when the bicycle distributors would offer extended terms and special deals to dealers for the Christmas season. We would also gather all the used left-overs from the year before and cull out or recondition them for Christmas. We would start getting the new bikes assembled and the used ones on sale about the time school would start in the late summer. The reason for this was that we sold the majority of bikes for Christmas on lay-away and it gave the customers plenty of time to have them paid out before Christmas Eve. We built a lot of wheels and painted a lot of frames and installed lots of tires and tubes and cables etc. I can remember buying Bendix coaster brakes by the case and going through them pretty fast. We assembled lots of new bikes, both what we sold and what the customers bought from other stores. Some years, bikes would be in short supply like when Raliegh came out with the Chopper and you had to place a qualifying order for all the other models just to get the Choppers. We tied a tag onto each bike sold and listed the sale price and what ever payment the customer had applied to that bike. Some customers would pay like two dollars a week until it was paid out. We had customers that bought a used bike for each member of the family and then came back a year or two later and bought used bikes for the whole family all over again. They may not have been new, but they were new to them. A lot of years we sold as many used bikes as we did new ones. We always held the lay-aways till Christmas Eve and the only time we ever opened on a Sunday was if it fell on Christmas Eve, but we only opened about 2:00 pm till 6:00 pm in that case. Christmas Eve was always the busiest day of the year with customers coming in to pick up their lay-aways and we spent most of the day tying bikes onto the roof of station wagons or in the trunk of cars. You always hoped that you had everyones lay-away ready for them to pick up and not be missing anyones bike or have a part missing or damaged. We always tried to keep an extra bike or two for that situation, but like with the Raliegh Choppers, it was hard to do. Most years we sold about everything we had. I remember one year my mom and dad gave me a nearly new 5 spd. Dayton Eliminator for Christmas. It was purple and had red stripped tires. It was one of my favorite bikes as a kid. Here is a pic made in the front of the shop just before Christmas Eve one year. And we had a bunch more in the rear too. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!!! Thanks!!!

 
Sep 27, 2007
709
2
Tempe AZ
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When I was about 10 years old in 1967 living in a small town in Ohio,I got a bike for Christmas. My family didnt have much money so it was a used bike,but that didnt matter to me it was my own bike.Christmas afternoon I met up with my two best buddies Randy and Rusty. They both got bikes as well,but thiers were brand new stingrays. I was just as proud of mine as they were of thiers.We went out for a ride around our little town. I can remember to this day my frustration as the chain kept falling off . My first lesson on bike mechanics.I had my dad adjust it later and all was well.Its funny I can hardly remember my grandkids names but I can remember that ride 4o years ago. :wink:
 
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I remember I was 10 or 11 and was really sneeky on christmas eve. I knew where the old hardwood floors creaked, and did my best to sneek down and see what was under the tree. There was a bike underneeth a blanket and I knew it was mine. It was a Mongoose Expert, my first "good" bmx bike. I didn't sleep the rest of the night, could'nt stop thinking of riding my new bike. That morning we had like 10 inches of snow, but I rode all morning and was so proud of my sweet bike. I still have that frame, probably keep it forever.
 
Feb 14, 2008
194
38
Minneapolis, MN
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When I was 13, I got a green Schwinn Varsity 10 speed. I was so excited about that bike. I kept it in my room just to admire it. Being wintertime in Minnesota, my parents said I had to wait until spring to ride it. That was tough. I decked that bike out with a generator light, speedometer and rear rack to help carry newspapers I delivered after school. I rode that bike everywhere. My dad rode it to work every once in a while, and one night it was stolen. I was crushed. The speedometer had over 2000 miles on it. Merry Christmas!
 
Nov 18, 2006
864
15
62
Mesa, AZ.
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One year a my wifes employer had a huge backstock of merchandise they were ready to dispose of.My wife asked them if they would like to Donate the merchandise to a local Cub Scout Pack.Her manager said "sure, but it has to be gone today" So we hauled it all out that day! We had a huge pile of brand new merchandise, the vast majority was kids toys!Our whole patio was jamb packed w/stuff! we hooked up with a local church and went to the task of providing Christmas gifts for several local families in need. Took all of us about a week to do.That year I had purchased new bikes for all three of my kids, they were on the patio with big red bows on them.Christmas morning after "all" the gifts were opened,I suggested to my kids that they go put their new locks on their bikes.My oldest son grabbed a screwdriver as to mount the U lock bracket on his bike and outside they went.I waited a little while and was wondering why I had not heard a commotion. I went outside and found them mounting the lock brackets on their old bikes and all the while "eyeballing" the new bikes!I could tell they were not aware the new bikes were for them. I informed them that they might want to mount the locks on their new bikes, the commotion comenced immediately! :mrgreen: Later & PEACE on earth!!!
 
Nov 18, 2006
864
15
62
Mesa, AZ.
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Actually Those were the only bikes I ever bought my kids! My two sons had bikes they had both earned selling popcorn for a scout fundraiser. They both worked their butts off to make sure they were top sellers in our region. And the bike my daughter had outgrown was one I had re-done (freebie) none of them were in really good condition as they were not much to brag about in the first place. I was pretty proud that they were not asking why they did'nt get new bikes! :wink: My 25 y.o.son still has his 96 Schwinn Cruiser 6.And my Daughter has a 64 Hollywood she helped to restore, Huffy Sea Star just sorta lost its cool factor! Younger son upgraded to a Haro 4 years later and the mongoose still hangs from the rafters.
 
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Hello Cashman and All,

I love these tales of the past, here's mine,

The year is 1968 and I wanted a 5 speed stingray, as the holiday season drew near I was
questioned daily what else would I like. I finally got the hint, there would be no stingray.
I had a paper route so I figured I just buy myself one in the spring, so I told my parents
how about a gas engine model plane. Sure enough Christmas morn the Caddillac of the skies
a P-51 Mustang was sitting there under the tree ready for takeoff but due to inclement weather
it was grounded underneath it's evergreen hanger. Well As the day went on my Dad was a little
curious himself so he decided to break the engine in, right there in the kitchen, neither of us had
any model airplane experience. Well we fuelled it up go the battery on the glowplug spun the
prop. That engine kicked right over--What a noise--exhaust fumes everywhere no way to turn the
darn thing off. Unburnt fuel was pouring out of the exit port making it difficult for my Da to keep
a good hold. All we could do was wait for it to run out of fuel, but alas the plane was too slippery
and gave itself clearance for takeoff ZOOM off it went and like the titanic on it's maiden voyage
it end sadly. As it flew directly into the brick wall of our fireplace.Total loss.
This all happened in about a minute and as me and my father looked at each other in shock.
He finally spoke "Should a got the bike".
Finall got a stingray 40 years later. :wink:

Cheers.
 
Sep 13, 2007
645
24
Northeast Alabama
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mrbill, I know that wasn't funny at the time. I had a similar experience myself. A group of freinds and I used to do a lot of control line flying. One guy wanted me to help him lauch a new Ringmaster Imperial that he had spent several months building from a kit. It had about a 56" wingspan and a built up fuselage with a .50 Fox. I attached the lines and started the engine while he was on the control stick. I had forgotten to close one of the snaps holding the lines. I released at his command and the down line fell of just as it started the roll off. All it had was full up. It did a full loop and the engine centered the second base plate of the baseball diamond we were flying at. It was a sad sight. Luckily we had a big trash bag to put all the pieces in. I still feel bad about that. Thanks!!!
 
Jul 31, 2008
3,939
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Newton, North Carolina
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One of my fave Christmases was the year I got a new Murray Monterey! This would have been the early 80's, when they were recently out. Had a bendix kickback 2 speed, Carlisle Lightning Dart tires, and I think two tone burgundy and red. What a sweet ride! Alas, I left it in the driveway later on and it got run over. ~Adam
 
Jul 24, 2008
1,038
8
Eugene, Oregon
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I remember being about 5 years old and waking up to find a red and white sears 16 inch bmx style bike under the tree. The only brand new bike I ever had. Then when I was about ten, I snuck out to see what Santa had brought and saw a yellow girls bike with sweet mag rims out there. I remember thinking "why'd they get me a girl's bike?" and being let down when I woke up later in the morning to find out it was my sister's... But then I got a sweet hutch for my birthday the next year so it was all good... Then this year, I gave my mother-in-law a Murray Meteor Flight with a SA 3 speed coaster that I had picked up earlier this year and she loved it. It was awesome to see the look on her face when I wheeled it in the living room. She had seen the bike when I first got it, but had no idea I'd be giving it to here. Honestly, this is my favorite Christmas experience with bikes so far. She was so excited. It was awesome.