The first real taste of freedom didn’t come on 4 wheels but rather on 2. To a kid, having a bicycle was better than anything else that could possibly be imagined. Until I was 16 years old I would still use a bike to get around some. My first bike was actually a hand me down bike from my sister. My first new bike was one that I got the Christmas of 1968. It was one of those traditional looking bikes with saddle baskets on the back (not sure what the purpose of those things were but who cared!). I can also remember riding a 10-speed all the way across Elizabeth City to hang out at my best friend’s house. What a great town for riding a bike in… big enough to feel like you were actually going somewhere but yet small enough that your parents didn’t freak out every time you left the house.
But let’s face it… it wasn’t being old enough to own a 10-speed to ride across town… The dream was much slicker, more stylish, more hip than that. We all wanted a bike with the banana seat. You remember, the one styled so that you might could fit a friend on the seat with you.. with the little bar in the back where they could hold on. But not just any bike with a banana seat.. oh no. We wanted the greatest of all bikes.. the one that separated the “haves” from the “have nots”…we wanted a Schwinn Sting Ray. But the true pinnacle of coolness was not the basic Sting Ray but one of the Krate series.. they came in Apple, Orange, or Lemon Krate versions… each equally cool in their own rights.. with the knob 5 speed gear shift…. Oh, to just own an Apple Krate… I may have actually had some cool points back then… if only…..