Wheelies? Evel Knievel Had Nothing on Me


The bike I got for Christmas when I was 10 years old — a dark blue Deluxe Renegade like the one above — was an absolute pocket rocket.

I could pedal that sucker so fast that my feet were a blur.

Once, I raced a high kid in his Volkswagen, from a standing start, and I blew his doors off.  

But being a certified speed merchant wasn’t enough, at least not on Nebraska Street in 1966.

You also had to do wheelies.

And, for what seemed like an eternity, I could not pop a wheelie.  Not even a little one.

The older kids suggested that I should try wearing one of my sisters’  frilly pink dresses.  

Try though I might, I simply could not get my front wheel off the ground.  But I was not a quitter, so I practiced for hours and hours every day after school. 

Then one fine day I lifted the front wheel four or five inches off the ground and let out a whoop.

I had jerked back as hard as I could on the gooseneck handlebars exactly when my front tire hit the buckled pavement in front of our house.

That three-quarter-inch bump gave me just enough lift to break free from gravity.  At least a little bit.  But I wanted more.

I bet I rode across that bump 10 million times a day, jerking backwards on the handle bars with all my might.


Then one day it happened. I have no idea why, or what I had done differently, but it happened.

I brought the front tire way up.  It literally flipped the bike right on top of me.

Thankfully, my head broke the fall and there was no damage to my Deluxe Renegade.

It must’ve hurt a lot.  There was blood involved, and maybe a few stitches.

But what I remember is that I had experienced flight — a real wheelie.

I had become a man that day.  Like Evel Knievel.

And life on Nebraska Street was good.

2 Responses to “Wheelies? Evel Knievel Had Nothing on Me”

  1. Pearl says:

    That was great fun!! Nice writing. 🙂


    p.s. Any bike with a banana seat is cool. But a STINGRAY? Wow.

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