You Did It Too

We all did.

You did it too

The current generation growing up right now has absolutely no clue what they are missing out on.

In 1971 at the height of the Evel Kneivel craze, I found a pair of motorcycle handle bars that my Dad had changed off the Yamaha 250 Enduro he was racing at the time, laying in the garage.

It took me quite a while to get them clamped on my bike because the diameter was smaller, they kept flipping back and  forward on me and dumping me in the street until I managed to find something to use as a bushing around them for the goose neck clamp to snug up on.

I started out with something that looked a lot like this,

old bike


Then I got rid of the Banana seat and put a regular bike seat on it. Then I took the fenders off and  put knobby mud tires on the front and back wheels.

I literally built a BMX bike from parts when I was 11 years old.

It kinda turned out like this but not as nice and the motorcycle handlebars were way too big, plus it still had the huge front sprocket.



See this kid?


Oh yeah, we did that.


We had an exact 100 foot football/hockey/baseball field  out in the street in front of the house. We measured it and spray painted ten foot markers and goals on the asphalt.

One day we decided to build a ramp to see how far we could jump on our bikes.

There was a slight downhill grade in the street but not much.

The ramp was two feet tall and four feet long.

I pedaled my little ass off on that bike and jumped 32 feet.

Doesn’t sound like much, especially compared to the outrageous stunts you see these days but remember, this was literally almost fifty years ago now and on asphalt.

32 feet was a loooooooong fucking ways back then.

All my brothers, cousins and neighbor kids tried to see how far they could jump, trying to beat that.

My little brother almost beat me but when his bike hit the ground the frame broke in half and down he went in a heap of flying parts, elbows, knees and tennis shoes.

Tore his ass up good and literally broke that bike into two pieces.

Helmets were unheard of and still in the unconscious mind of some over protective control freak who had yet to rise to power.

Band Aids were cheap, plenty and common.

Speaking of such things, anyone else remember this shit?


The Devil’s Spit in a bottle complete with the glass applicator.

That funky Phosphorescent Pink color, the smell of anti septic, the fiery burn, the wicked smile in your Mom’s eyes every time she got to break it out…

My two Step brothers had just gotten brand new bikes from their Dad and oh boy was everyone else jealous.

These things were cool man.

Orange Krate

Except theirs had Sissy Bars on the back and Orange seats to match.

Spendy as Hell for a bike back in those days too.

Just like my cars now, even then my bike was a rolling multi colored mismatched collection of used parts.

The youngest hit the ramp as fast as he could go on that brand new fancy bike, he was only seven or eight years old and couldn’t even sit on the seat when he was pedaling, let alone work that fancy gear shifter.

He pulled up too hard on the handlebars,  landed on the back wheel  too far back and the front tire went straight up in the air. Fifty years later I can still see the three inch long  bright blue spark glowing in the middle of a dust cloud as that Sissy Bar drug on the asphalt.

Somehow or another he got the front wheel to come back down but by then he was completely out of control and just along for the ride at that point. His feet weren’t even on the pedals anymore, they were dragging alongside and behind on both sides and the only thing keeping him anywhere near attached to that bike was the Death Grip he had on the handlebars.

The bike decided to turn left into the driveway, he shot across that damn thing at full speed and hit a small pear tree that had two big branches in a fork and went over the bars and wound up stuck in the fork of that tree four feet off the ground just like something out of a cartoon. It took three of us to get him unwedged and back on the ground.

Fucked that brand spanking new bike up like nobody’s business too.

This was a typical Summer afternoon in North East Portland for us back in those days.

The fucking neighbors hated our asses and we went out of our way to fuck with them out of sheer boredom.

These poor kids  growing up now in this Electronic Age are severely deprived compared to us back then the way I see it.

Someday I’ll have to relate some of the fun we had way out in the Boonies after we moved back to Coos Bay.

It was nothing for us to ride them little bikes twenty miles a day and out there in the sticks were old Logging roads that had grown over to the point they were just trails.

Hills, trails, creeks the Bay and all kinds of mischief.

That was right around the time they came out with Pong now that I think about it.


19 thoughts on “You Did It Too

  1. Read Gordon Liddy’s book, “When I was a Kid, This Was a Free Country”. The last chapter is on Watergate. I lived through it and watched the hearings but I never understood it before.


  2. Merthiolate! That’s the lightweight stuff. My Mom would scrub my wounds out with alcohol until it hurt about twice as much as it did to start with then douse ’em with straight iodine.

    It got so I would have to hack a finger off before I let her know about it!


  3. It was in 5th grade that I hauled an old Schiwnn frame out of the creek. New seat, new tubes and tires, new pedals, reconditioned the chain, fixed the handle bars so they stayed in place. I was good to go or so I thought. I couldn’t figure out the kick back brake mounted on the rear wheel so just left that off.

    Big balloon tires so to stop I either dragged my feet in the dirt or ran into something. That meant I had to seriously plan ahead for the stop sign at the bottom of the hill, or more likely, plan my arrival to weave between any cross traffic while blowing through the stop. I rode that bike every day so got pretty good at sticking to selected routes so I knew every immovable object if need be. At school I had my favorite tree.

    One day, while aiming for the tree at school, two little girls in their pretty dresses suddenly walked dead into my path. I wouldn’t forgive myself if I hit them. So at the last second I called, Hey, Mary and swerved into her. Mary was my age and the first signs of love between us (meaning we loved to hate each other’s guts) was blossoming. I felt it was morally right that if I hit someone it should be a friend rather than two unsuspecting sweet little 1st graders in their pretty dresses.

    My pride and joy got destroyed when dad made unauthorized use to race my brother up and back down the really big hill. At the bottom he pulled into our drive then popped a wheelie and the front wheel fell off. That meant the forks plowed into the grass and poor ol dad went head over heels. The frame split in two and he ended up in traction for months. I almost killed my pa.


  4. yes! That Pong I can vividly remember when I saw it the first time! I was with my school class skiing for a week in the Alps. In the basement if that youth hostels there was this table-like contraption that was actually a big monitor in a wooden casing on the floor. You dropped five Shillings in and played for ten rounds. Man I spent almost all of my pocket money on that game and on the music player that was almost exclusively playing ABBA “Mama Mia” that just stormed the charts.


  5. Y’al got me beat when it comes to the really fun/dangerous stuff. My only Real Fun Time was when I was racing my brother and sister down a steep rocky hill, hit a LARGE rock and went over the handlebars sailing for at least 15 feet, only to use my face as a brake. Removed a large portion of my skin on chin, nose, and forehead. Don’t remember the landing, but the aftermath is vividly burned in my brain!! Picked out small grit and pebbles for two days. Merthiolate? Oh, yeah.

    Phil, where in Nort Portland did you live back then? I moved to Portland in the mid-80’s and lived on Chautauqua Blvd, 2 blocks north of Columbia park on Lombard. Moved back to Spokane just before ’98 because even back then Portland was getting *real* toxic. Small world…


  6. We had a concrete drainage ditch, with a sloped side placed just right to be a ramp. You rode as fast as you could, hit the ramp, jumped damn near across the street, and braked before you went into the ditch on the other side of the road. It was all fun, but passing motorists would have their heart stop, when they almost ran over the jumper.

    The local police officer allowed us to continue, but demanded a watcher before we jumped. He even watched as my brother sailed about 4 feet off the ground, and braked before he hit went over the other side.

    Merthiolate was necessary, and it was agonizing when Mom had to cover an entire knee.


  7. I grew up in the 60’s and merthiolate, mercurochrome were the go to tinctures when you got a scrape or a cut. I actually think moms used these to teach us to not come whining and crying home after an ‘accident’. Now a days you see people call the damn ambulance for boo boos.

    I never got the video game bug when Pong and its next generation game ‘Pac Man’ came along. I just could not see wasting my money in an arcade feeding quarters into a machine instead of saving or buying something I wanted.

    We always found something to do that got us out of the house and on our own. There wasn’t a lot to fear other than our own stupidity back then growing up in the Adirondacks. These days I would be a lot more cautious due to the potential pedophiles that seem to have grown in numbers since we were kids.

    I have grand kids that are high school age and they are more interested in their phones than anything else. Too bad. There still is a really neat world out there that can be explored at least legally for now before the tree huggers ban hiking (without a permit). 😉


  8. Man, that post brings up some memories, going camping and catching frogs, not going home from riding all over until the street lights came on, and everything that everyone already said.


  9. Between my bicycles and skateboards, my mother was buying Merthiolate by
    the case! America has been saddled with 2+ generations of pampered pussies
    who never got to experience the risks inherent in life. Yes, we did do some
    stupid shit when we were kids, but that was a part of the learning process.

    There is a world of difference between getting treated for a scuffed up knee and
    eating laundry detergent and snorting condoms!


  10. My Doctor’s office and clinic has signs up telling parents to NOT freak out when they’re kids come home dirty from playing, and that TOO MUCH use of “hand sanitizers” and “antibiotic cream” is bad. Turns out that kids need germs at that time in their life so they develop immunity to many other minor bugs.

    They basically said if they’re that dirty, then hose ’em off in the back yard, and march ’em to the bath tub!


  11. We used to come blasting down the blacktop, cut into my Grandfather’s horse field and launch off of a rock ledge that jutted a foot out of the ground. The hill dropped off on the other side, which made your air time a lot longer than if the ground was flat. I don’t know how far it was, anymore, though we used to keep track. It was a damn long way on a BMX bike, with no suspension. I too know what it felt like to go flopping through the ticky weeds when the frame snapped off at the steering head. When I graduated to a 10 speed, the old bike was more 6013 welding rod and 1/4″ mild steel gussets than anything.
    Mercurochrome and alcohol were my mother’s go to antiseptics. My grandfather used Blue Coat spray.- if it was good enough for cows, it was good enough for kids.

    Whitehall, NY


  12. Got one better: Mercurochrome (sp?) Shit smelled like ass, and burned just as bad.. and two other words: Big Wheel. Mattel’s contribution to post-factorum abortion I swear… damned Big Wheels prolly killed more kids than a bike ‘back in the day’ LMAO


  13. Oh yeah, “Sangre De Chango” (Monkey Blood), shit that stuff hurt ! Your arm could be hanging by a thread and you’d still tell them it didn’t need it.

    We weren’t jumping our bikes for distance, but I remember the time the front wheel left the yoke and stuck into ground, flipping bike onto my back. My friends laughted their asses off (Fuckers!!), but I did the same when similar happened to them. During a tackle game of football in a friend’s yard, i gave one of them temporary amnesia when I tackled the fuck out of him. Good times … good times. He remembered who we were, just couldn’t recall where he lived and other details. We took him home and called the game even. He was back to being his old asshole self the next day – no harm, no foul.

    Kid Adventures – yeah, I miss those days too . . .


    • We called it, “Monkey Blood”, too!

      Pong – a friend of mine had it. We played it for all of maybe 10 minutes, figured it was pointless, then it was “Let’s go outside!”.


  14. Sore/strep throat/canker/”coated tongue”? Mom would paint it with merthiolate! She saved the mercurochrome for external use only. Still prefer iodine for ingrown nails, cuts to the quick, cuticle tears etc.


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