Plaid Stallions had a Nerd Therapy Session that touched my heart:
From the time I was about 5, every Christmas and birthday, I would ask for a Big Wheel. Would I get one? No! My mother was adamant, and always thought she had good reasons; “You’ll outgrow it too fast”, or “We don’t have room to store it”.
I never got a Big Wheel either. My dad considered them death traps because they were so short that cars couldn’t see them. Instead, he bought a couple of thrift store bikes and made me a Franken Bike out of the parts.
I was so embarrassed by the ripped brown seat held together by duct tape. It didn’t entirely clash with the bright yellow frame, but it certainly didn’t look like a GIRL’S bike, which was really important to me back then.
He tried to make it better by putting pink streamer hand grips on the long handlebars, but that just made it look even more grotesque. Not a picture of that bike exists today because I was unwilling to be photographed riding it.
How I wish I could see that bike again today…
I made a mockup of what my bike kind of looked like using this original photo from the BMX Museum forums: Original bike picture
Bless my poor dad’s heart, he was just trying to save my life.
After my parents got divorced, my mom lifted the ban on Big Wheels and my little sister got a Green Machine Big Wheel. I was too old to fit into a Big Wheel by then, so I was so jealous of her. Here is a picture of a Green Machine from Marx Toy Museum via Fourth Grade Nothing.
She never seemed bothered that it was a boy’s toy.
In the end, that one of a kind Franken Bike that my dad made me became far more valuable in my mind than the Big Wheel because it was the the toy of my childhood. It almost seems that it doesn’t matter WHAT we play with as children, whether it’s cool or embarrassing, we end up cherishing it because it was the toy that held us up while we were learning how to make our way in this world.