Road trip on our banana bikes

Guy Woodworth, Special to The County
7 years ago

Our pastor talked about young people the other day and the things they have to occupy their minds now as opposed to when we were young. It brought back quite a few memories of those days gone by. Growing up as a boy in “The County” was, suffice it to say, Interesting.

Usually in the spring as the snow melted and the bare ground poked its head through what snow was left, we hung up our sleds and skis and toboggans and dug out our bikes and started polishing and greasing and oiling to get them ready for the first road trip. We paid attention to the spoke tightness and the brake adjustment. Then we checked the front and rear wheel alignment so as to not enjoy a wobble at speed on a hill. We aired the tires and checked for weather cracks.

Brent and I had Schwinn Orange Crate “banana bikes.” These had five gears with a derailleur shift system that we adjusted and oiled so it shifted smooth. The shocks on the seat and the springer on the front had to be perfectly tensioned as well so as to operate properly in bumpy areas.

After all this we took out the soap and water and gave them a good wash, dry and wax. After all this was done they were proclaimed ready for a road trip.

As the days progressed we would eye the weather and keep an eye on the forecast as that one special Saturday came near. We had been saving money for a couple months so that we could stop and get a lunch and a drink mid-way of the trip. Before we knew it the morning arrived.

Dad was always up when I got up and that morning was no exception. He looked at me over coffee and donuts and said “So you fellas are going for a ride today.”

I would reply in the affirmative and then being Dad he would ask where we were headed. Now, the last road trip Brent and I took was the biggest. I got to Brent’s house around 8:30 that morning. We left there and rode to Washburn. We stopped at Corapi’s Store and got a Coke then made the next leg to Caribou. After having lunch in Caribou, we did leg four of the trip, arriving in Presque Isle about 2:30. We rested for a bit then began the leg home. Home was at Brent’s house as it wouldn’t be complete if I stopped at home.

That ride was the best of the year, the most fun of the year and the best time any two friends could have.

If you were to mention doing that in today’s day of computers and xBoxes and smart phones, you likely would get laughed out of the house or at the very least the look would tell you someone thought you should be committed.

When I see kids on bikes today I remember those days and Remember When …

Guy Woodworth of Presque Isle is a 1973 graduate of Presque Isle High School and a four-year Navy veteran. He and his wife Theresa have two grown sons and five grandchildren. He may be contacted at lightning117_1999@yahoo.com.