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Paddy

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 04/16/2012 :  23:04:33  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Besides the bus line, bicycling was my mode of transportation before I got a drivers license. I learned how to ride on a bike that my three older sisters shared. I was too young to think about how it looked for a boy to be riding a girls bike.

My Dad then surprised me with a used bike that he bought from a fellow employee at the Socony refinery, and that began years of adventures (and misadventures) while biking in Hammond.

The bike was stripped down. No fenders, no chain guard. But it was a "boys" bike. It also marked the time that I expanded my world of exploration way beyond Beech Street.

I went on to other bikes and adventures, memories that I will be happy to share. What are your memories of biking in Hammond?


Roger D

237 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2012 :  08:55:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I got my first and only new bike when I was 13 or 14. My dad bought it at a bike shop on State Street in Hammond across from the A&P.
I have always wondered who designed the bike. Why would anyone call it a "boys" bike when you had a steel 1" tube running between your legs??
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Paddy

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 04/17/2012 :  22:00:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
I have always wondered who designed the bike. Why would anyone call it a "boys" bike when you had a steel 1" tube running between your legs??

My take is that girls bikes were designed to let ladies ride in skirts and dresses. They could then dismount without swinging a leg over the cross bar that was on boys bikes.
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tom w

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2012 :  17:36:21  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I remember searching the alleys for parts to make my bike and building the bike. the only things that I bought were the tires. I painted the bike with our house paint so it mached our house color.
Battleship Gray. I remember making a peanut butter and butter sammich and wraping it in wax paper and slipping it under my shirt and off I went. East Chicago was a facinating foreign country to me and usually my destination. I also visited Hessville, Whiting, Munster,and Dyer.
Teaching myself to ride was probably one of the most rewarding accomplishments of my young life since there was no kids my age in our North Hammond neighborhood. By the way, the sammich was usually gone before 9:00 AM since I had no watch. Tom W
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Tom J

1192 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2012 :  18:19:50  Show Profile  Visit Tom J's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I remember partially inflating balloons and tying them to the fender strut so that the spokes would rub them. It sounded like a motorcycle engine when I rode. Probably every kid in the world has done that.

Tomster
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tom w

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 04/19/2012 :  21:57:37  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tom We used a playing card and a clothespin.
Clothespins were also handy around July 4th. We used them to shoot kitchen matches. Tom W
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Roger D

237 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2012 :  08:38:46  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Tom W-Tom J--(tom-tom)? We used baseball cards to make our motors. Wonder what those cards would be worth today? )I was a millonaire, then mom burnt my baseball cards.)
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tom w

USA
316 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2012 :  14:59:58  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
OUCH!!!! Tom W
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Little Stevie

USA
359 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2012 :  18:39:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's a story that could go on the MAM thread!

One of my friends back then, Jim Genovesi, was the "Mr. Wizard" of our 'hood. He lived on the 6900 block of Baring. Across the infamous alley, down a few houses, to the south.
Jim was a creative genius when it came to "adding spice" to any type of activity we were involved in.

Be it slot cars, cardboard models, match head aluminium rockets or bikes, Jim would come up with ideas to make life exciting.

With our bikes, we would ride all over the Woodmar area. Almost never going east, across Indianapolis Blvd.
Mainly, south. Towards the new high school, Gavit Jr./Sr. High.

I wasn't to go past 173rd St. on my bike but many, many times I violated that rule to venture into the unknown territories of the Schliker area near Woodmar Country Club.
Why? Because Jim led us out there. But we were never out of "communication" with the Magoun Ave. civilisation.

You see, our friend Jeff Dembowski, who I've written about on the "MAM" thread, had one of those citizens band radios, commonly known as a "CB". He even belonged to a "outlaw" type cb club named "Master Control" which, I guess, didn't adhere to the rules the FCC had mandated for CB radios.

Anyway, Jim figured out that even though we had walkie talkies, (we all owned a set) which were only good for a quarter mile or so, we could keep in communication with each other by relaying messages to Jeff to pass on the other guys in different areas. There are many stories I could tell about our adventures with the communication system we used.

A few of them later.

We also did the playing card/ baseball card and balloons in the spokes for the motorcycle effect.

However, Jim came up with the idea that if we were on motorcycles, with unbelievable speeds, we'd need a better way to stop than just the pedal or hand brakes on our bikes.

He decided we needed parachutes. . . just as dragsters had. . . to stop us quickly.

It just so happened that my dad had brought home a large chute from the war. Full sized, camouflaged one from a supply drop or something, I never really knew.

Since it was doing nothing but taking up space in a cedar chest in the basement, my mother said we could go ahead and use it.

Jim determined what size chutes we would need to stop our bikes. We cut the large chute up into smaller chutes, most being 4 to 6 feet in diameter.

After cutting and attaching shroud-lines to them, Jim came up with the idea to use old model car boxes, attached to the back of the rear fender, as our chute packs. He came up with a ripcord with a weight attached that we would unhitch to release the chute from the box.

Many trial runs were made to get the chute packing right. Also to get the ripcord to work properly and the shroud-lines to unroll as the bikes sped forward. Thankfully, we had the pedal and hand brakes still in use to bring us to a complete stop.

Once we worked out all the "bugs" from our chute system, we could speed as fast as possible down the sidewalks . . . release the ripcord. . . and the chute would unfurl, billowing in the wind bringing us to a stop in a distance of 3 or 4 house lengths or around 200 feet. Most would cheat a little and use their brakes to keep from ending up in 169th st. traffic.

Never perfected, but the parachute brake system created many fond memories of life on Magoun.
LS

Edited by - Little Stevie on 04/21/2012 13:04:02
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HassoBenSoba

USA
642 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2012 :  19:07:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
STEVE--

Amazing that you actually got the chutes to unfurl as you rode; also amazing that you lived to tell this story,
having chopped up your dad's WWII chute (or maybe you got his permission?).

My only bike story involves more insanity from Mike and me. On a gorgeous summer morning ('56, I think),
we went out front with our bikes (Mike's bike was the one shown on page 5 of "Magoun Avenue Memories").
Obviously, we had WAY too much time on our hands, so we decided that we would position ourselves about 100 feet
apart on our bikes, FACING each other....then ride as fast as we possibly could DIRECTLY towards one another
(like jousting knights). JUST BEFORE we crashed, we would abruptly jerk the handle bars, turning away from one another, and thus avoid certain death (or serious injury).

Everything went exactly according to plan, except for one small detail we had overlooked...... So as we hurtled
toward one another and prepared our sudden turn, we both realized that we had forgotten to decide WHO would
turn their bike WHICH way. Yeah, we both saw our young lives flash before our eyes in that final split-second,
as Mike turned right and I turned left (the same direction, that is) ramming into each other head-on at full speed.

We ended up twisted in a heap on the sidewalk, our legs and arms intertwined with the bikes, handlebars bent,
with one of the rear wheels sticking up in the air spinning. Miraculously, we both lay there laughing
like fools, since the worst that happened to us was my scraped elbow. We freed ourselves from the wreckage
and went into the kitchen where my mom was seated at the snack bar, talking on the phone. Much eyeball-rolling ensued,
I'm sure, as we 'fessed up to our big stunt.

LR

Edited by - HassoBenSoba on 04/20/2012 19:14:50
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Little Stevie

USA
359 Posts

Posted - 04/20/2012 :  22:17:15  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Yowza Larry!
It must be the poltergeists of Magoun Ave. working!

The same incident only different characters at a later date.

After going to the Lake County Fair one year with the Beda's, and seeing the "Hurricane Hell Drivers" us guys in the 'hood decided to put on a bicycle thrill show of our own in the alley.

I'm pretty sure Mickey Koval and Chris Stewart were the only "guests" there, watching in amazement that we'd do something so . . .uhh. . ."immature"

Genovesi was the emcee, Jeff Dembowski was the "clown" who was wandering on to the "track" when Beda & I were hurdling towards each other from opposite ends of the alley.

Jeff was crossing the alley behind our garage, Beda barreling at him from the south, I was coming from the north.
The plan was for Beda & myself to turn to the right at the last second and avoid hitting Jeff as Jim screamed "LOOK OUT!" at him.

Well . . . Beda turned to his left.

As we collided, I flew through Beda's "butterfly" handlebars.
Luckily we were wearing our dads hardhats from the mills. I hit the handlebars then flew towards the utility pole by Kessey's gate, which can be seen in one of your "alley" photos.
Before I reached the pole, gravity took over, pulling me down into the cinders. I slid the rest of the way, stopping short of the pole but got up with bloody forearms and scraped knees.
The bikes were in a pile. Inter-tangled tires and spokes laying at the feet of a laughing Jeff Dembowski, who, by the way, didn't even get a scratch.

LS

Edited by - Little Stevie on 04/21/2012 16:01:55
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Paddy

USA
141 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2012 :  22:11:41  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Our bikes expanded our worlds. Bikeing put the Hammond Bus barns at 150th and Columbia within mere few minutes from our house on Beech Street. That's where me and a couple friends were heading when I had my first biking misadventure.

I was riding like the wind down 149th toward Columbia. We were approaching Catalpa when I turned my head to yell something at my fellow riders. I didn't see the car entering the intersection from southbound Catalpa. I hit the left front fender and slid over the hood. I didn't pass out, but things happenes in a blur. The other kids rode back to tell my parents and my Dad came on the run. The driver, passenger and neighbors crowded around to see if I was still alive. Shortly after Dad arrived, the Hammond Police ambulance showed up and hauled me off to St. Margarets hospital to be checked out.

I came out of it with a few bruises and scracthes, but I suspect that the driver was more traumatized than me. She was a sixteen year old with a learners permit who was heading to the license bureau for her drivers test.
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Little Stevie

USA
359 Posts

Posted - 04/22/2012 :  23:05:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
That's
a Good one, Paddy!
LS
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HassoBenSoba

USA
642 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2012 :  01:49:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Wow....

I wonder how long it took the young lady to recover from the incident so that she could pass her license test?

LR
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Roger D

237 Posts

Posted - 04/23/2012 :  07:58:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I HEAR YOU PADDY!! In 1956 I was on Goslin St. coming up to Dearborn St. when a city bus pulled out in front of me. I didn't hit it buuut my aunt was on the bus. Her story to my mother made me in the wrong!! My bike and i was grounded for a few days.
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MrRazz

USA
52 Posts

Posted - 08/22/2015 :  13:52:30  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Never, had a new bike...just a used one. But with a new paint job and a few new accessories, thought it looked like a million bucks. Sometimes rode it out to Wolf Lake from Hessville to go fishin'. Since I delivered the "Times" on it, I bought pair of those hooks at Hills Agency to put on the handle bars and wrap my paper bag strap around. Well, worked great until I was going full speed one day, crashed, and got one of the hooks in a very uncomfortable place...needless to say, the hooks were removed shortly thereafter.
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seejay2

USA
676 Posts

Posted - 08/23/2015 :  07:24:24  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I used to deliver circular papers, ad papers. The ones that advertised Goldblatts, Wallgreens and others. The paper that everybody hated to see on their doorstep. I even had some people throw them back at me.
Anyway, along with marginal cash payment (and free rubber bands), I received coupons to redeem for prizes. The more you saved, the better the prize. I saved up enough to earn a new 3 speed English racer. After all of that work and abuse, it didn't take me long to dislike the bike, though. It just wouldn't take the rough treatment that a kid like myself, at that age, had to offer.
And it wouldn't do 200 MPH as I originally thought it would.
Those clunky old Schwinns took a licking and kept on ticking...Cj
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