My first bicycle. Well, not my first. But my first that was higher than a foot off the ground. It’s an Atala Gran Prix. Bobbe bought it for me from SDS Bicycle Shop on Palisades Avenue. That’s up in The Heights, a section of Jersey City.
Story is I didn’t want a bicycle. I wanted a car. But ended up with a bicycle. I had this friend in Bayonne, Jim Farmer. He rode his bicycle around all the time. It was a one-speed coaster brake thingy with a basket on the front.
There was an air of cool that enveloped the space he occupied. No matter where we were, at the park, or at a St. Andrews dance, or the diner. No one else I knew then rode a bicycle, or was so cool. Maybe if I rode one I could be cool too.
In 1970 there were no Dettos. No Gianni or Sergal. No deer skin chamois. My uniforms came from places like Hudson Army & Navy at 13th and Third. Adidas sneakers. I wore a smirk often. Always trying to be cooler than the day before. That hasn’t changed.