The Stingray

stingray1

…..mine was blue; it had a white banana seat and standard tires. I wanted the racing slick, but didn’t get it because we “lived in the country.” It was faster than most of my friends’ bikes, (except Chris…his parents bought him a Mongoose with mag wheels and a 3 speed). It seemed like I put nearly a million miles a year on that bike; riding to my friends’ houses, to the park, to school, and even to Third Street Grocery for my mom.

I picked this yellow Stingray up 14 years ago at a garage sale. As my girls got older, they loved to ride it, and to be honest, I’ve taken more than my share of cruises around the block on it. Even though I don’t think they comprehended the classic they were riding, I have loved to see my girls and their friends take their turn riding it.

What is it about the Schwinn Stingray that captures our attention? I had originally planned on selling this bike, but as I’ve had the shop opened, I’ve noticed a curious thing. When a customer comes into the shop and sees the Stingray, they generally pause and stare. The next thing they do is begin to tell me a story about their Stingray; the color, the kind of tires, or the grips, some adventure they had with their friends, or just the freedom they experienced on it.

That bike we had as kids gave us just that, our first taste of freedom. Freedom to go further from home than we’d ever been on our own; freedom to see the world around us differently.

The Stingray is no longer for sale. Without it out there, I would not be able to see the nostalgic look in customers’ eyes when they, even for a mere moment, are able to return to a time when life was less complicated…when somehow, we managed to live without all the things we think are so necessary today.