Bikes: banana seats and butterfly bars

Back around 1967 my little brother got a CCM Mustang Duomatic for his birthday. It was very cool: mustang bronze, 20 inch wheels, 2 gears, a banana seat and butterfly bars. I was about 14 then so it was too small for me. But I liked it. At that time I still had a paper route. One afternoon while I was delivering papers I noticed that somebody on my route had thrown out an old Raleigh bicycle frame. In those days we talked about bikes in terms of the size of the wheels. This frame was for 26 inch wheels. My size. After I finished my route I went back and asked for the frame. They thought I was nuts but gave it to me. Over that summer I used that frame to build a bike. I painted it white with red flashes in the middle of each bar; it had a 26 inch rear wheel and a 20 inch front wheel; a banana seat and butterfly bars: a real chopper. I had a great few weeks with it. Then one Saturday, shortly after school had started again, I rode it to the local pool to go swimming. When I came out from swimming the bike was gone. Of course I hadn’t locked it. We hardly ever locked bikes back then. And I had spent all my money building the bike and hadn’t kept any for a lock. It was a 5 mile walk home. The croix der fer that I will ride on the Tour d’Afrique is also a lovely white bike.  Perhaps I should paint red flashes on it, and get a banana seat and butterfly bars.

Don’t forget to donate to the Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania.

ChipIn: Sickle Cell Foundation of Tanzania


3 responses to “Bikes: banana seats and butterfly bars

  1. A classic, used it to deliver my paper route. Not sure what happened to it , never came to Thunder Bay when we moved. By then I had bought my first 10 speed, the Jacque Anquetil bike – a striking orange colour.

  2. Staffan Söderberg (Sustainability is a possibility) wrote:
    “Alan, back in ’75 those banana-bikes finally came to Sweden and I was king for a day when I was riding my new bike. Maybe one day they will come back in fashion, at least I would buy one. Good luck with the new white bike – do not forget to buy a lock… / Staffan from”

  3. I remember the Jacques Anquetil well. You knew it was fast just looking at it.

    Staffan, I do have a lock now. That’s what happens when you grow up and become sort of responsible I guess. I wonder how many miles you could ride on a banana seat before backside boils beat you up.

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