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Ask Cool Daddy, Up on 2 Wheels…
Dear Cool Daddy: Saw these strange-looking bikes in a Walmart flier and they sort of rang a bell…waaaaaaaaay off in the distance…are you any help? …from Sage, in Cheyenne WY
Dear Sage: Always…and from what I glean off the internet, these bikes are a spin-off from a line of kids’ bicycle helmets…hence the “skull” in Raskullz. Thus these bikes have a big “head” on the front, which is actually a storage compartment, but also serves to encourage the kids to be sure they also have a Raskullz helmet. Personally, the whole deal looks really ugly to me, but its a valuable lesson for the tots in consumerism…even tho something looks stupid, if enough kids go for it, you can’t be cool without it! Time will tell if these catch on, but apparently there’s already a “base” of kids who have the helmets. BTW, these beasts have names…left to right, Shark Attax, Sparkle Heart, and T. Rad Rex…plus there are a lot more.
Now what you might be remembering is the legendary Gene Autry bike made from the late 1940s well into the 1950s. It was a product of the Monark company of Sweden…their most popular line in the US were the Silver King bikes, dating from the 1930s…they also made full-size mopeds and motorcycles. As you can see, some of the details and accessories varied from bike to bike, but one of the key innovations was having a gun-and-holster attached. Those horse-head handle-grips (lower right) don’t look all that comfortable, but there you go.
And of course, there’s that horse-head stuck on the front…which I vaguely recall thinking was sort of dumb, like a rocking-horse bike or something. They were expensive too, but Baby Boomers were learning the meaning of the word “status”…and when they got older, they learned another interesting word: “kitsch.”
But one thing some of us Groovy Geezers forget is that girls as well as boys were big “cowboy” fans, and sure enough, Monark made a girls Gene Autry bike, tricked out in the same brown-and-cream color scheme…not pink like you’d see today. You can see the colored “jewels” applied liberally, especially on the tops of the fenders. And again, you might not recall that such baubles were for both boys and girls…but their presence here is inspired by the studs and jewels that decorated leather motorcycle togs and cowboy gear of the period…below, a belt and two wrist-guards…
Speaking of bikes today, this design makes me nervous..the seat-post that just…STOPS in midair. I’m sure these bikes are tested and are solid and safe, but it looks soooooo wrong, nez pah?
shameless plugs, freewheeling…
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