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Fred and his Victory bike in 1944

My first bicycle was given to me in 1944 by my uncle Merrill. It was not the bike I would have liked to have since all the other kids had balloon tired models. I took a lot of guff over my funny looking, skinny tired bike from kids who had chromed, tanked, parcel racked, horned, and lighted balloon tired bikes. In time though, I came to appreciate my Victory bike.

The bike was tall; exactly how tall I can't say. It was too tall for me but you ride what you have. The only way I could mount it was by pushing off on the left pedal and swinging onto the saddle. It had 28 inch wheels, a chain guard, fenders, and nice red paint with few chromed parts. The rear hub was a New Departure model with coaster brake. A miserably complicated design to work on at that age. While the bike must have had some kind of identification on it I can't remember it. From information published in "Classic American Bicycles", by Jay Pridmore, I have reason to think that my Victory bike was manufactured by the Columbia Manufacturing co., Westfield, MA.

In retrospect It was the best bike I could have owned at the time since it was relatively light. I was a skinny kid but on that bike I could keep up with most of the other kids on their heavier bikes. I often rode on the handlbars with Pee Wee Downey doing the pedalling. Pee Wee was bikeless and a lot bigger than his nickname implied. I rode the bike for 4 years until we moved to the country. For some reason the bike was forgotten. I don't remember what happened to it. At the age of 16 I bought a car and didn't ride a bike again for 20 years. To read a short story about this bike CLICK HERE..


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Last revised: 5/28/99