Sunday, March 11, 2012

You Ever Take it Off Any Sweet Jumps?

So, I swung by Toys R Us yesterday just to see if anything grabbed me. Even though my toy collecting is calming down a bit and getting more focused on certain vintage collections, I still get the itch to see what's out there. Besides, I'm still looking for a couple of new G.I. Joe figures (damn you elusive Storm Shadow and Zombie Viper!) and the new Hot Wheels K.I.T.T., and since my wife was clothes shopping, I was pretty much free to go geek out.

I really wasn't seeing much. Sure there were several things I would like to have, but again, I'm trying to be more about collecting as opposed to amassing.

But all of that self control went out the window as soon as I laid my peepers on this beauty...

Great googly-moogly! There are very few things on this good green Earth sexier than a Schwinn Stingray Krate. I have always been in love with Schwinn Stingrays. Those sleek lines, that glistening chrome and those arching ape-hanger handlebars reaching for the lofty realms of the gods.

When I was a kid, the banana-seat-sissy-bar style of bikes was dying out, to be replaced by the grittier all-terrain aesthetics of BMX bikes and I wasn't immune to the changing fads. Don't get me wrong, I love my black and gold Huffy dirt bike like the cowboys of old loved their horse. It was my constant friend, gliding me through the streets of my small home town, taking me from one adventure to the next. But every now and then, I'd get a glimpse of some archaic cast off Stingray at a garage sale or leaned against the side of a garage, rusting in the elements, and I would harbor a secret desire to take such bikes and bring them back to life. But the imagined ridicule of the BMX crowd in my neighborhood stayed my hand.

I did once briefly own a vintage Schwinn Stingray, but that's another tale for another day.

Today, I'm talking about a brilliantly designed 1:18 scale model of such gleaming verisimilitude, that at first sight, the very breath caught in my chest, only to slowly resume as I took this beauty from the peg.

I don't know a lot about these miniature bicycles, but considering how many different styles and brands of them that there are choking the shelves of toy stores everywhere, I can only imagine that they are a formidable category in the toy collecting world. Again, just like the days of my youth, these toys are dominated by BMX and Free-style versions, which made this single nod to the days when kids cruised instead of raced all that more special.

Getting the bike home, I knew I had to put it in good hands, and since I think I spied Boba Fett giving this sleek machine an appreciative once-over, I know he'd be more than up to the task of taking it for its inaugural spin.

Oh, how I wish I could be him! Arms straight out, spokes spinning, chain pulled taught as it effortlessly turns the gears and watching that diminutive front tire practically hover over the passing asphalt.

Of course, a bike like this would only call out to every other kid in the neighborhood, tempting every budding speed-freak in a 3 mile radius with its very being alone.

It's just a matter of time before one of the braver kids musters the nerve to pull his eyes away from the candy apple red sexiness perched upon two coal-black tires long enough to look you in the eye and ask, "Hey... uh... you think I could take it for a ride?"

And any true lover of such a sleek specimen of speed would have to set his shoulders, look that kid right in the eye, and say,

"No. No you can't. Go ride your stupid BMX."

And then, like the blaze of a setting sun, head off unhindered towards the horizon...

... just cruising.