Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

29 July 2018

Can They Carry Stuff On A "Muscle" Bike?

When I was a kid, "muscle bikes" became popular.  They were meant to emulate "muscle cars" like the 1967-74 era Chevy Camaro RS, Ford Mustang Mach 1 and Dodge Challenger SE or racing motorcycles.  Mainly, what bicycles like the ones from the Raleigh Chopper and Schwinn Krate series had in common with those machines were flashy graphics and stick shifters.  

One difference is that the "muscle cars" were designed to appeal to their drivers' desire to feel more powerful and virile (They didn't have Viagra in those days!), while the placement of the "stick" shifter on the bicycle imitators seemed chosen specifically to decrease the fertility rate of a generation of young boys.

Many an adult expressed umbrage at those bikes, mainly because they were garish rather than for dangers like the "stick" shifters. (Those same adults almost always expressed concern for their kids' safety!)  I think the best reason to disapprove of those bikes, though, was that they taught kids that their bikes were just "stepping stones" to the "bigger and better" machines they would drive when they became of age.

One thing I can say about them, though, is that kids usually enjoyed them:  There was no pretense to practicality about them.  Which begs the question (for me, anyway):  Can a kids' bike be whimsical and practical at the same time?


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