1980 Mongoose

Type: BMX single-speed

Purchased: Gift picked out from The Wheel Shop, Aurora, IL (10th birthday)

Made: ?

Frame: Steel (Mongoose Competition Racing Frame)

Components: Mongoose fork, Motomag II "spider mag" wheels

Additions: Mongoose pads (top bar, handle bar, stem), generic grips

The Mongoose was my first quality bike. It cost around $200, a good chunk of change in 1980. In those days, Mongoose was a quality bike company. Nowadays some models are sold in Wal-Marts and the like, but back then they were only in bike shops. My dad said he saw an article in a BMX magazine years later that said this bike was one of the "all-time classics."

This bike was my baby. I used to wash and wax it, and I never rode it to school or anywhere I might worry about theft. I rode around our subdivision and on dirt trails along the edges of farmers' fields nearby. The favorite dirt riding area was known by everyone as "Paradise." I loved to go there, but it was two miles away--a rather long round-trip for a 10-year old on a single-speed bike.

I also "invented" a new game sometime when I was in junior high called "bicycle hockey" that I would play in the street in front of my house (the street was only a block long so there was little traffic). While I became pretty adept at maneuvering a rubber ball or plastic puck with a street hockey stick (with a plastic blade) in one hand and steering with the other, those skills were somewhat wasted since I could never get enough people to play a real game. I had one friend who sometimes played goalie for me, but my other friends weren't interested.

As I got older, I eventually outgrew the Mongoose. My brother wanted it, but I made him pay me for it so he would value it and treat it well. In 2002, my brother offered to sell it back to me since my interest in cycling had been rekindled. So now I have it, but I can't really ride it since the seat won't go high enough. It's a little rusty here and there, but it's a nice addition to my collection. Like my brother pointed out, how many people can say they still have a bike they got at age 10?

One of the coolest things about this bike is the fierce logo on the Mongoose stem pad.

Copyright 2002-2013 David Johnsen. All rights reserved.