Thursday, November 27, 2008
Azuki 10 Speed
The next bike that comes up on my radar is the white Azuki 10 speed. This was about 1973 or 1974 when I was about 14. Somehow I had become aware of the genre of the 10 speed racing bicycle and had my sights set on getting one. It was probably visits to a bike shop close to my house, about 2 or 3 miles away, that sparked my interest. The exact details are lost to ancient history.
I do remember there were posters of road racers on the walls of that bike shop, funny striped hats topping their heads. They looked like super athletes to me, pedaling their 10 speeds up mountains, a look of hard determination on their faces.
On one of these trips to the bike shop I decided I wanted one of those cool 10 speeds. The thought of that many gears held a special fascination for me, being a technically-minded young man. I remember being enamored with the shiny paint job on that bike, the clean lines and purposeful stance, plus it had a sweet pair of gear shifters mounted right on the stem! A pair of top mounted brake levers completed the package.
I had saved my money for this bike, and had probably dreamed and planned a fair bit before I got up enough courage to ask my dad if it was OK. Being a shy and respectful kid I probably agonized some about just how to pop the question. But I was determined, and a foreshadowing of a lifelong trait emerged that summer: when I want a bike, I get it. There is not much that can stand in my way when it comes to acquiring a bike I want... that's just the way it was and is to this day.
I chose an evening of TV watching as the time and place to get the last thing I needed, dad's permission. My dad has always been a super cool guy, but I was super nervous with so much riding on it. I remember it took a really long time to get up the guts to ask, and it dragged on late into the evening. I am pretty sure he knew I had something on my mind, but he said nothing so it was up to me to finally squeak out the words. Talk about stage fright. It felt like this was a big moment with big consequences and I was keenly aware of the short silence as he mulled over my request. To my vast relief, he said yes—that is if I had my own money for the bike— I could get it.
Little did dad know, this was not the last time we would wrangle over a bike I wanted.