Banana Seat Bike

As I may have previously mentioned, I have many older sisters. When I was around seven or eight my sister, W, gave me her banana seat bike. It was ludicrously too big for me. And I didn’t know how to ride a grown up bike.

Like this, but obviously better.

But I was determined to learn to ride it. This bicycle was… magic.  It was yellow and white like a banana cream pie. I think it had some stickers on it, Rainbow Brite, My Little Pony, Strawberry Shortcake. The original 70’s version. Something like that.

I collect rainbow themed things. I know I’m cool.

It represented everything I wanted for myself. To be grown up, and strong and  tall and as beautiful as the sister that gave it to me. I still dream about this bike now, almost 20 years later.


I tried to teach myself to ride it. There was nobody to help me. And I was already fiercely independent by that age. Either I would teach myself to ride this bike, or I would seriously injure myself trying.


It turns out, I would injure myself trying. I don’t even know how many times I fell off. How many cuts and scrapes I got trying to master this new skill.

Ha! I need this in my apt.

Looking back, I am amazed at my determination. I wasn’t afraid of getting hurt. I was afraid of this beautiful bike going to waste. I wasn’t discouraged. I kept getting back on that bicycle with a determination that borders on the obsessive and deranged.


After a few days of this, a neighbor girl rode by and saw me struggling. I did not know her. She was older. Younger than my older sisters, but too old to want to be friends with me.


I was painfully uncool in my hand me down clothes and god awful hair. I remember her being tall and impossibly cool for a preteen girl. She had perfect silken hair and wore real lipstick!

I remember her exactly like this…




She offered to help me learn. I hesitated to accept her help. I had already learned many lessons on trust and betrayal. But I didn’t see any other way to learn. I accepted.  I don’t even remember her name.


It took her one day to teach me to ride. But a few weeks for me to learn to stop. During that time, I just dragged my feet along the ground until I slowed enough to jump off. The bicycle really was too big for me to properly stop on anyway. But I planned on growing into it. This bike and I were going to be together forever. I was going to learn bicycle maintenance just to keep it in perfect shape.


Only a few short weeks after mastering the skill of riding a grown up bike, it was stolen off our front porch in the night. I was crushed with disappointment. I was never going to be a beautiful, tall, strong adult.  I cried. I was inconsolable for weeks. I would lie awake at night and wonder who had my bike now. I knew they would never love it the way I did.


My parents bought me a new bike a few years later. But it could never live up to the banana seat bike. My memory of it had built my stolen bicycle up so much. It had become a mythological creature in my mind.


The new bike didn’t stand a chance. It was a mountain bike, pink and purple. It seemed garish and crass compared to the banana seat bike. It was too girly for my taste. Who was it trying to impress with it’s rugged tires?

I think it was literally this bike. I mean, not this exact bike. But, you know what I mean.

It was like eating Godiva dark chocolate truffles for months and then being expected to be satisfied with a bar of stale Hershey’s chocolate. My love affair with biking had ended. And it was never again rekindled.


I need some after recalling the sad tale of my stolen bike.


14 thoughts on “Banana Seat Bike

  1. I had a banana seat Schwinn bike too! It was a metallic blue, with blue flowers on the white seat. At first I thought it looked super dorky (what the frack do I know) but then I loved it, and then it disappeared and I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe some evil genetically enhanced Banana villain is out there, collecting our pride and joy for…banana?…domination?
    I’m sorry.

  2. It was an older neighborhood girl who taught me to ride, as well! She was in fifth grade to my first. I don’t remember how she looked, but I do remember the awesome feeling of her guidance as I leaned how to ride my blue banana seat bike. I found that bike in my mom’s garage maybe a decade ago, and it was astonishing to see how tiny it was, where in my memory it was HUGE.

    • I feel that would be my exact experience as well. In my mind it was 20 feet tall. But in reality, I am a giant now, so it would probably seem so small and sad.

    • Oh god! How terrible! I guess that just goes to show if it hadn’t been stolen, it still could have come to a bad end. But I still want to think we’d live happily ever after.

  3. Why is everyone from my childhood memories exactly like that photo of the girl? All my friends STILL seem way cooler and together than me.

    I remember banana seat bikes! I might’ve had one….but my childhood is a blur.

    I remember always being astutely aware of my parent’s financial struggles; one year my dad and grandma each got me one of those James Avery dangle rings that were so damn popular in the 80’s. I had to take them off for gym class, and some asshat stole them. I was devastated, but not only because I didn’t have my rings anymore….I felt SO guilty for losing something my family had spent a lot (for us it was a lot for a ring!) of money on. I’m still pissed about it. Fuckers.

    • I had to Google those rings. My family was poor too. So I feel your pain. My family was hand-me-downs for four children of both genders poor. There is photographic evidence of this.

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