I dream about this bike...
Actually that's not strictly true, but over the last 40 years I have thought about it a fair bit! The year was 1979 and I was visiting my cousin in Pittsburgh, she had just got a new bike for her birthday, a pink and white Huffy Sweet Thunder. At the time my steed was a mk2 Raleigh Chopper, and even though I thought, and still think today that the Chopper is a cooler, and better bike than the Sweet Thunder, there was something about the Sweet Thunder that I liked. Strange really when it's not that special as bikes go. I mean its just a girls frame with 20" wheels, pink mudgaurds, BMX handlebars and a bread loaf saddle, but still, something about it makes it special. I rode that bike of my Cousins all over the place during the summer of '79, and it was pretty damn cool in my eyes. I liked it alot, and remember sitting on the plane on the way home repeatedly drawing it to try and get an accurate picture of it in my drawing book. I'd never seen one before I'd seen my Cousins, I never saw another one while I was staying with her, and I've never seen another one since... Until today!
Today I was collecting a bonnet for my Mustang that I had bought on fleabay from a fella that lives about 70 miles from BelongaClint. Nothing strange about that, I buy all manner of junk on fleabay, but the leading edge of my Mustangs bonnet is a little bit crusty, and so, even though this one is the wrong colour, the price was right and so off I went. Upon opening his garage to retrieve the bonnet this was the sight I saw. I knew right away what it was without needing to see the rest. We carried the bonnet out and put it on the roof of my car, well, my Dads car, I don't have a roof rack! Then after tying it on I asked the fella if I could take another look at the bike. He agreed, so we wandered back into the garage.
This is exactly how I remembered my Cousins looking all those years ago. Although hers, being brand new was pretty clean, and this one has a good layer of dust on it. Still, despite it being pretty dusty it didn't look too bad, a little grubby maybe, and it's certainly been ridden, but fairly good. I liked it! I asked the guy if it would be OK to wheel it into the light so I could get a photo or two of it, he said that would be OK as it's hadn't been outside this century yet!
Now, I'm guessing that to most folks reading this, this bike would be a bit boring, and without the memory of my Cousins one in the late seventies I would probably not have paid much attention to it either. But for me it was like finding some sort of treasure. I asked the guy where it came from, and he told me that in the late eighties he was working for IBM and lived in America for a couple of years. While he, and his family were out there he bought this bike second hand for his Daughter to ride, by all accounts she rode it everywhere, and when they came home in the Nineties, even though she was getting too big for it, she wanted to bring it home with her anyway. So it was packed up with the rest of their belongings, and shipped home. Upon getting home it was ridden for a little while, but as his Daughter was getting too big for it before they left America, it was soon replaced with a larger bike. Since then it's just been collecting dust at the back of his garage. He asked me why I was so interested in it, so I told him about my Cousins bike, and how for whatever reason it has stuck in my mind for the best part of four decades. Then, after telling him the story I asked him if it might be for sale? He told me that he doubted that I could buy it, as, even though his Daughter is far too big for it now, being in her early forties herself, he doubted that she would want to part with it. Being a borderline hoarder myself I could understand that, but I asked him if it would be possible for him to find out for sure? He said he would, but asked me why I would want it as I was far too big for it as well. I told him that my own Daughter is getting to the point where she has outgrown her current bike, and this would probably suit her down to the ground, and despite being pink, a colour that she hates, my feeling was that she would love this bike.
He got his phone out and told me not to hold my breath! He told his Daughter my tale, and how I thought that my own Daughter would like to be the new owner of it. After a couple of minutes he finished his conversation with his Daughter who had told him that if I was sure that my little girl would love it, then it was hers! I told him that I was so sure, infact I was 100% sure that she would love it, and so into the back of my Dads Rover it went!
A couple of hours later I was pulling up outside BelongaClint, I unloaded the Huffy, and went to find my littlest Monster to show it to her. I dragged her away from her tablet for a while to show it to her. When she saw it she said that she didn't care much for the colour, but she thought it was pretty cool. Then she asked me what I was going to do with it? I said, well. it's yours if you want it! Thats so cool Dad, she said, I love it! So now we're going to give it a good clean, a bit of an oiling, and find some new tyres for it as they're past their best and won't pump up. Then, this little Huffy Sweet Thunder will be her bike until she outgrows it. I'm quite looking forward to getting it back into a rideable condition, not that it needs a whole lot. I reckon that pretty soon we'll be out riding this with my littlest Monster, and I can't wait to show it to my Cousin!