I always loved Big Wheels. I loved watching my kids fly down the drive, admiring their closeness to the ground, their speed, the utter thrill of racing. Of course sometimes they zoomed by too fast, and I warned them to slow down, yet I was always a little envious.
As a baby boomer I got born in the wrong generation. We only had those regular sized trikes where the rider sat upright and pedaled in short stunted spurts. Working hard, we got nowhere fast. An anesthetized turtle in the next lane had an even chance of finishing first.
|Adults on kid-size Big Wheels|
But I always wanted to try one. And I remember I did. Squeezing into the seat, I attempted to fit my feet on the pedals without slamming my knees against the handlebars. Two pedal moves later, I was done. For once, my legs were too long.
|Large and small Big Wheels|
But not anymore. Matt Armbruster, 44, a member of Generation X, felt that the Big Wheels were the symbol of his childhood freedom and wanted to ride them again. Not able to fit on the miniature trike, Armbruster became the manufacturer and sole employee of High Roller USA, a company that produces adult sized Big Wheels.
Yes, they’re for grown-ups! But unlike the plastic structures of his childhood, the new ones sport steel frames and “are designed for people who change diapers instead of wear them.” The cost, $600 each.
Am I the only one excited?
In 2000, the first Bring Your Own Big Wheel Race was held in San Francisco on Lombard Street, one of the crookedest roads in America. This year the number grew to 1,500 and moved to Vermont Street, with most adults still struggling with the kid-sized Big Wheels though more and more were riding on the adult sized racers.
Two other companies are also producing the models, fashioning the Big Wheels into shiny steel machines that have one rubber tire up front and two plastic ones in back. This provides less traction, making it easier to spin out.
Spin out? Never thought of that. I just wanted to race down the drive, and then maybe keep on going. How about over to Disney and then across to the beaches, and up the space coast...
Okay, I’ll probably get winded by the end of the cul-de-sac, but at least I’ll have tried it. And I’m grateful for the thousand-plus Big Wheels buddies from Generation X and Y. They’ve kept the spirit flaming, kept their childhood dreams alive.