When I was ten I wanted a Schwinn Manta Ray very, very badly. I didn’t have any money, and my last two bicycles had been stolen from the hiding place behind our house in California.
So my friend Randy and I had this idea — we went down to the schoolyard after the 4th of July and picked up all the firecrackers that hadn’t exploded and put them in a jar. We spent days collecting thousands of them & figured we’d sell them to our friends use the money to buy a Manta-Ray. We got caught and in the end had to give our jar full of explosives to the principal, who totally misunderstood our motivations. We each got gold stars for cleaning up the school.
Five years later I ran an underground business at my Junior High School selling real fireworks we smuggled in from the housing projects in Chinatown. Got caught that time too. I was using the mainframe at UC Berkeley to store my sales data, and I didn’t realize it at the time, but in those days the University supercomputers were controlled by the Department of Defense. Some very scary cops showed up at my house. I was suspended for a week.
To my father’s credit he didn’t punish me — just told me I’d been very very bad, and very very clever, and to never to do it again.
Never owned a Manta Ray, but we are prototyping a Budnitz Bicycles titanium travel bike with 24” wheels that is vaguely inspired by this design. Sort of a BMX bike on steroids, with slick tires and disk brakes, for adults who travel or who live in small apartments.
Without the stick shift.