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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Best Christmas Ever: 1971

Best Christmas Ever: 1971

December 24, 1971. My nephew Dave, age 6, on his just-unwrapped and assembled Big Wheels. He uses this for his Facebook profile pic now. A Polaroid by yours truly. View full size.

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My son wore out three of these -- the classic as pictured, an Incredible Hulk model, and his favorite, the Dukes of Hazzard edition. There was something on the back wheel that made a lot of noise. We quickly learned to take that thing off.

Disposable Racers

I was 7 in 1971. Boy I loved my Big Wheel. I so fondly remember building up speed, then turning the front wheel sharply to slide around. They did not last long. So, off I go with my grandfather to the downtown Sears to get another one. Very fond memories indeed!

Lost Times, Good Times...

I miss the times and memories that these photos evoke.

TTerrace, you are a blessing, sir.

Big 3

I'm 42 and I'll never forget the clickety-click sound they made. I loved mine to pieces until I graduated to a bicycle.

Big Wheel a bad dream for me

In 1976, driving down a street with many parked cars, I hit a kid on a Big Wheel. He had zoomed out of a driveway and the very low profile gave me no chance to see him until he hit me on the side. He only had some head lacerations and was plenty scared. I was very lucky I didn't run over him. His parents saw the whole thing and apologized to me.

Big Wheel Keep on Turnin'

I loved my Big Wheel. When I was a kid, my brother and I would ride ours halfway around the block to a friend's house, where he'd join us in Big Wheel races. Our track used his entire driveway (one-car wide until it doubled in width as it approached the garage), plus the sidewalk in front of his house, with a hairpin turn at the foot of his neighbor's driveway. We'd give each other room on the sidewalk, and all was well... until my parents unwittingly messed it up by giving my brother a Green Machine for Christmas. The Green Machine was similar in profile, but steered with two levers that worked the ultra-wide rear axle. The unorthodox steering wasn't the problem, but it made overtaking impossible.

My Shirt

I just got this shirt back from the cleaners. It looks just like the one tterrace's nephew is wearing. I bought at Bloomingdales about three years ago. It's like "Back to the Future."

Change one word

Steppenwolf would be appalled!

"Born to be miiiillld" (cue the music)

Never met the kid

But I dearly miss everything ELSE in that picture. Massive TV? Check. Fringed vest? Check. "Earth shoes"? Check. Brown cords? Check.

I would've been 18 days shy of 10 when this was taken. Photoshop my head onto that kid and you'd have no trouble convincing me this was taken in my living room. Sigh....

Noisy and disposable

Those noisy darn things..I was too big and too old when they appeared here in southern Ontario. The neighbours had three, one for each of their children. Being constructed entirely of plastic, the front wheel eventually became worn, and then hollow and then only so much scrap and not recyclable. Somehow the earlier tricycles manufactured from metal, and rubber (tyres) and wooden seats were more durable, repairable and domestically constructed. These days those noisy contraptions have been replaced by skateboards and their variants, ditto the children, both of which I can well without.

Don't step on my brown suede shoes!

The brown cords ... check! Brown suede shoes ... check! the cowboy vest! Check! Streamers on the handlebars ... check! It's officially 1971 (and your happy nephew looks exactly the same as I did in '71).


Looking at this photo bolsters my memory the early to mid 70s were brown. Other color memories include avocado and variations of orange/gold/yellow.

The neighbour's cat

soon learned to stay off the sidewalk. My four year old daughter wore out a couple of those, roaring up and down, spinning out, colliding with other members of her gang. They were known as Heck's Angels.

I would have been so jealous

Never did get a Big Wheel; I'm a year younger than your nephew here. Three years later, that would be me with my first bike, while two years earlier, that would be me in a photo that I will one day upload here, in a 1965 Mustang pedal car (wish I still had that thing, it would be worth a fortune today).

Seems to me that it was either the 1970 or 1971 shot that still had me in Doctor Dentons (the pajamas with built in feet!) and a Matchbox superset that included a car carrier.


i hated those things as they scared my horses. i feared for my life when i would be riding along the roads and hear one of those things coming. later on they would be my enemy again as the neighbors would allow the kids to use them at an early hour, waking up and causing cranky husbands to roar, making for a bad morning. me? im an early riser and they didnt wake me up at all.

Big Wheels in the City by the Bay

You may have ridden a Big Wheel but unless you have done it with us in San Francisco on Easter weekend you havn't lived.

I loved mine!

I still miss mine today, and I'm 45. I felt like I rode it all over Anaheim.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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