I, Paulu, was first introduced to the Freedom bike when I was riding my bike across country from Michigan to LA. Or at least that was the intent when I set off some time ago in the early 70′s. When I was riding my bike through Chicago, I took a route that lead by the river. It was there that I saw the freedom bike for the first time.
Set aside by the shore, with a little puppy by his side was this 45 years old guy from Amsterdam named Wilhelm, twisting the freedom bike and selling them to the tourists. Now my funds were quite limited and I had a tremendously long trip ahead of me, but when I saw his bikes, I just had to have one.
I sat down with him for an hour or so, and while I was there, he twisted up a bike for me that looked just like mine. Oh, it didn’t have the saddle bags or basket, and it was missing the left paddle, but the bike frame and gears were all mine. When I asked him about why he only made it with one paddle, he told me that that was his signature.
I kept that bike with me for my entire trip… I still have it today and I am now living in 2013… that’s 40 years!
It wasn’t till I got to Nevada that I had decided to teach myself to make the freedom bike. I was more or less forced into it! While I was camping out by the Nevada Utah boarder, someone stole my bike, bags and all. I guess that I was lucky that I didn’t get my tent and Martial Arts equipment stolen as well. The trip was going to be long enough and hard enough without my bike, let alone not having a tent sleeping bag and other camping equipment with me, so I at least thanked God for that.
Anyway, after my bike was stolen from me, I knew that the trip was going to take three or four times longer, especially if I had to walk the rest of the way carrying my two packs. I was prepared too do exactly that also, either that or catch a grey hound with the little money I had left, but even then that wouldn’t get me to LA. After all, my plan was that once I reached my destination, I was going to get any job that I could so that I wouldn’t need to camp out long, and my bike was to be my transportation.
I knew that I was in a bad situation. Almost out of money, though I did have a little bit of food left, and now my custom made bike was gone too. That bike was like my freedom bikes, one of a kind. I hand picked the parts that put that “Blue Arrow: (the name I gave her) together. Not only that, but… before I left Michigan, I swore that I was going to make the trip, so I guess I should admit that I felt that I needed to save face.
Anyway, to make a long story short, instead of going out and buying the greyhound ticket that would lead me to nowhere, I decided to spend the money on the materials that I would need to make a “Freedom Bike”.
Once I was to learn, I planed on going somewhere where, where the tourists gathered, so that I could sell some of my bikes to them. I figured that I could buy another bike and make the rest of the trip.Little did I know……X