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December 01, 2007


Brian Disco Snell

Oh, I actually had the stunt cycle. Loads of funs.

Question about the ad, though. "Jumps your set of encyclopedias volumes A through W!" Does this mean that the stunt cycle wasn't good enough to clear a full set, A to Z? Were volumes X-Z a "bridge too far" for Evel? Or were the copy-writers unclear on the full extent of the English alphabet?

"Sensational leaps over your neighborhood ditch!" The phrase sounds like "your local library" or such...did every neighboorhood have their own ditch in the '70s? (Not that I recall...some had several, some had none.) Was maintaining a ditch a source of local pride? "Our ditch is better than yours, Shelbyville!!"

Odd ad copy aside, I loved the stunt cycle..but it was as noisy as hell, so my parent quickly regretted buying it for me (but, since it was from "Santa," they really couldn't bad mouth it in front of me..hee hee...)

Here's a bunch of YouTube videos of people having fun with their Stunt Cycles...man, the 21st century is cool.

We miss you, Evel. I hope your jumping over those pearly gates right now...VROOM!!

Mark Engblom

Thanks for the link, Brian! As you can see, I've added one of the videos to the post.

Hey, nice catch on the A-W encyclopedia jumping stats. I can just picture the Research and Development team at Ideal Toys getting brow-beat by the jerks in marketing, "It's GOTTA jump A-Z! Buncha' nerds!"

I'm proud to say that my neighborhood had its own ditch system. In fact, every spring when they flooded up, us kids made our own rafts out of big slabs of styrofoam (I'm still not sure where those came from, or how kids were able to get ahold of 5-foot slabs of styrofoam). Come to think of it, we were kinda like bell-bottomed, styrofoam-sailing 1970's versions of Huck Finn.

Yes, indeed...I can also picture Evel jumping his cosmic Heaven Cycle up and over the Pearly Gates and, fittingly, crash spectacularly. Of course, every crash in Heaven is injury-free!

Dr. Retro

Okay, I know I'll be the envy of the entire blogosphere, but I've stil got my Evel stunt cycle. And it still works! I've videoed my kids doing a jump with it, but sorry, not on YouTube. I've also got the promotional Evel comic from the 70s. Someone recently came out with replicas of the old toys and for a while they were sold at Cracker Barrel restaurants. Wanted to get one for the boy, but the wife wasn't crazy about the idea.

Mark Engblom

"Wanted to get one for the boy, but the wife wasn't crazy about the idea."

Hah! See?...the conspiracy is still going on! Fight the power (of our wives)!

Ivan Wolfe

Without Evel Knievel, there would be no Ghost Rider.

I was born just barely too late to catch the Evel Knievel wave, but I have seen a few documentaries about him. The man was brave, tenacious, reckless and completely insane.

But, we still have Ghost Rider comics, so there's that.

Rick Rottman

The thing I remember about the plywood ramps I built as a kid was that I never bothered to build a landing ramp. I would only built the initial jumping ramp and then nothing to land on. The thing is, I don't remember none of the other kids building two ramps. It was always just one.

I think about that a lot when I see kids today wearing helmets while they ride their bikes. It's not that we wouldn't have worn them too, especially if they were red, white, and blue like Evel's. I don't think any of our parents would have bought us helmets. I think they would have thought it was a waste of money. I even had an aunt who fell off her bicycle and fractured her skull. If there was ever a clue that bicycles could be dangerous, it was that. I think the feeling back then was that my aunt injuring herself in such a serious manor was a fluke. It wasn't a sign that bikes could be dangerous.

Mark Engblom

"I don't think any of our parents would have bought us helmets. I think they would have thought it was a waste of money."

So true! Keep in mind, this was also the generation of parents that didn't bother having us wear seat belts in the car. It's something I continue to kid them about to this day ("What were you thinking?")

Considering every time we got into our parents' cars was a major risk-taking venture, I suppose the bike jumps (and the potential injuries from them) was just part of growing up in the 60's and 70's.

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