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Column Prompts Flood of Fond Memories of an Almost-Whizzer

Whizzer

I can’t tell you how much I loved Sam Moore’s column (Farm Collector, December 2014) on the old Whizzer! As a kid in the mid-1960s, I had the same feelings of freedom and flight on my bike. I was in grade school and already working for a man down the block from my home. He sold candy and cigarettes to stores and I packed boxes and kept the truck loaded for him. He had an extensive mechanical background and I was learning fast. He told me about the Whizzer from years past and I wanted one in the worst way!

Dad was a working man with five boys, so no one was buying me anything anytime soon. I could never save enough to buy one or anything like it. It was funny, my parents loved to see me work, but seldom let me take any money for said work. So it was time to build my own machine, sort of.

Somehow I scrounged an old bike frame that had a mount for an engine of some sort. I got an old lawn mower engine and I figured I was home free: Not so much. I had no idea for control or how to get power to the wheel. A big problem was the elusive centrifugal clutch. It was the linchpin of the whole project. Sure, I could buy one, if I’d had the money and someone inclined to drive me to a store to get one, but I had neither.

So that project sat as I moved on to steady income from paper routes and more responsible work and pay from the guy down the block. I finally got a small, used motorcycle and never looked back.

My project disappeared from the basement at some point, but I never forgot the feeling I had that I was so close to success with my first attempt at self-built powered transportation. The victory would have been sweetened by the fact that I would have built it “sort of” by myself.

I got over it, but never forgot about it. They say you never forget your first one. I guess that was it for me. So it was with great delight that I read Sam Moore’s column on the Whizzer and its history. I still have the fond memories of the one I never really had.

Mike Medora via email