"Helen Wheels" : ...Farewell, Good Summer...pg 7


Mar 26, 2012
6,767
13,075
Maplewood, MN
"And coming around the final turn is OddJob on his 50's muscle hog; 'Helen Wheels' . Will he make the finish by the end of August? Stay tuned, and keep the rubber side down!"

So, a little back story is needed to appreciate this bike. When my grandpa died tragically at the age of 61 back in '68, my grandma (Helen) wasn't ready to try and keep the farm going, since both my uncles were off in college and headed for careers. So she sold the farm, and moved into a house in the small town nearby.

She was a feisty woman, who once told me when I was 14 and riding in her 1969 Gran Torino with her,
"I can beat anybody off the light in this car!" And then promptly dusted the guy next to her.

She also continued to work well into her 70's. Her mainstay for a few years was as a combination janitor / lunch lady at the local elementary school. One day, while doing some waxing of floors a couple weeks after school was out, she noticed that there was still a bike chained to the bike rack outside. Deciding that it had been there long enough, she grabbed the biggest pair of bolt cutters they had, and made the bike her own.

For the next few years that she still had the house, all the grand kids would ride this bike whenever we were visiting. None of us had one of these at our houses, and we thought it was cool. The seat was big enough for two, if the passenger was a younger cousin. When she moved into an apt with little space, we took the bike out to our place, and my youngest brother rode it with us older ones taking a turn now and then as well.

When my dad passed away 7 yrs ago, we all spent a couple days at Mom's cleaning out the attic in the garage. My dad was great at valuing the old stuff / memories, and I gleaned my original trike, and some of his old logging / carpentry tools. My brother grabbed the bike (the day before I got there) and his Coast King pedal tractor along with the stave wagon my dad had custom made for the tractor.

As I was gazing at Chad T's 'Sting Rat' build the other day, a thought burned in my head,"I wonder what happened to that old bike of Helen's?" I remembered it had a purple seat cover, and that it was sprayed purple, but there was original green underneath. I couldn't for the life of me, remember if it was an actual Schwinn or not. So I sent my brother a text, and sure enough, he has had that bike in his garage attic for the past 7 yrs. You know, the kind of brother that doesn't volunteer any information unless he is asked. :rolleyes: I asked if he would bring it along on his next trip north, and on Thursday, I picked it up at my niece's house.

Through Chad T , Kingfish, a guy on the Muscle Bikes fb site and The CABE, guys have said it's a pig bike, some Schwinn stuff, Columbia frame (likely), Huffy crank possibly, etc. The term 'pig' feels a bit derogatory to me. I prefer 'muscle hog'. :grin:

66817800_2757545174320021_8366388420485840896_n.jpg
67193007_2250363571707410_9019789728030916608_n.jpg
64583285_476291492941408_8530384436649263104_n.jpg
67393192_337494783862138_7965212675170893824_n.jpg
67120800_1558838024252560_4636720081420681216_n.jpg
67292861_443470326502243_1086166172249882624_n.jpg
67563350_367348783965160_1946286360285413376_n.jpg
66881048_392165208318000_9186339295525339136_n.jpg
67693086_924904274512735_4539102475579293696_n.jpg
67023361_492214221528598_1159577771907743744_n.jpg


And after 50 years, Helen Wheels has found a new home in the BACK40....

67072315_2350872011793640_418120323305570304_n.jpg
 
Jun 27, 2017
1,155
2,497
56
Willow Spring, NC
"And coming around the final turn is OddJob on his 50's muscle hog; 'Helen Wheels' . Will he make the finish by the end of August? Stay tuned, and keep the rubber side down!"

So, a little back story is needed to appreciate this bike. When my grandpa died tragically at the age of 61 back in '68, my grandma (Helen) wasn't ready to try and keep the farm going, since both my uncles were off in college and headed for careers. So she sold the farm, and moved into a house in the small town nearby.

She was a feisty woman, who once told me when I was 14 and riding in her 1969 Gran Torino with her,
"I can beat anybody off the light in this car!" And then promptly dusted the guy next to her.

She also continued to work well into her 70's. Her mainstay for a few years was as a combination janitor / lunch lady at the local elementary school. One day, while doing some waxing of floors a couple weeks after school was out, she noticed that there was still a bike chained to the bike rack outside. Deciding that it had been there long enough, she grabbed the biggest pair of bolt cutters they had, and made the bike her own.

For the next few years that she still had the house, all the grand kids would ride this bike whenever we were visiting. None of us had one of these at our houses, and we thought it was cool. The seat was big enough for two, if the passenger was a younger cousin. When she moved into an apt with little space, we took the bike out to our place, and my youngest brother rode it with us older ones taking a turn now and then as well.

When my dad passed away 7 yrs ago, we all spent a couple days at Mom's cleaning out the attic in the garage. My dad was great at valuing the old stuff / memories, and I gleaned my original trike, and some of his old logging / carpentry tools. My brother grabbed the bike (the day before I got there) and his Coast King pedal tractor along with the stave wagon my dad had custom made for the tractor.

As I was gazing at Chad T's 'Sting Rat' build the other day, a thought burned in my head,"I wonder what happened to that old bike of Helen's?" I remembered it had a purple seat cover, and that it was sprayed purple, but there was original green underneath. I couldn't for the life of me, remember if it was an actual Schwinn or not. So I sent my brother a text, and sure enough, he has had that bike in his garage attic for the past 7 yrs. You know, the kind of brother that doesn't volunteer any information unless he is asked. :rolleyes: I asked if he would bring it along on his next trip north, and on Thursday, I picked it up at my niece's house.

Through Chad T , Kingfish, a guy on the Muscle Bikes fb site and The CABE, guys have said it's a pig bike, some Schwinn stuff, Columbia frame (likely), Huffy crank possibly, etc. The term 'pig' feels a bit derogatory to me. I prefer 'muscle hog'. :grin:
View attachment 99914

And after 50 years, Helen Wheels has found a new home in the BACK40....

View attachment 99916
Awesome story and cool ol' muscle hog. Really like the ratty paint job. Somebody was ahead of their time.


Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
 
  • Like
Reactions: OddJob
Mar 26, 2012
6,767
13,075
Maplewood, MN
Great back story! Wish I had access to some of my past like that.

What's the plan for it?
I want to preserve it for future generations in our family. My two grand-nieces are 1 1/2 and 3 1/2 yrs right now. They would be the next in line.

The Persons Solo Polo seat and original sissy bar have value to collectors, and I have them up for sale on the For Sale thread and elsewhere on the web. I will likely strip the purple paint to get to the lime metallic green underneath, and then do a 'spray over', like I did with the '68 One Owner MBBO bike I brought back for a friend a couple years ago.

From what I've found, it's a '50s era frame for a 20" wheeled kids cruiser. Not sure on make yet. That 'wishbone' seat stay is a stumper. Ideas?

Def keep the Schwinn Slik and wheel in the rear, and the Uniroyal Peerless tire and front wheel as well. Both tires have held air since Thurs and are in pretty good shape for being over 50 yrs old. **wish I could say that** :21:

Basically, clean it up, add period correct parts where needed, and keep it as RaT-isfactory as I can! ;)
 
Sep 7, 2014
3,142
6,112
52
Columbus OH
Will be interesting to see what you do with this one. If that back fender has a razor edge (back of it not folded over) and is in good shape you might want to put that into the flip pile.
 
  • Like
Reactions: OddJob
Mar 26, 2012
6,767
13,075
Maplewood, MN
Videologue #1 "Helen Wheels" intro. For some reason (phone storage probably used up) the video cuts off at 6:16. The ending was just a segue out anyway.

Also got started on the removal of the purple paint. White vinegar and #0000 Steel wool takes it off faster, but the 3M green scrubbie and vinegar seems to leave more of the green intact. It's going to be painted anyway, so, we'll see.

67584007_851503788556561_994600235458101248_n.jpg


And the elusive Q bolt from the video....

67219530_383313672368419_4129327531427889152_n (1).jpg
 

Attachments

Last edited:
Mar 26, 2012
6,767
13,075
Maplewood, MN
Thanks KF! Yeah, I was the oldest grand child, and spent a lot of time on the farm, and in the field with my grandma Helen and young uncles, who are like big brothers to me.

She was a outspoken card shark who could throw you around the dance floor and bowled a 300 game at age 80.

We still laugh about her and the character she was, and yes, she would have grabbed me and said "Oh my, now isn't that something!?!" ( the RRB accepted version)
 
  • Like
Reactions: kingfish254
Mar 26, 2012
6,767
13,075
Maplewood, MN
Hmm the next buildoff is a 20" wheel free for all I think.... I'd be pulling that bike out then. I have an early Scrambler I'll be tweaking out. (the first frame after they quit using stingrays for bmx) but that pig bike is cool so build on...

Sent from the edge of an alternate universe...
Yeah, I wondered if there would be another MBBO this Fall. But last year it started so late, even I was lucky to be done before the 'polar vortex' settled in here in the North country.

I'll start on it now, and move it to Other Builds if I don't get it done by the end of BO#14.

What year / make / model was that cool little bike you did that won a Hottest Hot Rod Award , GC?

MBBO #5, "Hot Rod Lincoln".

GC hot rod lincoln.jpg


I'm shooting for a fade paint job on Helen Wheels, and maybe some doodadery as well.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Scribble