Knock-Off Knock-Out

By Leon Scott Baxter

In fourth grade I wanted a Mongoose BMX racing bike for Christmas. We didn’t have much money, so, instead of the elite two-wheeler, Mom got me the Kmart version. I really didn’t mind. It looked pretty much the same as its expensive cousin. It seemed to work as well as a Mongoose. But I was concerned with what my friends would say when they found out my bike came from a discount store.

“Why not tell them it’s a Winning Bike?” Mom advised. There was something about the idea that I liked. So, when asked, I held my head high and announced the bike was a “Dubya Bee” (WB, you know — Winning Bike). I guess the confidence paid off. No one wanted to admit they’d never heard of one, so I was praised for my new vehicle.

Then I told Mom I wanted to race it. This was before helmets were mandatory for street riding, but, for racing, helmets were necessary. I was the only 10-year-old wearing his mother’s motorcycle helmet sitting atop a Blue Light Special.

In a flash I was left in a cloud of dust. As I struggled to catch the mob, the leader rode into a turn with a high wall, like a wave just about to crest. With speed and the right lean, one could take a turn like this. He had the speed, but leaned too much. He went down, as did the rest of the mob.

Suddenly, I was closing the gap. But I had no experience racing. No speed. No lean. But, no expectation, either. To avoid the carnage, my Dubya Bee and I went where no racer had gone before, I was later told. I rode the crest of the wave, a five-inch rim, and strolled by the other racers like a ride at the park. The trophy was gaudy: big, and red and green (a great Christmas decoration). I never won another. A month later I retired from the sport. But, I fondly look back at those days when a boy could find pride in a cheap bike and his mother’s helmet.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Thousands of Plaintiffs Added to Refugio Oil Spill Case

Litigation follows footsteps of 1969 Union Oil spill attorneys.

Push Comes to Shove Between Law Enforcement and Mental Health

County supervisors confront too many needs with not enough money.

Helicopter Hits Electrical Wires, Starts Small Fire

A crop duster hit power lines in Ellwood Canyon.

County Accountant Pleads Guilty to Embezzling $2 Million

Forensic audit discovers almost 300 false invoices filed over nine years.

Los Padres ForestWatch Opposes Logging in Condor Country

Timber companies target 2,800 acres of trees near Mt. Pinos along the Tecuya Ridge.