For those of us who freestyle, the double top tube frame holds a special place in our hearts - it reminds us of our old Haro Master, General or Ozone. But for me, well before freestyle, the double top tube was something else.
I was 10, my little brother - David - 5. In those days, it was not uncommon for children to go out into the world with no supervision - roaming the neighborhoods and streets, high speed through alleys and walking atop fences - miles away from home. One of our favorite places to go was the local five-and-dime store called TG&Y - a fifteen minute bike ride from our house. TG&Y had toys and candy - and that's what David and I rode there to get.
David sat on the double top tube with his feet propped up near the headset. To hold on, he'd place his hands on the handlebar crossbar. I'd shield him by wrapping my arms around, as I kept my hands tight on the grips. Even though I was just 10 yrs. old, this was a solid set-up, and somehow we managed to ride all over the West Side of Santa Cruz without incident. David would hold on to our goodies in his lap as we made our way back home; sometimes we'd stop at the school playground. It was just he and I - freedom through the simple functionality of a double top-tube frame. He was my best, little friend.
We all grew up; David ended up with the Panda eventually, but there was no little brother for him to ride on the double top tube frame. The bike was stolen, recovered, and eventually scrapped or given away; like many things we outgrow, I can't specifically recall how it met its final demise. I don't have many photographs of that bike, just dusty memories of those cool, golden summer days of my childhood.
David committed suicide in March of 2002 at the age of 22 at Antonelli's Pond on the West Side of Santa Cruz. There sits a rock with a plaque we dedicated to him. Before my little brother died, he was, at times, still my passenger - this time not on my bike but in my car - I was 25 and he was 20. And although he no longer sat in front of me, but rather beside me, it was still a solid set up for me and my best, little friend.