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  • Mon November 04 2002
  • Posted Nov 4, 2002
This weekend the search began. The great White Hope, The mighty Big Foot himself may be easier to find than the infamous Big Wheel. Knowingly Toys R Us is known to carry a '3 out of 5 star' durability tested Big Wheel, the first focus would be to see if we could get lucky by going to Goodwills, D.A.V. and a far off wish of just getting lucky enough to see one setting along side of the road for trash on Monday. All were a no-go OK... It's off to Toys R Us. Saturday afternoon at a Toys R Us. I've got 2 words for you - STAY AWAY ! If you don't have kids, and the thought of mall shopping makes you cringe, the result of pushing our way through short kids (They all seemed to be short?), mothers, stroller, carts, etc. One would think it was the weekend before Christmas! At the rear of the store was the bike and plastic riding toy section. A quick glance took me directly to a chromed out steel framed (yes, I said steel) Big Wheel called the "Scream Machine" that is made by the same company as the Razor scooters. This puppy was one fine unit. I stood on it and it did not budge. The seat had 3 settings, one of which set back far enough that allowed me to actually pedal. The front wheel was already rubber, it had a front brake and the best thing was it had freewheel that would allow coasting ( If Baumer would have only had this unit, things may have been different...) An amazing value for $75. After wiping the slobber off my lip, cheek and the short kid standing in front of me, I scanned the rest of the aisle for something to compare to. I spotted a Hot Wheels Mighty Wheel, the new model. Oh yes, it does have a 16 inch wheel, but it is much cheaper and much more flimsy than the older models. It's price was $34. This is what I saw on the ride last year. I moved on. Next up - a adult sized pogo stick that would support 200 pound. It was $50. Now I know this was not exactly Big Wheel material, the thought of pogo-ing the Big Wheel route did have a small flair in the back of my mind. I had to try it. I shooed the kids out from under my legs, picked it up, and hopped on. I was a master in a matter of seconds. I was getting some pretty decent air until I came down once a little sideways and it 'sprung' me into an aisle of roller blade accessories. Luckily no small folk were corralling below me. The power intrigued me, but hey... this is a Big Wheel Ride... right?? The pogo stick ride is in March :) hmm..? Next up - The Girl's Mighty Wheel, a bit smaller and more feminine in color, I knew I was going in the wrong direction. OK... back to the Scream Machine Would I get enough satisfaction out of buying something so perfect? Would it be right? for $75? I could not make the decision. Anyone could buy this... What would make mine special in a parking lot filled with others like it? Nope.. It twas not right for me. I needed something I could spend countless hours in the garage constructing a beast unique only to me. Would it still cost $75? maybe... Would I find a unit? maybe... Would mine hold up to the test of time? maybe... I would continue the hunt another day. Now get me the hell out of Toys R Us.!! Later that afternoon, an Ebay search provided two fine specimen from the early 70's for under $30 plus shipping, then several newer Big Wheel styles for the same prices offered at Toys R Us. No taxes, but you pay it all back in shipping costs. The 70's Big Wheels were new and in the box. Almost collector material... Too hard to modify? It be like finding a mint 57 Chevy and turning it into a shiner's car. It just ain't right... Happy huntin' ya'll !! Check out the Big Wheel Rally

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