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Daily Photo: Poncho and Banana Seat Bike

Banana Seat Bike with ape-hanger handle bars and a girl in a poncho.Nothing says Generation X childhood like a banana seat bike and plaid poncho.

If you look closely, you’ll see the paint on this banana seat bike is a grassy green fading into lemon yellow. This ombre paint design where colors fade into each other was very popular trend in bikes in the 1970s. I won a bike almost exactly like this in a contest at Puente Hills Mall in 1973 or 1974.  The paint, however, was slightly more gradient in style. It faded from green to yellow, but there was a transition color, turquoise, between them. It was so cool and I loved that bike so much! The contest was a drawing at Kinney Shoes. Unfortunately, the bike was stolen just days after I won it. I was pretty heartbroken, but I still had my old purple banana seat bike (complete with flower basket) to ride around the neighborhood. The seat was so glittery.

Here is a terrific example of gradient paint on a Huffy bike beloved by first-wave Gen-Xers. Note the year, 1969.


One of the things I love about the first picture is that it hasn’t been edited with modern-day software like Photoshop or even PicMonkey. Take for example this beautiful photo of four girls on three banana seat bikes. There’s a lot of 1970s glory in this photograph. Unfortunately, it was transformed by 21st-century tools. No longer does it sing with faded light and outdated colors. The nostalgia is almost lost along with the beauty that comes with age. It’s now overly saturated and a frosted border has been added. You have to look twice, even three times, to realize this picture was taken in the 1970s. The true indication that it was taken in 1970s is the handlebars. Also, the tube socks.

What Makes Pictures of Generation X Look Old?

Film in the 1960s and 70s was not nearly as good as today’s films. While slide films provided great color, especially in low light, print films didn’t have the contrast and saturation we enjoy today. Color dyes in the film also fade over time, usually becoming more yellow.

Did you have a banana seat bike? What color was it? As far as the poncho, you get bonus points if you had one that looked like an afghan!

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. Rebecca

    Oh, how I loved learning to ride a bike on my yellow and orange banana-seat bike! And Kinney Shoes – well we’d go there or Buster Browns each fall to get my school shoes!! What an amazing blog you have here. I look forward to reading more. I only wish I’d dis covered it sooner!

    • Jennifer

      Thank you, Rebecca! I appreciate that. I’ve been at it a long time and every day I wonder if I should let it go. =/ Your encouragement means a lot! The banana seat bike pictures are among my favorites. Very sweet memories meandering unsupervised on my bike. =)

  2. Rachel

    My poncho was chocolate brown with a white and orange stripe, if I remember correctly.
    I did not have a banana seat, as much as I wanted a sparkly one.
    I love the rainbow shirt in the picture above. Anything rainbow.
    Funny I was JUST looking up G.A.S.S. shoes a couple days ago!!! I never had any, but I loved how they made the imprint in the sand when you walked.

    • Jennifer

      I wanted those shoes so bad, too!! And, yes, everything rainbow. I remember in 8th grade making a list of all my rainbow stuff for the start of school. Around this time, parrots were also everywhere. We were a tropical bunch, eh? I had a black poncho with a lot of different colors. Wish I still had it.

  3. Mari

    Kinney shoe store! Home of the ubiquitous GASS brown shoes that almost everyone wore in grade school. Did you have a pair of those?! 🙂

    • Jennifer

      I remember them, but I never had a pair. Great memory. I remember wanting Hush Puppies. I never had those either! Maybe I went barefoot. haha!


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