I finally got around to catching up on reading the papers I was too busy to get to last week, and when I saw the obituary for Al Fritz, who died at the age of 88, it brought back a wave of memories most Lurchers should share. That’s because Fritz invented the Sting-Ray bike. Kids didn’t know his name, but they sure knew what they wanted.

Before the Sting-Ray came along, we all peddled around the neighborhood on our normal-sized Schwinns. When Fritz, who worked for Schwinn, saw how kids were sticking their own long handlebars and banana seats on their bikes to snazzy them up, the light bulb went off. This bike made riding cool.

My Schwinn was like the Beatles. The Sting-Ray was the Rolling Stones.

No wonder vintage models now sell for thousands.