Howdy, all --
In "Breaking Away," Dave's dad bought him the bike.
I suspect more of us had hot and pricey rides in our JD years than you might think. My first real racing bike, at the tender age of 15 (1983), was a Trek 560, Reynolds 501 with a mixture of Sakae, Suntour and Dia Compe parts. Bought it with my own $$, thanks to an evening job shagging the range at a local golf course. I rode it hard for about a year, replacing the drivetrain with Superbe Pro; the cheesy brakes got dumped for Modolo Speedys, the clinchers with Wolber Aspins on OMAS hubs. Sold the bike to my dad in late '84, and replaced it with a Gianni Motta Personal 2001, Italian flag colors, with black anodized Galli KL Aero, and some sexy Nisi Lasers. At the time, I paid $1850, more than the bike would have been with pantographed SR, and more than my first car cost a few years later. I had a job, working nearly full time, and spent every minute not at school or at work on the bike. Didn't sell it until just a couple of years ago, despite buying and selling eight other high-end bikes over the last 20 years. (Miss that mechanic's job...) I bought my first custom frame, a Braxton ATB, as a senior in HS, and inherited Sam's personal fixed gear errand bike -- mostly Zeus 2000 track components -- after his death in '89. I was 20 at the time, and had four other bikes in my apartment back then.
Anyway, even as a sophomore in HS, when the other kids were buying ratty Camaros, I never regretted blowing that much money on the Motta. Wish I still had it, as a matter of fact; Sam's fixie is the only other bike I've owned with as much soul. If I'd saved all of the money I spent in my teens on bicycles, wheels, race entry fees, Criterium Setas and lycra, I probably could have bought a 924 instead, or gone to a better college! Wouldn't change a thing, though.
Oh, and don't forget the rich kids out there, whose parents had better jobs than mine. A guy I rode with in high school had a custom Braxton with an eclectic mix of Cambio Rino derailleurs, Assos cranks and rims, and Modolo Kronos brakes. It was exotic enough 20 years ago to make my flashy Motta look a little staid. The guy who beat me regularly as a junior rode a full SR Trek 170, and two of his pals rode the blue Miyata Team frames, one with full Dura Ace EX, the other with AX. I remember, even as a green junior, lining up against guys on Rossins, Guerciottis, the occasional Masi and a passal of Vituses. (Viti?) And this was in Montana, too! I guess it all depended on one's priorities.
Enough of my rambling down memory lane...