It is a story that begins with polyethylene and toy telephones and tea sets, and ends with one of the most elusive Star Trek collectibles of all time: the Star Trek Super Slick plastic cycle.
After World War II, brothers David and Louis Goldrosen, along with partner Peter Salzer, founded the Worcester Toy Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. The company became famous for its toy tea sets and ride-on plastic cycles. In fact, Worcester made news in 1955 for its use of polyethylene in the construction of toys. Although its innovation goes back to the turn of last century, polyethylene was not utilized in large-scale industrial manufacturing until the late 1940s and, really, the 1950s. Seeing its value in the construction of sturdy and difficult-to-break toys, Worcester utilized the plastic to construct many of its famous toys.
As the toy company grew in popularity, it also started to produce licensed products, including Heinz ketchup bottle themed ride-on toys. As Star Trek returned to mainstream consciousness during the mid 1970s, toy companies like MEGO Corporation were having great success with Star Trek action figures and role-playing items. With the promise of a new movie on the horizon, Worcester advertised two Star Trek versions of its Slick Cycles in its 1978 toy catalog. Indeed, the “Star Trek Cycle” graced the cover of the catalog, a symbol of the company’s hopes for a successful product line. Kids were promised that the cycles would aid them at “Beaming across the neighborhood galaxies at 'warp speed.'”
The first of the two cycles was the regular “Star Trek Cycle.” Star Trek stickers adorned the cycle, with its coolest feature arguably being the futuristic handlebars positioned as a U.S.S. Enterprise systems panel and featuring six talking space messages. The second version was the “Star Trek, Jr.,” a smaller version sans the system panel handlebars, made for preschool aged fans.
Interestingly, there is a mystery as to whether or not either cycle was ever actually produced and sold in large quantities, or if the cycles never got beyond the catalog stage for actual consumption by 1970s fans. If you ever had either of the Worcester Star Trek cycles, please share your comments below or at the Star Trek.com Facebook page.
Personal note: We hope that someday another Star Trek-themed cycle could be produced for the next generation of fans. In fact, might we suggest a Borg themed bike… it could be called the Borg Regeneration Cycle.
Special Thanks: Thank you to the editors and owners of the excellent nostalgia site Plaid Stallions (http://plaidstallions.com/) whose detective work inspired this article and whose photographs we use here with permission.