I have been throwing a blog post together for a while about my adventures as a kid on my bikes. Today I cracked it and decided to post them one story at a time. The first one is a tale of some young boys taking on a task that experienced stunt men would think twice about. There may be some embellishment here and there, it happened over thirty years ago.
Like most young aussie kids, I lived on my bike from about 6 onwards. I had loads of stacks, but the one that made all involved laugh hardest (much later on), and caused the most injury, was a stunt that went badly wrong.
This stuff up happened in the late 70s, so you can be assured there were NO helmets, and the safety clothing would have been Kiss T-shirts, footy short and thongs (flip flops for the US audience, we didn’t ride in g-strings!) for the safety conscious.
We had, with the help of a few dads, built a bit of a BMX track thing down besides the local park. It had a few jumps, burms and moguls as one of the kids use to call the bit where we just lumped all the left over dirt. We spent plenty of time down there and had an absolute blast. I was the only kid that didnt have a BMX bike, I had an old Bennet 10 speed racer that got smashed and bashed but it held up somehow.
One bored day of the school holidays, we decided to try a stunt that involved all 6 of the gang. There were 2 jumps at 90 degrees to each other, and we decided we would try and do 3 up each jump and try and criss cross through the air. We had some practise runs where the 3 reds would go, then the 3 blues. Teams were important, though for what reason escapes me right now. Things were going well. It was decided that 2 second intervals would be plenty. Speed, timing and 100% dedication were all spoken about. We even had a crowd of younger kids by this stage, all excited by the spectacular stunt they were about to witness. I remember the reds were going 1st. I was rider #2 in the blue team, right in the middle of the action. If we pulled this off, we were off to the Royal Easter Show, for sure.
The time of reckoning had come. We lined up about 20 metres from our jumps. Tensions were high.
Ready. Set. Go. We were off. Now, obviously, sticking to a plan isnt the strongest point for 12 year old boys. Both teams started at the same time despite agreeing that team red would go 1st. This, in hindsight, wasnt the smartest move. In my eargerness, my 2 second count was probably more like .6 of a second. I was generous it seemed. Rider #3 for the blue team was virtually next to me. Rider #1 for the reds was powering towards the jump. I was trying hard to stay in front of rider #3, which pushed me just about level with rider #1. I looked to my left, team red were in a similar situation. I was about 5 metres from the jump when i realised things weren’t exactly going according to planned. I slowed ever so slightly, trying to get a 0.01 second gap out to 2 seconds to make room for rider #2 of the red team to sail safely in front of me. In doing so, I clipped Blue #1?s rear wheel, just as he hit the jump. I saw his foot come off the pedal and he veered violently to the left, and probably due to the fact that team blue had the more athletic team, we were slightly in front of where we should have been. He was now leaving the jump, spearing straight towards Red #1. Red #1, seeing this, tried to avert disaster by grabbing a fist full of brake. Brakes, as we all know, dont work all that well in midair, and there was just enough time for him to realise his mistake, and the smile on his face to invert itself, before the 1st collision happened. From there on, things are a bit blurry. I hit the jump perfectly, looked to my left and copped a bike tyre right across the bridge of the nose. Next thing I know. I was lying on the ground, trapped between a Bennet 10 speed and a BMX bike belong to #3 of my team. 1 of the 6 had managed to bail out and not joined the other 5 in a mangled heap.
When I finally looked up, the group of young kids had legged it. They wanted no part of this disaster. The dirty bastard that bailed out legged it. The rest of us laid there in a heap of bikes and bodies, all stunned that our 2 mins of planning had failed us.
The up shot was, 2 of the 5 in the heap started to cry. A move they would regret til we all left high school. 2 bikes were virtually ruined. From my hazey memory, all told there were 16 stitches handed out, 1 broken wrist, 3 black eyes and bruises too numerous to count. Of all the bikes, the Bennet was least broken, it only lost a brake lever. We slowly picked our selves up, tried to be brave and laughed about it and head home. I was the only one able to ride home. It was revealed years later, that, once home, we all cried!
I last saw one of the blokes involved in that a few years ago, and he still has a ripper scare across his forehead and a sore wrist in cold weather because of that stack. Its easily the best stack of my life.
Over the next week or so I will tell the story of the flaming bike, and why you shouldn’t use 2 stroke as a stunt prop.
If you have tales of childhood bike disasters, put them in the comments.