Thursday, October 13, 2005

The mini-bike days.


I remember when I was a kid, my sister and I would go to our cousins house and ride their four wheelers. So, we'd come home and complain forever about wanting a four wheeler. My dad, who couldn't afford a four wheeler, went out and got us this beat up old mini-bike frame and slowly pieced together a sweet mini-bike for us to ride. It was completely black, with this big huge white seat. I remember sitting in the garage and staring at it before it was finished imagining how I was going to jump ramps with it.
The day finally came when the mini bike fired up, and my dad took it for a test ride. I don't remember who went first, my sister or me, but when it was my turn, I climbed on it.. got my seating position, reached up and grabbed the handle bars. I felt a lot of power holding on to those handlebars staring down the road.
My goal was to sail down the road and wave at the neighbors like I was a bad ass. That's not what happened. In all my anxiety to ride the thing, I didn't listen to my dad as he was giving me instructions on how to ride this thing. He was talking in my ear as the engine rumbled (lawn mower engine) beneath me.. I was off in another land. Finally, i felt him pat my back and say go. At that point, I grabbed the throttle and yanked on it as hard as I could.
What a sweet ride that was. I went about 20 ft. I was almost off the back of the thing when I hit the chain link fence at full speed. I flew up and nailed the fence, and the front of the bike went under the fence. I biffed it good. I came down, went inside and didn't ride the thing for months.
My dad talked me into taking rides on it to see how its done, which I agreed to. He would sit behind me, and I would hold onto the front of the steel handle bars. We would go up and down the road, and I would keep a close eye on how he ran the throttle.
I grew up on a dirt road. The road commission would put stones on it once a year.. maybe. The road would become riddled with potholes. I knew where they all were too, because all I did all summer long was ride my dirt bike up and down that road jumping over the potholes.
This one time, I'm on the front of the mini-bike, my dad on the back. We're coming up this little hill at the end of the road. I still remember seeing that pothole from about 10 ft. away, and saying the word 'pothole'.. I guess I didn't say it loud enough. We hit that pothole with vengeance. The complete front tire sank in it causing an extreme jarring motion for us riders. Apparently, we were jarred so much, that we pushed too hard on the handlebars. They snapped.
The mini-bike came out of the pothole, but at this point there was no steering. I can see it all now in slow motion. The front tire just started this wiggling back and forth really fast. Eventually (well, probably in seconds) it went completely sideways, sending me and my dad lunging forward off the front of the thing. My dad landed on me and I banged up my knee pretty good. I don't even remember how we got the mini-bike home, but I remember after that, I didn't much like that thing. I stayed off of it for a year.
Eventually, I rode it, dug it and burnt my leg on the engine.