Sunday, May 3, 2009

I Want to Ride my Bicycle, I Want to Ride my Bike...

While riding my patrol bicycle recently, my mind hearkened back to my younger days. When we were kids and before we got our driver's licenses, Brother Smith (I'll call him Thumper) and I used to ride our bicycles EVERYWHERE.

We often rode twenty or more miles in a day without even flinching. Some of the things we did make me wonder how we survived.

There was one area where everybody went to ride called Snake Hill. The area was arranged in such a way that you would start at the top of an incline and ride down a trail that was about a foot wide to pick up speed. At the bottom of this incline was dirt mound about five feet high that you'd hit and catch SERIOUS air.

The catch was that the landing area was pretty small...

And it ended rather abruptly...

And if you didn't stop you'd end up in the thistles. Yeah. Good times.

Did I mention Thumper rode this on a ten-speed road bike? You know, the ones with the ram's horn handlebars and the skinny road tires. Definitely NOT a mountain bike.

A little farther down the trail was The Bowl. As its name implies, it was a bowl shaped depression (we later learned this depression was because a major earthquake fault runs down that hillside...). We would ride up to the edge of the bowl, where the dirt dropped off rather steeply, ride down into the bowl and up the other side, again catching BIG air. The landing area for The Bowl was substantially bigger than for the other jump, but if you overran it the consequences were no less serious. I can tell you it does not feel good to run into a Eucalyptus tree.

We also used to ride up into several regional parks around the east bay with some steep, loose terrain. There was one day in particular that sticks in my memory. We were riding along a main trail when we noticed a deer trail running down the slope and into a big bush at the bottom. The trail was fairly straight and you could see right through the bush at the bottom. The bush was actually several large bushes grown together and sort of hollowed out in the center. You could ride the trail right through the middle of the bush and out the other side. The opening where the trail passed through was pretty narrow, but the branches looked like they would move right out of the way.

Thumper, by this time finally riding a real mountain bike, went first and I followed a few seconds behind. We got up to a pretty quick pace and I looked up just in time to see Thumper disappear into the bush. When he hit the bush the branches flipped aside, just as we had expected. Then they flipped right back into place, and a bunch of leaves fluttered along in his wake. It looked just like a cartoon!

Still one of the baddest fricken things I ever saw...

That was also the day we were reminded that I don't have any reaction to poison oak, and Thumper has a SERIOUS reaction to poison oak...

Ahhh, yes. The good ol' days...

5 comments:

Just me... said...

Ours was 'Booger Bottom' - called such because we were certain that after dark the ghosties and goulies (AKA boogers) came out to feast on unsuspecting kids who were riding bikes when they should be at home..
But, then, we're girls... :):)

Front Porch Society said...

lol. Ah, memories.....sounds like y'all had fun with your bikes! :)

powdergirl said...

Good times!
My sons have moved on to dirt-bikes, quads and dune buggies. But the pedal bikes still get a good work, too.

The Bus Driver said...

HA!! that brought back memories.. of me being hurled over the handlebars with no helmet....on a similar trail. I miraculously was ok and not even all that banged up!

Thanks for the memories!

Officer "Smith" said...

HELMETS?!

HA!!

We didn't need no stinkin' helmets. We were kids before you needed helmets on motorcycles, let alone bicycles.