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HOW TO SAVE YOUR TIRES

The calm before the wheelie (Photo : Beef) Houston, we have lift off... (Photo : Beef)

I think I was about 14 or 15 years old at the time. I had a reputation for being able to do long wheelies. Somewhere there's a photo of me, looking like a young surfer kid, with shoulder length, bright blonde hair, confidently riding my bike on one wheel. My Mum is on the case to find the photo and if she does, it'll be posted on this site. Also, I'm told on good authority that there's somebody under psychiatric care in an Adelaide hospital who can also vouch for my status as a wheelie king, but that's another story altogether.

I was doing BMX before BMX was even invented (well, it might have been. It just hadn't reached suburban Adelaide). I used to ride this mongrel of a bike that built was in the fashion of the times. Full size road bike frame, big front wheel, small Dragster back wheel, wide cowhorn handlebars and significantly, no brakes.

Having no brakes was more a matter of practicality that bravado. My wheels were buckled. Which meant I could never adjust the brakes well enough for them to work. So I simply ditched them and developed this technique of pressing the sole of my left shoe against the back tire. As a method of  slowing a bike, it was surprisingly effective. As a means of wearing out school shoes, it was better still. Anyway, the point of all this is that I can somehow remember saying to myself at the time, that if I can still do a good long wheelie at the age of forty, I'll be really cool.

I turned forty in August of 2000, which isn't too far from the time that the guys (and a couple of the girls) from teamabsolut nick-named me Wheelie, for obvious reasons. So I guess I achieved the one great ambition in my life. And not a lot of people get to do that. Then again, most people generally set their ambitions just a little higher. So that's me, well at least a little bit of me. I celebrated my fortieth by buying a new Intense Tracer. I'm sure you'll be interested to read it's just as good on one wheel as it is on two. And it's built to last, which is good. Because I've still got one ambition left in life. Which is to do a good long wheelie at the age of sixty. Now that will be really cool.

Comments or criticism can be sent to wheelie@teamabsolut.net

 

This page was last updated on 05/30/02.
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