In the pursuit of speed.
I have mentioned many times before that I was unfortunate to spend most of my child years living on a hill. This hill, being a 1:8 hill or 12% in new money, was considered a challenge. We started out with the obligatory cycling as fast as possible down it. Even though it was only a quarter of a mile long, still greatly exaggerated speeds were impressed upon other local children. 40, 50, 55 miles an hour were boasted. The fact of the matter was that the hill didn’t offer as great a speed as we would have liked. We went in pursuit of further thrills.
All the houses down the left hand side of the hill had long green soft lawns. This was a godsend, because taking the corner too fast nearly always protected you from serious harm. Cycling wasn’t so straight forward, and a few people (including myself) had been seen screaming at the top of their voices as they disappeared over Mr Smith’s pride and joy and into his freshly trimmed hedge. We needed to extort this, and we found the ideal way.
Skateboards are good. They have good controllability, a good illusion of speed, and in the event you come off, you don’t have so far to fall. So, the road became a cresta run. The pavement became something the local pensioners could no longer walk up without fear of having their legs swept out from underneath them. Fleets of teenage youths in formations the Red Arrows would have been proud of could be seen heading down the hill sometimes as fast as 25 or 30 miles an hour. Sometimes in the pursuit of controllability people tried sitting on stolen wardrobe doors from local skips or garages. This normally ended up in maimed fingers, grazed elbows, or even worse, Dad’s new car impaled on a plank of wood. One neighbour found an old sledge, and it was drier on the hill then it was snowy, so the sledge was adopted to fit over the skateboard. This was a truly awesome mode of transport. In the event of losing controllability, the skateboard was automatically ditched and the sledge skidded normally to a sedate halt. Eventually the sledge bottomed out, and holes appeared in both sides and became unusable.
"My Dad’s old moped is in the garage."
"Oooh, I dunno mate, that sounds a bit risky."
"Oh, come on, what’s the worst that can happen?"
It did. Mr. Pork, aka the filth, just happened to take a rare trip down the hill just as we were lugging this Honda C90 up the hill. Did we have licences, insurance, MOT? *Cough*bollocks*cough* did we. Luckily, living in a quiet residential street he let us off. He knew my neighbour, the curtain twitcher, and vowed that if he heard that moped had left the garage without correct documentation he’d have a “word” with our parents.
Small mercies eh?
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