King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Monday, March 7

On Bicycle Motocross

I had a problem. I had my cycling proficiency coming up, and my old Raleigh Chopper had a lose headset, something listed as "very dangerous." This meant I would fail my test before I even started, so my Dad asked my mate Nick if I could borrow his BMX.
It was futile anyway, and I failed my test. Not that it meant anything, because I still went on to ride on the roads anyway. But, for my next birthday, I asked if I could have Nick's bike permanently, and he was offering to sell it for £45. For the first time ever, I had a trendy bike, not a hand-me-down from my sister.
At the same time, near where I lived they created a woodland walk through the woods down the side of my hill. This meant we could go flat out down our own personal BMX track, only to then have to turn around and push the bike back up the hill. We soon got tired of that. I had another problem with the bike too, and this was a rather more specific problem. I would bunny hop kerbs, just wheelie-ing up with the front wheel, and the back wheel would inevitably follow.
"Psssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssst" went the back tyre. Yes, I had the only BMX in the world that couldn't hop up a kerb. Checking the inner tube and a tell tale double teeth mark, like Nosferatu himself had had a go at it, signified that hopping up kerbs was a bad idea. In fact, over the life of the bike, I was reminded several times that it didn't like kerbs, bricks, ramps or small children. And always with the double puncture mark, I became quite adept at repairing punctures.
I remember going to the cinema to see the dreadful "BMX Bandits", and believed myself to be a most excellent sprinter. One Saturday afternoon in the pub with my Mum and Dad, they sent me off to buy some fish and chips. The mile and a half ride was a doddle, but I had the added challenge of my father timing me. Off I set, rattling down Harold Road with a 100 revolutions a minute cadence and one gear, which is great for a couple of hundred yards, but not for a mile and a half. In the end I sat back in the saddle, and took my sweet ol' time. By the time I got back my father was ripping the piss out of me, with lines like "it would have been quicker if you'd walked," and "I didn't ask you to go to Croydon to get the chips."
One spring Saturday afternoon, and playing out again, the pedal became dislodged from the crank shaft. A further inspection showed that the thread had gone on the crank shaft, meaning a replacement was required. The local bike shop couldn't help, apparently it was unique to that bike. So, we took it to a welder in Streatham (pronounced St. Reatham by it's posher residents) who duly welded the whole thing into one tangible lump of metal. I think it lasted a week. I seem to remember we were being visited by my family from North Wales, a rare event in itself, and so on the Saturday morning I managed to persuade my father and my uncle to take me to Halfords on the London Road in Croydon to get the crank replaced. Thinking back, I seem to remember it wasn't much more than a tenner, but I also seem to remember thinking it was a small fortune.
Another time I'd spent riding around Crystal Palace Park (Guaranteed to have TDT sniggering, she finds that so funny), and in the adventure playground a jump made the handlebars emit a loud "craaaack!" It was nothing serious, but they'd become lose and would move backward and forward easily. I remember cycling home trying not to put any weight behind them and failing miserably. It must have seemed like forever, with the handlebar resting on the crossbar and jibes from people outside the pubs, before I got home and fixed it with my trusty Allen key set.
I remember when I'd finally got bored of it a few years later. In my infinite wisdom I decided to sell the wheels (they were both like the back wheel shown in the picture above) because they were unique. Steve, who lived behind me, brought them for a tenner (that paid for the crank shaft then) and I was left with a bike without wheels. I seem to remember we took it to the dump in the end. There was nothing wrong with it, except it had no wheels, but it was in the way in the garage and my mother was fed up of tripping over it.
I got my first racing bike instead...