I chipped my front tooth.....
Me and Willa were up in Canada in 05 I think. We had gone up to see a friend in North Bay and we were rambling around as we ambled along coming back south.
We were in a nice campground and I wanted to go out and see the countryside and decided the best way to do this would be on a bicycle. Unfortunately ,,,,,,,, I didn't have a bike. I asked Willa if she would like to go rent a bike and go riding and she told me no and she would stay home and read and relax but I should go on and have some fun and take some pictures as I rode along. I got in the truck and went looking for a bike rental shop. I got kinda off the main road and I found a bicycle rental place that rented mountain bikes. Hummmmm? That could be fun so I went up on the porch and inside and asked some questions. ''How much to rent a bike.'' Ten dollars per hour. ''Where do I get a helmet?'' For the ten dollars we provide everything. ''Do you have trails that are easy for us beginners''? Yep, we give you a map and the ten dollars includes the use of any trail on our property and we have miles and miles of trails that are well marked.......
I gave them my credit card and they gave me a helmet, knee pads and a ragged pair of gloves with three of the fingers missing on the left glove.
The helmet was way too big and the guy told me that this was so I would get ''good circulation'' of air while I rode the bike. I mentioned the kite string for a chin strap and he said that they used that so that if I caught the helmet on a tree limb, it would break off and not hurt my neck. I mentioned that the knee pads seem to be for the right knee only and he said that was ok and they should be that way. I mentioned that the left glove was missing three fingers and he said that was so I could ''speed shift'' the bike for more control. He went and got me a bike.
Now the bike was kinda ''slack'' to say the least. The right pedal would not ''turn on the pedal shaft'' and the left pedal was just a steel shaft attached to the crank shaft. I asked about this and he told me that they would oil the right pedal and it would work fine. He said the left pedal shaft was for broad sliding if necessary. I noticed that the back tire was pretty well worn out and he said that they liked the ''smooth flat look'' in the rear tire for more traction on the hills. I also mentioned that the front forks were kinda loose and he said that this was the ''built in knee action'' in the front end for a better ride on rough ground. I also mentioned that this bike had no rear wheel brakes. He told me that I should only use the front wheel brakes any way. I took the bike outside and noticed that the front wheel wobbled. He said that was for dodging rock and rabbits and squerels and stuff on the trails.
I flopped the helmet on my head and tied the string under my chin. I put on the knee pads and the gloves and got my trail map and headed out for fun and adventure. I hung my camera around my neck so I could take some really good pictures on the trail. He suggested that I should start on ''Easy Street'' and work my way up to harder trails. I headed out with the trail map in my teeth. I went up a dirt road and around a curve and then up a steep trail and around another turn. There was a sign that said Easy Street but it did not say which way. I stopped and looked at my map and it was drawn with a crayola crayon by a first grader. The right pedal still was not working and the front wheel was wobbling and the front end seemed very lose to me but the front brake seemed to work well but the bike seemed to be stuck in second gear. I wobbled on up the hill for a long ways and looked at the map again and I seen a trail labled ''Hells Gate'' on the left up ahead and ''Easy Street on the right. I wanted to be really careful and not use ''Hells Gate'' trail but I failed to notice that I had the map upside down when I looked at it. I climbed about a quarter mile more and turned right on the trail I thought was ''Easy Street'' ….. Both signs had been destroyed and there were only nails in the tree where the sign had been. I stopped at the top and tightened my helmet string and pulled my gloves up tight and adjusted my knee pads. I took a deep breath and eased over the side of the mountain. Much to my suprise the ''Trail'' was pretty much vertical with large trees, rocks, stumps, boulders, tree trunks, a trash pile and several ditches across the trail for drainage. Lovely. I pedaled on assured that this was ''Easy Street'' and it would level out soon. WRONG..
The real secret to mountain biking is ''speed control''. I noticed that my speed was going up because the map in my teeth kept flapping up over my eyes so I grabbed the front wheel break lever and it broke off in my hand. I said shux and broad slid the bike on the left hand pedal spike and got it stopped... In the process my helmet flopped off and fell in a large mud puddle in the drainage ditch and promptly sank in the mud. I said shux again and retrieved the helmet. I dumped the mud out of the helmet and flopped it back on my head and noticed it seemed to fit much better. I put the string under my chin and climbed back on the bike. I pointed it down hill and I could see that it was going to speed up very quickly so I decided to just manage the best I could.
When I hit about the speed of sound I went over a giant bump and the rear tire went ''BOOM'' and the bike and me and the helmet and the gloves and knee pads went airborne for seemed like fifty feet. In the process of flying I looked down and the found forks where the front tire had been and the front tire was gone...... GONE????? Yep it fell off on the start of the bump. I said shux and my ''map'' flew out of my mouth so I really held on to the handle bars assured that I was ok because I was wearing a helmet, gloves, and knee pads.
When the bike came down the front forks stuck in the ground like a pitch fork in a pile of horse manure and the bike did a forward flip tossing me off like a rag doll. I smashed into a small tree and my helmet flew off to parts unknown but I still had the mud on my head for protection...... In my panic of trying to hold the handle bars my gloves had ripped at the seams and went flying and it seems that my left knee pad had hit the handle bars as I went over and it was torn away. I knew I still had my camera because it flew up and chipped my front tooth. I was really lucky because I landed on my butt in the mud in the second drainage ditch when I stopped bouncing down the hill. As I was setting in the mud looking to see what parts of my body I had lost I was smacked in the back of the head by the errant front wheel that had fallen off at the first bounce on the trail. It ran up my back and across my head and disappeared going down the mountain doing about ninety miles per hour.
I gathered up the pieces of the bike I could find and headed back to the ''rent shack'' ….. The guy in the rent shack decided that I had destroyed a three hundred dollar mountain bike, lost a fifty dollar helmet, torn up a twenty five dollar set of imitation leather gloves and lost a genuine imitation plastic twelve dollar knee pad and blown out a ''super efficient, all terrine, special tread'' rear tire that costs thirty dollars each..... . I told him that I would give him twenty five bucks total including the bike rental or he could just sue me and get nothing....
Words of wisdom from Seajay. If you have never been ''mountain biking'' DON'T GO, IT AIN'T WORTH IT........
Thank a vet for your freedoms ….. They earned it for you.....