I was watching some of these urban protowarriors yesterday during a lull in hostilities over on Facebook. There were several of them in the Town Square. They weren’t much good. I know this because a mate of mine is a professional. He runs a skatepark and shop, and he’s good enough to be sponsored by several clothing and component manufacturers. Some of the things he does beggar belief.
However, these youngsters weren’t that good. They kept bobbling on some relatively basic manoeuvres. I must say though, in fairness, they were several orders of magnitude better than I could ever have been even when I was young and fit, and had knees that worked. Me and wheeled transport had a pretty chequered childhood career.
You may remember back in November I posted about my early childhood. This was a litany of ill health, and injury caused by stupidity and a profound lack of skill. See http://wp.me/p2C8Zz-ch If you can be bothered to read it you’ll find out that I actually rolled a pedal car. I’ll bet you don’t know many people who can say that in all honesty.
I also rolled a tricycle. This was a classic example of my enthusiasm outweighing my capabilities. My friends and I had decided it would be a wizard wheeze to build a small ramp of a couple of housebricks and a plank, and ride over it in such a way that only one of the two rear wheels went up it. Easypeasy. The trike tilted over, and we could ride along on two wheels. All you have to do is lean back into the raised side, and keep going in a straight line. You may have done this as a child, if you were as daft as I was.
I do hope you weren’t as daft as I was when I attempted to go round a corner. I had the left wheel in the air, and decided to turn left. If I’d tried to turn right, the worst that could have happened is that the lefthand rear would have crashed to earth again. But no, I decided to turn left. I’m sure I need not tell you what happened; the scenario is all too obvious. I got tangled up in the trike and rolled down a five foot rockery. Ouch.
A couple of years before that, I had a three-wheeler scooter, made by Mobo. This may be a UK only brand, I don’t know.. It was resplendent in red paint, a dimpled pressed-steel footplate, and bright yellow slotted wheels with solid tyres. I was very proud of it, because it was one of the few playthings I didn’t inherit from my siblings, or at least that’s what my memory tells me. Might not be true. I certainly inherited a two-wheeler Mobo at a later date.
My parents decided to go for a stroll one summer’s eve, and I went with them, proudly scooting along. Opposite where we lived there was (and indeed still is) a steep hill, Kensington Road. We set off down there, and my trusty steed gathered a bit of speed. It was exhilarating at first, but as the thing got faster and faster, I began to get rattled. Eventually I was panicking. What to do? There’s a driveway coming up, and it’s got high kerbs, and I have no brakes and…
I bear the scars on my right knee to this very day. I just jumped off. What else was I going to do? As you would expect I landed with my customary lack of grace. By the time my father got to me I was bleeding like a stuck pig, having fallen on a piece of broken glass.
I graduated via the aforementioned inherited two-wheel Mobo to a really swanky scooter, though it was second-hand. It had pneumatic tyres, and a brake on the handlebars instead of a friction brake on the rear footplate that pressed on the rear tyre. The handlebars curved round so the ends faced backwards, and the ends of the handlebar grips had reflector lenses built into them. It even had ballrace bearings rather than friction bearings in the hubs. It was a limo among scooters.
I wrecked this beaut when I went over the handlebars. You’d think that impossible, wouldn’t you? Over the rods on a pushbike, yes, you can see how that can happen. I’ve done it a lot. Even within the past ten years. But on a scooter?
It’s not difficult, but I would not recommend it. I was hurtling down a hill, and there was a small cardboard box on the ground. With great bravado I rode straight over it, except I didn’t. The scooter came to an abrupt halt when the front wheel encountered the coping stone some hoodlum had concealed in the box, and I didn’t. Wheeee! As it happens I did a 270 degree tumble in the air, and landed sitting down, rather than on my head as was my habit at such times. The sudden stop didn’t do the front wheel any good at all. The mechanical term for it was ‘knackered.’ Burst tyre, bent rim, spokes akimbo. On a scooter.
Given my track record, I don’t think I’d have lasted long on a skateboard, do you?