This "Bike Shop Tales" post, like last weeks, is also inspired by "Ears"..............
When work got out at the bike shop, or before the shift was to begin, or- of course- on our days off, it was easy to find a bunch of guys and hit up the trails in George Wyth State Park. We usually hit up a big loop of the faster stuff and then headed home. Many times folks that hung out at the shop would join us.
I can't remember who all was on this particular Saturday afternoon ride, but Ears was one of the riders. He was young, and probably the only fellow in those days that was close to my size. We would usually make good riding partners because of this. We rode at similar speeds, and even though I was older than he was by a fair amount, I could keep up with the whippersnapper!
Well, on this particular day, we were heading back out of the woods towards the end of the Park, and further on, the shop. We all spilled out of some tight, single file only single track into a much wider path. This was pretty smooth, so we all spread out and big ringed it for all we were worth. This was all fine and dandy until the really wide path necked down a bit, and went into a slight turn.
I was up ahead, no worries. All I had to do was aim for the best line through and work on what needed to be done in the next section. Then I heard a commotion behind me, and Ears yelled out.
"On yer Left!
Ahhhh! On yer right! I mean.....(huff huff)....ON YER LEFT!
Okay, so by this time, I have no idea what side he's coming up on. I veered slightly to the left, only because I was reacting to his second call, and his loud protest of "ON YER LEFT" at the end was too late. We bumped off each other like two bumper cars at a cheap county fair. Ears had the advantage, as he saw it coming. I didn't.
I swerved hard to the right, recovered to swerve hard to the left, and then I lost the front wheel, went over the bars to the left, and landed.
Right on top of my head!
It had rained a day before our ride, and Geo Wyth was a park covered in fine silt and sand here and there. Silt turns to a grease when it gets wet enough, and although the surface of the trail didn't show it that day, just beneath the crust the grease from the rain was still there. My Giro helmet caught that grease as I skidded on my head and packed in the silt all the way down to my head. I rolled over and ended up in a sitting position with a curious crown. There was grass on top, and even a small flower was sticking out of my helmet that just moments before had been growing peacefully alongside the trail. I was okay, but just a bit shook up. As I started to assess my condition, and think of some terrible malediction to direct at Ears, I heard laughter.
"Dude! You should see your helmet! That's awesome!"
Now I was curious. I unbuckled my lid to check out what all the fuss was about. Then I laughed too, forgetting all about my wrath at being knocked off my bicycle at a high rate of speed. We carefully escorted the bicycle themed planter to the shop where it was ceremoniously placed right outside the back door. We actually watered it, and the grass and the flower actually stayed alive a few days. Then I decided I needed to wear it again, so the end of the "helmet planter" was at hand.
Maybe not the best story for helmet advocacy, but there ya go!
Bike Shop Tales returns next Tuesday, stay tuned...................