Monday, January 10, 2011


My junior-high/high school best friend, Wesley, and his oldest friend, Ricky, lived in a development called River Heights, across the river from town.

When we were 13 or 14, Wes and Ricky and I would "camp out" in Ricky's back yard, every now and then.  "Camping out", in this instance, meant staying up all night, riding our bikes around, and building camp fires.

Whatever we did, we always ended up down at the River Heights boat ramp.  There, after we threw a few dozen rocks in the water, we would play a version of "chicken" which consisted of the three of us starting at the top of the ramp, then slamming on the brakes and sliding sideways.  The bike which ended up farthest down the ramp was the winner.

One night, as we were playing chicken, Ricky was consistently coming up short.  Real short.  Like, 10 feet from the water short.  Of course, Wes and I had to make all kinds of fun of him.  Thirteen-year-old boys aren't really known for their sensitivity, so I'm sure we laid it on pretty thick.

Anyway, we ended up doing one more run, and Ricky was determined to win.  You could tell, by looking at his face, that he was in do-or-die mode.  So, Wes and I were determined to do anything we could to prevent him from winning.

Thirteen-year-old boys...rattlesnakes.  Equally mean, but snakes don't ride bikes.

So, we lined up.  Onetwothreego!  And, we were off.

The boat ramp was a slab of concrete, 15 feet wide and 50 feet long, which ran at about a 15 degree slope into the Tennessee River.  As we took off on our Buzz Bikes (sadly, I no longer had the Spyder, by this time - another story for another day), we accelerated pretty quickly until we were probably doing 15 miles per hour.  At that point, we all locked up our rear wheels and slung our bikes around into a Death Slide.

Wes skidded down and ended up with his wheels just in the water, about two inches deep.  I stopped about a foot shy of the edge of the water (Chicken!).

Ricky waited way late to hit his brakes, slid around sideways and ended up with a piece of gravel between his tire and the concrete.  This caused his bike to whip around violently, until he was actually almost facing back up the ramp.

Then, when the rock rolled out from under the tire, the tire caught traction and the bike high-sided.  Ricky ended up flying through the air, about 10 feet, and landed flat on his back in the river, in water about waist deep.

Of course, Wes and I were laughing so hard that we couldn't even talk.  Ricky, however, managed to speak as he stood up in the water.

"Screw you!"  he said.  "I win!"


1 comment:

As always, sorry about the word verification. It's a necessary evil, unfortunately.