Thursday, March 24, 2011

Flying Bike

When I was 10 years old (in 1971, by the way), we lived in a small western-Kentucky town calleed Calvert City.  Calvert City had about 600 residents actually within the City Limits, but a few thousand more lived in the immediate area.  The old downtown area, where the railroad crossing was, was pretty cool, but the rest was pretty generic stripmall/subdivision stuff.

The good thing about CC was that, within a 10-minutes bicycle ride from our house, I could be out of town and heading out into the rural surroundings.  Or, I could ride over to the RR Crossing and find cool old stuff along the tracks or in the foundation of the long-ago burned early-20th Century drug store.

I found railroad spikes, and telegraph wire insulators, and even a 12" Bowie knife along the tracks.  And the old drugstore site yielded ancient hypodermics and the bottles that the medicine for the needles had come in, complete with cork tops instead of the now-standard silicone plugs.

At one spot along the road, near the tracks, was an old loading ramp and dock.  I suppose it was used to off-load handcarts full of goods onto wagons, back in the day.  But, to me, it looked like a great launch ramp for a bicycle-glider.

I had somehow gotten the idea that, if I attached some wings to my bike, I'd be able to ride down the street, hit that ramp, and launch myself into the air where I could swoop around and catch thermals like a hawk.  I figured that I could take a hollow-core door, like you use on the interior of a house, and cut the wing shape out.  Then, I would have two pieces I could sandwich around the top tube of the bike and produce the airfoil.  Duct tape seemed like a good material to form the leading edge, and hold everything together.

Luckily for me, when I asked my daddy to get me a hollow door, he wanted to know what I wanted it for.  Of course, he laughed me out of the house when I told him my plan.

Today, I realize that he was right.  It would never have worked:  The wing would have been much too small to provide adequate lift, for one thing.  There are probably a few dozen other things wrong with the plan, as well.

But, wouldn't it have been glorious if I had tried it, and it had worked?



1 comment:

  1. OTOH, if you'd taken a tumble and broken your neck, we would all be denied this amusing story so things likely worked out for the best.


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