Sunday, May 1, 2011

Steel Is Real

Back in the early 1970s, when I was a young teen, a lot f beverage cans were still made from steel.  Aluminum cans were rare, as a matter of fact.

We used to cut the tops and bottoms out of Budweiser cans (easily sourced from the local ditch-lines), and duct tape them together to form the barrel of a tennis ball cannon.  The advent of aluminum cans ruined that...

Anyway, Wes and I were riding along, one day, and I spotted a beer can lying on the road ahead of us.  "Watch this," I yelled, as I accelerated toward the can.  I was aiming to run over the center of the can, and squish it flat.

I centered the can perfectly, with the front tire.  Unfortunately, the ends of the can were drawn toward each other, and met at the rim of my wheel.  The can was effectively clamped to the front wheel of the bike.

The wheel rotated around and brought the clamped-on steel can to the rear of the fork crown, where it jammed between the fork and the tire.  It was as if I had grabbed the front brake of a bike as hard as possible, as I rode down the street.

The front tire locked, the rear tire lifted, and the ejector seat button was apparently engaged.  I flew over the bars and crashed to the pavement.  My hands and knees got pretty scraped up, but other than that I was unharmed.  The bike, too was fine.

Beer and bikes...a dangerous combination!



  1. That's a quick stop!

    I remember the smell of Zippo lighter fluid in those tennis ball cannons.

  2. I never had that problem with a bicycle tire, but as kids, we used to stomp on them with both feet and "clack" around on the pavement. I almost forgot about that...

  3. Hmm. The most we ever did was tow around wooden hydroplanes. I don't recall any beer can nonsense.


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