Saturday, September 3, 2011

I'm Such a Sissy

Since I have Taylor Davis on my mind, today:

One day, when I was 15, I was riding my Suzuki TS-100 around town when I decided to follow a trail, which I had never noticed, which led off of the street I was on and into some woods.  As I rode along, I saw some guys on 20"-wheeled bikes (Buzz Bikes and Stingrays) knocking around.  I pulled up close to them, and saw that one of them was Taylor Davis.

At this time, I mostly knew Taylor through association with Johnny.  I had never really been around him, on his own, and really didn't know much about him.

We talked for awhile, sitting beside the trail, as the guys he was riding with knocked around a bit.

Presently, one of those guys said to Taylor, "We're going to the drop-off," and then the other guys rode away.

"What's the drop-off?" I asked Taylor.

"Follow me, and I'll show you," he said.

So, I followed him about an eighth of a mile, and stopped at the top of a dirt bluff.  The trail dropped off of the bluff and followed the fall-line straight down to a bumpy, gravelly run-out.  The drop was near-vertical, and probably 25 feet from top to bottom.

"You gonna ride that?" I asked Tay.

"Sure," he said, as he pedaled forward and dropped off the edge. 

The transition was sudden enough, virtually a 90 degree angle at the lip, that Tay had to hop his rear wheel up a bit to keep the chainring from hitting the edge.  It was a trick we all routinely employed at the skate park, years later, but I had never seen anyone do it before that day.

He rode his bike out through the run-out area,and skidded to a halt.  Then he looked up at me, and yelled, "Come on down!"

I just shook my head, waved my goodbyes, and turned back, the way we had come.  I knew that if I dropped off that edge on the motorbike, I would bottom the exhaust pipe out on the lip and end up tumbling ass over teakettle down the face of the bluff.  So, I swallowed my pride and rode away.

But, I rode away with a new respect for Taylor.  And, I date the start of my friendship with him to that day.

He's been gone for two years (plus a couple of weeks), now.  When I think of him, out of the blue, I almost always see him, in my mind's eye, flying down the "drop-off" on his Buzz Bike, like it was nothing.


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