I’d like to relearn how to do a wheelie again – I mean, “poppa wheelie!” I haven’t tried that in a long time. I was never very good at it to begin with – even when I was a kid on a dirt bike I could only get through a few pedal revolutions with the front wheel off the ground.
(This reminds me – one of the movies at Bike Week Pasadena was Joe Kid on a Stingray. It chronicles the development of bmx over the past 30 years. It’s a blast to watch.)
I remember one attempt at a wheelie gone badly. I was probably around ten years old or so. I was riding my Rampar. It had a blue mag wheel in the front and spokes in the back and I had spray painted the frame grey (I think. It went through a lot of variations over the years – I’ve got to find a picture of that old friend). I was on the sidewalk across the street from my house and as I pulled the front end off the ground, the wheel disconnected from the fork. I held on as the fork went straight down and hit the sidewalk. I launched over the handlebars and landed directly on the top of my head. Unfortunately, I can’t blame any of my current stupidities on this incident as I was, for some strange reason, wearing a helmet.
A nearly identical wheelie fiasco took place about two decades later. Luckily for me, I got to watch this one evolve in slow motion right in front of me. My friend Johnny played the part of the head planter this time. A helmet (again) made that afternoon something we could all laugh about at the pub just minutes later.
So, now… why do I want to pop a wheelie again?