walking around in tap shoes and pyjamas since 2010 - my cycling log (opens in new window)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Random Childhood 'Cycling' Memory

Something just reminded me of one of the many non-standard uses my childhood bicycle (and those of my nearby friends and neighbors) saw.

In the enlightening post I've linked, Lizzy Lou — who hails from the great state of Penn's Woods and is much funnier than I am — mentions in her opening remarks that, as children, she and her friends turned their bicycles into imaginary ice cream machines by flipping them over and spinning the cranks by hand. Whether the imaginary ice cream in question came in a range of imaginary flavors equivalent to the gear ranges of the bicycles involved was not mentioned.

Apparently, flipping your bike over and spinning the cranks is a beloved and cherished childhood tradition, because I, too, did this. However, I did not pretend my bicycle was an ice cream machine — instead, I used it to launch projectiles like golf balls, tennis balls, and sticks. Oh, and those little plastic paratroopers who do not, in fact, paratroop well when launched by bicycle, if I remember correctly.

Some of these exploits took advantage of the facts that A) my childhood bike was equipped with fenders and B) there was an enormous gap between the rear fender and the drive wheel, so objects could be fed in at one end and shot out the other with surprising speed and accuracy.

Others took advantage of the fact that if you stuck tennis balls in your spokes and spun your pedals as fast as you could, eventually the forces of Physics would cause them to fly free. This was significantly less satisfying, however, than shooting golf balls (which were more accurate, faster, and infinitely more dangerous than those lowly tennis balls).

Is upside-down spinning a major component of the childhood of most of us who eventually become bike junkies?

If so, perhaps we can use this trait as an early diagnostic criterium -- err, criterion for BIKES (Bicycle-Induced Kinetic Excess Syndrome).

No comments:

Post a Comment