In my mispent youth, I became quite proficient at destroying tyres on my mountain bike by skidding them through to the carcass. The trail protection and IMBA types out there will be aghast at the very thought of all this wanton trail destruction. People like me give mountain bikers a bad name… whatever. Rest assured most of my sideways moments were saved for tarmac. The route in those days was down an old military road. Very long, very straight and punctuated with several sets of lights. If as you approached them the lights had the poor manners to change to red, then skidding to a stop, finishing exactly on the white line of the junction, wasn’t just the challenge it was the law.
Soon there were a few of us hooning about trying the same gag. We’d pray for damp conditions, ideally just after rain when we could most effectively put into action one of the several variations. There was the distance skid, which involved judging speed, road conditions and weight over the front wheel to see how early you good lock up that rear wheel and start sliding. There was getting the bike properly sideways, speedway style. Then developing that to get a proper fishtail slide going from left to right and back again. Front wheel skids took a lot of practice and some balls, but the aim was to do what ever it was and just stop sliding as your front wheel stopped on that front line – that said if you went in too hot a nice stoppie and endo on the line was a great finishing piece.
In honesty, it’s clear that antics 15 years ago haven’t died a death. Skids aren’t just for kids – some one’s got to show them how it’s done and so I’m still frequently found to be laying down a black strip of bikeÂ rubber just before a set of traffic lights. This morning was one of those days with perfect conditions, just wet enough to get a great slide on, get that rear end right out with some opposite lock and then ease up just a bit so that by the white line it’s come back and you can move into trackstand mode. It was great…
…getting to work and having the building fire alarm set off by someone smoking in a toilet while I was in the shower wasn’t.
Crazy skidding action over at Fearless Gearless.