This blog doesn't speak much of frame building. Whats the use? Talking about building bicycles is like talking about cooking, fishing, racing, etc., it's better just to do it. Nobody here wants to hear about how I mitered the perfect seat stay and how I'm now gonna fire up my torch. Besides, I am waiting on my seat stays to arrive from the UPS guy. I would imagine they would probably rather hear about the time my best childhood friend, Kevin Jones, brought a railroad flare down to my house and we accidentally caught the neighborhood baseball field on fire, and how afterward my dad didn't have any eyebrows for a month. This guy always had some type of fire with him. Lighters, matches, M-80s to blow up garbage cans, COX airplanes smashing into houses, kites that we would set the tail on fire. It was because of him that I took my Evel Knievel Skycycle, filled it full of gasoline, and then poured a big puddle of gas at the other end of the drive way, lit it, then cranked the SkyRocket up until it was screaming like Axl Rose and set it free. Yes it went through the fire at the other end of the driveway, then blew up to start a bigger fire right in front of the garage door just as my mom was arriving home from the grocery store. She always took my appetite for destruction with a grain of salt. She would get upset with me like, "Why would you want to do something like that?" Then she would just tell me, "You better put that out before your father gets home!" How can you not love her?
Kevin Jones father had a Hodaka 250 motocrosser in the garage. Silver tank, huge knobby tires, it was beautiful but looked as big as a bulldozer to a 9 yr. old. Kevin Jones was 12, practically a man compared to a 9 yr. old. One afternoon after school I walked down to his house and we were standing around his garage like we always did. I remember it was gray and cloudy on this fall afternoon. We were probably looking for something to set on fire or maybe daring each other to eat a piece of dry dog food or something stupid like that. Neither of us ever ate the dog food but there was another kid in the neighborhood who would always take the dare, or perhaps he was very hungry. Anyway, Kevin said, "Let's start my dads motorcycle.", and as always i said sure. We had tried several times before in the past all to no avail. We didn't weigh enough to kick it. Kevin would simply stand up on the kick starter and let his weight slowly push it down. It never fired and we didn't know how to work the choke. We would always flood it, foul the plug, and then give up and go light some firecrackers. So on this day when it fired up and echoed like thunder inside the garage and bellowed blue smoke through the air, I was surprised, happy, and scared to death all at the same time. Kevin just had that same ole grin he always had when we were up to mischief. He was always smiling. I didn't understand how because he was always in so much trouble. Big smile, white teeth, shaggy 70's hair, and bottle rockets in his back pocket. He looked like something off the cover of Tiger Beat magazine, you know, Leif Garret, The Bay City Rollers, that era. After revving it up over and over again there was nothing left for him to do except put the kickstand up and put it in gear. He was tippy-toeing trying to back it up so I had to push it backwards for him to get a clean start out of the garage. The garage was a normal 2-car garage but instead of one big door it had two one car doors that were separated by a wooden column. As Kevin was slowly riding this beast around the yard he would go into one side of the garage and come out the other. I was standing to the side trying to stay outta the way. I could watch him enter one side, he would disappear for a second and then reappear out the other side, usually trying to do a burnout. I don't think he ever got it out of first gear. So here he comes, slowly entering the garage, I watch him go by and as soon as I can't see him any more I hear the Hodaka revving to the moon and then a monstrous smash. I then hear his sister screaming louder than the motorcycle and I ran around the corner to see nothing short of carnage. For a moment I thought, "Damn man, we're in serious trouble!" Then I realized that I had done nothing wrong and breathed a sigh of relief. Kevin was gonna lay the bike sideways and pop the clutch to spin the bike around on the slick garage floor, but it didn't work out. The bike hooked up, went straight, hit the step up to the door that entered the house, smashed through the door, landed up on the bar with the door under it, liquor bottles smashed everywhere, with the throttle stuck wide open. You couldn't get in the door or out because that fat knobby tire was spinning like a saw about 100 mph. His sister was on the inside of the house screaming helter skelter. She was on one side, I was on the other, and Kevin was knocked out on the garage floor, blood slowly puddling up on the floor next to him. I didn't know what to do. I just remember thinking, "When is this thing gonna stop?" and "How are we gonna get out of this one?" Finally the motorcycle flooded out or seized up one and there was dead silence. It was finally quite, no raging motorcycle, no screamin sister, the only sound was the chandelier creaking back and forth like a pendulum while I kept saying to Kevin, "Man you gotta get up." He didn't move. Neighbors started gathering, cars were stopping, and then ultimately the ambulance arrived to scrape him up and get him to the hospital. About a month had gone by without seeing him when one day after school I was walking and looked up to see him coasting down the street, standing up on the seat of his Yamaha Moto-Bike like Evel Knievel used to before he did a big jump. He was wearing that same big, sly grin like nothing had ever happened. :)