Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let it R.I.P.

Back in the day, I had the pleasure of working with an eccentric guy we called Pants. Among other things, Pants has a vocabulary that is second to none. Pants loves bunnies, excellent java and, of course, a great burrito.

But there is another side of Pants that sets him apart from the rest: Pants takes pride in his ability to ghost ride his machine further and faster than anyone else. And we are not talking about just a light roller where the bike comes to rest in some brush just up the trail. We are talking HUGE, hucking style with ample hangtime and the potential for utter devastion upon re-entry. Off a bank into a deep stream? No sweat. Into a thick of trees? Why not? Pants is never afraid of consequences and the allure of going higher and faster always tempts him.

There is eery silence that blankets onlookers when a machine has left the safety of its owner and is rocketing toward fate, alone, solo, as its momentum faces an eventual demise. No matter the conditions, no matter the company, Pants is always up for some wicked ghost riding.

23 comments:

Strangelife said...

Bizarre. Pants sounds like good company. I know more than a few riders that could use some of his carefree spirit and not be such tight, serious weenies.

Anonymous said...

Great pics!

Edwardo said...

Awesome! Talking 'bout the Ghost Ride always makes me laugh. Seeing photos of it make me fall out of my seat. THANKS!

Anonymous said...

I had a black KHS Duster 200 with "TUFF" wheels and a coaster brake that was great for ghost-riding. I remember when the headset got indexed ( I was 12 after-all), and it wouldn't ghostride so hot because it would take a plane and careen off and plant one handlebar, flip and end the fun. ...Moral of the story? Keep them races greased and fresh balls in there... Ghosting was so much fun, I need a clunker to do it.

Radio Freddy said...

The PRO aspect of Pants' GR is that he did it on his primary, custom ti MTB. P-R-O.

Anonymous said...

I have a little Ghost Riding experience myself....

As a kid - grew up in a large apartment zoned area with people moving in and out all the time.

Occasionally, someone would dump a pile of stuff while moving – right next to the dumpster. I picked out quite a few bikes and created many pseudo BMX bikes from various parts.

At the time, had no use for the 10 and 3 speed “racer” bikes we’d find. We used to ghost ride them down hills into curbs and other solid objects. Bash them to pieces. It’s amazing how far bikes will coast down a large hill with no one aboard. Quite funny – especially when you’re 14 or 15 years old.

After a few hits, the bikes wouldn’t coast as well - so Steve Dawson, local neighborhood kid, would be drafted in to action.

Steve could jump off bikes at amazing stupid speeds and not get hurt. He’d bail off right before the bike hit the curb, large rock, makeshift ramp, or whatever – running alongside the cart wheeling bike. Lots of bent forks, rims, frames and other parts. We’d bash the thing back into semi-ride able shape and go for it again. After a few hits, bike was totaled – so we usually dumped it into a nearby steam. Hey – it was New Jersey.

One time we had this Raleigh 3 speed, fresh from the dumpster. We waited until dark to send it down the largest hill in the area. Cars were parked on one side of the street – figured if it hit one – would just leave it there. Pushed the sucker off and away it went. Watched its progress under each street light – picking up speed quite nicely. Luckily, it veered to the left, away from the cars – and hit a curb at the highest speed possible - right at the bottom of the hill. Perfect.

We ran down after it laughing our asses off. Took us a few minutes the find the front wheel – front axle was sheared completely off. I still laugh thinking about it.

We wrecked some cool old bikes – Raleigh, Triumph, BSA – wish I had them now…..

Dan O

Radio Freddy said...

Dan O - you have brought back some serious memories. I recall the days of ghost riding bikes that were not our own and just how crazy that experience was. Thanks. - RF

klunkerbill said...

Nice to know to everybody isn't so damn serious. Some of the earliest pioneers of the sport had similar diversions, ie bike piles, derbys, etc. If you like bike culture and history you might want to check out my movie, KLUNKERZ, about the history of mountain biking. KLUNKERZ looks at the fun early daze of mountain biking, or KLUNKING, during the years 1968-1983 in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find out more at www.klunkerz.com and don't forget to sign the 'guest book'. Ride on!

erik k said...

I feel like I have seen this post before, but it is still very funny

Mike said...

i'm with erik - i've read and seen these pictures before somewhere...

bikesgonewild said...

...twilight zone...'please do not adjust your set'...

...tip o' the ol' cycling cap to klunkerbill...

benlikesbikes said...

I think every one of us has a ghost riding story, some more dramatic than others, but I have never met anyone who is a regular ghost rider. There is so much about this post that is fantastic. The friendship, adventure and carefree spirit. makes me think about summer.

Radio Freddy said...

Do not attempt to adjust your set. This is a re-post from May. While searching posts for mention on the BKW Favorites section I came across this gem. I was laughing at just thought of Pants and his smack talk about ghost riding. I had to re-post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. - RF

Anonymous said...

That's cool because Pants is invisible. I really like Pants. Pants could probably start a blog a pretty good blog. Pants could get a ghost writer for the blog.

Ted

chiefhiawatha said...

Can someone clarify for me how to carry out a proper ghost ride. It is a long-standing argument between myself and 2 other friends.

Side 1 (me): you run alongside it, one hand on saddle, one hand on bars, and FLING it down the road or trail.

Side 2 (them): no no you idiot, you have to be RIDING the bike, and then hop off and just let the bike do its own thing.

Chet B (Los Angeles, CA) said...

Ah yes...Ghost Ride The Whip! Brings back some great memories. I prefer the "dismount over the back wheel while thrusting the bike forward via the handlebars" technique, but to each their own.

The haunting images make me sad on the inside though...

bikesgonewild said...

...i will say, klunkerbill worked his ass of on that movie & if you like the mtb side of cycling, it's a must see...good stuff...

1spdtandem said...

I know "pants", not only is he a king of ghost riding, his fashion sense is second to none. I think that he prefers pork chop to burritos though...

erik k said...

raido freddy, thanks for the clarification, its nice to know im not crazy, and I would also like to say Im a fan of your posts and this indeed is a good one, so keep up the good work and hope to hear more from you soon.

also

bikesgonewild, it is becoming increasing apparent now that you have become official, how many bikesgonewild imposter's there are float around on blogger, there were at least like 5 or more on BSNYC in the last two days

Mikey said...

I seem to recall three Merlin employees g-ridin their big buck, borrowed shop bikes, including a tricked out Newsboy, down a long snowy slope one winters afternoon.

bikesgonewild said...

...erik k...this wonderful site is too valuable to let the residual run-off pollute it, so i'm being careful 'til things settle...your advice was good & there is now only one blogficial way to id moi...
...just posted @ yer site, see ya...

Josh Boggs said...

RF, send me an e-mail or comment on my blog so I can get in touch with you. I saw a picture from a different sport that's pretty PRO that you might be into.

Great blog... still. Mine's a little slow now with no racing/travel going on. Trying to regroup and get ready for '08.

Happy Holidays!

Jim said...

Can someone clarify for me how to carry out a proper ghost ride.

There is another way to ghost ride. Get into a hot crit or circuit race. Be riding near the edge of the pack, almost up against the curb right before going into a tight turn, or in between two close clumps of riders as the clumps separate, then come back together. Get taken out when the pack does its almost imperceptible wiggle setting up for the turn or avoiding some other road obstacle. Realize that because of your offense against the Laws of Roadracing (Belgian Municipal Code 1302.23R.7 - Always leave yourself a plausible escape route if something goes wrong) you have been sentenced to bouncing off the pavement at 30 MPH, sentence to be carried out immediately. Hit, bounce up, hit, roll, bounce up, land on your hands and knees. Look upward immediately as your bike, without you, carries on with the pack into the turn, or at a minimum runs alongside the pack like dog chasing cars.

I've seen ghost rides start that way in two races, one involved the rider getting curbed, doing a full flip, coming off, and the bike kept riding up the sidewalk - total style points, too bad it cost a collarbone a couple arm bones. Roadrace ghostrides usually aren't as spectacular as Pants' ghost hucking, but looking over to see an empty roadbike running down the road next to you is one of the more surreal things you might experience in a roadrace - it's up there with a guy crashing behind you passing you *after* he's hit the deck.