You don’t get much for a pound.
However, a hundred quid is purchasing nirvana if you have a really stupid idea and many willing
friends victims. Downstream of a beer or three, thoughts turned from the unfairness of a seasonally inappropriate sloptastic ride to the kind of alcohol fuelled idea absolutely full of win until someone loses an eye.
My pitch to a well wrapped but still shivering Ross Collective was simple; why not invest in a raft of stupidly cheap mountain bikes and take them racing. Not proper racing because even my airy ambition is grounded by a stony reality – no instead we’d purchase something horrible and fling it into a series of challenges designed to prove nothing much more than riding is always better than not riding. Or perhaps not.
I accept it’s neither a particularly innovative idea of even an original one. But for a while now my oft repeated refrain is any bike under my nebulous command is in no way the high water mark of what I can ride. And that’s been the case for approximately ever – sure I’ve ridden a few stinkers; too short, too high, rubbish forks, dodgy geometry, binary brakes, yes yes yes some real nasties but nothing, nothing close to what barely three figures of legal currency can secure.
And it’s all about the detail. This isn’t some kind of free for all where cheaters scout eBay for pre-loved bargains, or pieces of supermarket tat are honed under the experienced spanner of a pushy competitor. Oh No, there will be rules, adjudicated fiercely with draconian penalties for most things, especially any individual trying to be clever. You may be surprised to hear that all judging shall be based on the modern democratic principle of ‘one man one vote‘. Less surprising maybe is that I am the Man and it is my Vote.
So rules then; here’s the draft which in no way even begins to reflect a full set that shall be of such magnitude and pettiness I may need to charter a passing asteroid in order to record their largesse. However, we have to start somewhere, so let’s start here:
- Each competitor shall be limited to a spend of £100 or less
- All bikes must be bought NEW. Receipts will be requested and carefully studied.
- No bike must be of a brand where the highest spec’d bike costs over £500
- No modifications are allowed. AT ALL. That means you Doran
- All bikes must be placed IMMEDIATELY in Park Ferme once purchased, without a pedal being turned or a spanner twiddled
- All competitors will have 30 minutes fettling time before the challenges start. To either sort out their bike or nobble someone elses
- Challenges will include – but not be limited to – Skills Loop, Downhill Challenge, Wheelie Distance, Jumping Style, Loss of Limb, etc
- Additional points will be awarded for acts of wanton stupidity, inappropriate bravery and heroic fashion sense (see below)
- There will be bike jousting. If only for the purposes of comedic merit. This will not extend to those attempting it.
- Points will be deducted for all sorts of shit; anything requiring a trail tool, exploding components, taking it too seriously, that kind of thing
- All competitors are banned from wearing any clothing normally used for a MTB ride. I’m looking for flouro lycra, beanie hats, t-shirts, cut off jeans, mullets, etc
There is subtlety here; all bikes and remains will be donated to a cycling charity including limbs hewn from once healthy bodies. But many, many points will be awarded for the lowest cost bidder. So for me, I’m already considering an eBay monstrosity of a lady’s bike in lurid purple* on the grounds it’s the same cost as a loaf of bread, and sports no top tube at all making it ‘flickable‘. Surely a winner in the twisties although I accept it may have some associated frame flex of the kind to pogo a middle aged man into something local and bark covered.
This is a brilliant idea. I fully expect to think so even when I’ve sobered up. The plan – although this is somewhat overstating 4 blokes laughing a lot and dreaming up brainless challenges – is for the ‘inaugural Pikey Pedal Pusher‘ challenge to take place early in June. Mainly as it’s David’s birthday and he seems keen to spend it in Hereford A&E.
Yet for all my optimism I am harbouring a soupcon of doubt; the idea of pitching a hundred quids worth of pig iron down some fairly dangerous tracks protected only by some cut off jeans and a ‘centurion’ helmet bought sometime before 1993 is not entirely edifying. Still – and if I continue to trot this out, it’ll surely be carved into my gravestone – what can possibly go wrong?
More to follow. The quest for the pikey-bike begins right now.
* Okay pink.