The postman arrived early today, there was a loud knock on the door of BelongaClint and I thought to myself that's either my Dad, or the postman. Mrs Clint said that she would go and let my Dad in, but unfortuantely it was the postman with a package. But worse still, Mrs Clint has been waiting for a parcel to arrive for a couple of days now, but this one wasn't for her. She handed it to me and just said, "It wasn't your Dad, it was the postman with a parcel for you... I'm grumpy!" Oh dear I said, why are you grumpy? Do you want to call the postman back, I can go out. "No" she said, "He's not the postman I like. I've been waiting for a parcel for a couple of days and it's still not arrived. I thought that might be it. What the heck have you got? That better not be a boomerang." She handed me the parcel, and it was certainly boomerang shaped, and heavy. I've got to admit, I wondered what it was myself. I sat there looking at it while I ate my brekkie, what the heck was it? I know, I could've just opened it, but I forget what I order sometimes, so when things show up I'm often as surprised as everyone else. It's kinda nice, like Christmas, or my Birthday, or something. For Mrs Clint however, the desire to know what was inside this boomerang shaped package was starting to become unbearable. "OPEN IT!" she said as she flicked open the blade of her knife, pretty much in my face. OK I said, as I put my spoon down into my porridge and picked up the knife. But even at that point I really had no idea. I started to gently cut through the parcel tape, and bubble wrap, not too much, I was building the excitement level. But as I gently cut trough it all of a sudden I felt the edge of the knife touch a piece of steel inside. As soon as I did so I thought, I know what this is, and promptly put down the knife and package, and resumed eating my porridge. "What the heck are you doing, why have you stopped?" Her Worshipfulness said. I looked at her and just said, I know what it is. "Well?" She said, "What is it then?" I said that I'd get back to it after I'd eaten my brekkie. But that wasn't quick enough for Her Worshipfulness, she grabbed the knife and started to cut into the parcel. Before long the parcel was opened, and I was sticking several plasters onto Mrs Clints hand. Remember children, if you're cutting into something with a sharp knife, especially one with a very pointed end, then cut away from the body. The slash on her thumb is quite deep and to be honest I'm wondering if I should've stitched it. Hopefully the plaster and duct tape combo should hold it. With Her Worshipfulness patched up I returned to the table, she picked it up with her good had and said "Well, what is it?" I said, see, all that haste and you're still none the wiser. Curiosity killed the cat y'know. "Well" She said, "If you don't tell me then we'll just call it the weapon that gets used to bludgeon you to death!" Oh I said, well if you're going to be like that it's a seatpost for a BMX, a layback seatpost no less. She put it down and wondered off muttering something about it not being very exciting, and it needs to go out of the house.
But she was wrong, it was quite exciting, I've never had a layback seatpost before, and I was excited about getting it on the heaviest bike in my fleet, the X-Rated Mesh. I had some errands to run today, and so I stuffed the seatpost into my Rucksack, and headed off to have a rummage through my stash looking for some half decent parts for someone. I decided that despite my lock up being a fair distance from home I'd take the Mesh because I could pop the seatpost on when I got there, and possibly carry out some other changes that I had in mind. After a morning of rummaging through my stash and finding nothing suitable I turned my attention to the Mesh.
Pretty soon I had changed the seat post, and put my saddle back on. Like I said before, I've not had a layback before, and in my minds eye I thought it might look pretty cool, I remember back in the eighties thinking that BMX's looked pretty cool with laybacks, but now, looking at it I'm just not so sure. However while I was there I figured that I might just do a couple of other things that I had in mind, like pop a better set of Vee brakes on instead of the cheap ass ones it came with, and perhaps, change the handlebars. I had a set in mind, but to be honest the thought of changing them has worried me for a long time. The bars I had in mind have been hanging around in my stash since 1982, and until now they've only been on one bike.
I took them down off the rusty nails that have been holding them on the garage wall for years, and offered them up to the Mesh. Even just holding them there I felt quite concerened, did I really want to fit these to my bike again? I really wasn't sure.
Y'see back to when I was a kid, and missing out on the whole BMX thing, my Dad wouldn't buy me a BMX because he thought they were no bigger than the Chopper I was currently riding, so he felt that there was no point. However, my friend had a Grifter, and his Dad painted that Grifter for him, and pretty much used every colour in the rainbow atleast once. It looked pretty damn funky, and to be fair. I wanted to do the same thing to my Chopper, but wasn't allowed as my Dad thought that it would be worth something someday if it was left as it left the factory.
So what my Dad did was to go out to the tip (This is probably where I get it from!) and he picked up two old (70's) bikes with old type 26" wheels for one of my Brothers and I to make into our 'track bikes'. Once home they got striped of all their mudguards, chainguards, and anything else that was surplus to requirements, then painted in whatever aerosol paints we could get our hands on, and that was it, as close to a BMX as my middle Brother and I would get. Then one day in 1981 I was in Childrens Palace in Pittsburgh and I saw these BMX 'V' bars on sale, and I want to say that they were only about $3.99, so thinking that these would make my 'track bike' look even more BMX like I splurged, and spent a further 99¢ on some sparkly glittery grips too. Putting them on my bike, with the obligatory racing number plate I thought my bike looked really cool, and to be honest I was pretty proud of that bike, despite how rubbish it probably actually was.
Anyhoo, not long after putting these bars on my bike I had my biggest bicycle accident to date. I don't like coming off my bikes, I never have, but this time I got quite badly hurt, and even scooped up by an ambulance once when I came off. I can't remember the full extent of it all, but the gist of it was that I went down a steep bank, onto a tarmac surface, the bike came out from under me and I went face first into the tarmac. it was 1982, so no helmet obviously. Blood, teeth through the lip, fractured jaw, and nose, concussion, pain, confusion. Frankly, I felt awful, infact, I really thought that was the end of me, I don't think I'd ever hurt myself so badly and I didn't feel that great for a few days either. That was the best part of 40 years ago, and even sitting here, thinking about it and writing it feels very uncomfortable, and has caused me to rub my face, and feel my jaw where it got broken. They say that time heals all, but to be honest, thinking about that day I can still feel the pain, and it's uncomfortable to even think about it, time has not healed that little incident in my mind at all.
But the following day, still feeling a little bit wobbly, and after the girl who lived next door to me had washed all the blood off my bike I was convinced to go back out there on it. I went for a gentle ride around the block, and it was OK, but I no longer felt the same way about that bike. I still wanted to ride, but just not that. So I spent the rest of the Summer Holiday riding it while I saved up for a new Mountain Bike. Once that was purchased my 70's 'track bike' went to the tip, however, because the handlebars were brand new (although quite scuffed now) I took them off, and put them in my folks garage. those things have moved from my folks garage, to wherever my stash is over and over again. I've thought countless times about putting them on a bike, but for whatever stupid reason everytime I think about it I think about when they were last on a bike, and how much my face hurt that day.
So, here we are, some forty years later, and I'm taking them off the nails on the garage wall, but this time, I'm fitting them. I'm not really a supersticious person, but still, theres that thought in the back of my mind. Even as I put them on the bike I'm really not sure, I'm really not comfortable. But I think that they'll be perfect on the Mesh, it will make it look more like the BMX that I want it to be.
Now that they're on there I'm not sure I like how it looks at all. It's OK to ride, although my hands are up quite high, atleast chest height, which I think is OK if you're looking to ride some sort of choppery cruisery type thing with ape hangers, but on this... Hmm... Not so much. I guess in total, because I had to change the stem too, the grips are a good three inches higher than the bars that I had on there the last time I rode it. Added to that these bars are probably the best part of four inches narrower than the bars I had before too. Like I said, it rides OK, but I'm not too sure of the riding position, it doesn't feel right for this type of bike. But I think that worse than that, it just looks plain wierd. It kinda looks too tall, and especially when viewed from the front, too skinny. So I think I'm starting to get quite close to how I want it to look, I'm not thrilled by the layback, but it does serve a purpose, and makes for a nicer riding position for me, and hopefully the way it looks will grow on me. As for the handlebars, as much as I like them, I think they look out of scale. I'd quite like to keep with a 'V' bar type handlebar, but I think it needs to be shorter in height, and wider to make them look right on this bike. So for now I guess I'll pop the bars back on that were on this the last time I rode it, and pop these back in my stash for when I eventually go and buy myself a regular sized BMX to hang on the wall in my lounge!