Monday, September 18, 2006

Tongue that Rat (Part 1)

I started writing and all this stuff came out. It's long. Longer than Ringhorn. Also haven't finished yet, so I'm breaking it into chunks. If I start it and you like it then I'll have to finish it. Here is part one. Happy reading.

ps - may I recommend reading it on the bog. Then you can wipe with it after.

by Correspondant Pork Hop on assignment

Part 1 – What? A Tallbike Convention?! In Oz?!

The Oz Rats stared at the screen in gleeful disbelief. Johnny Payphone had just informed us that not only was there another bunch of freaks building bikes Down Under, but they were holding a convention.

It was a red rag to a bull. A goon bag to an alco. A loaded dumpster to a rat. We had to go. But it was half way across the country. No less than 1200km each way. Still. We had to go.

We devoured all the net had to offer on this mysterous group, The Supreme Overlord Gravox, Mudbutt Monkey, and their proposed Tallbike convention. A few emails later we were en-route to Adelaide, not knowing where we would stay, or who these people were. But they built bikes. We figured all would be just fine.

Two cars, 10 rats, 10 tallbikes. We couldn’t fit everything. The rats we left behind (of their own choice) were miserable. They couldn’t believe they were missing the opportunity of being part of possibly the first freakbike gathering in this country. We wished we could bring more bikes – choppers, cruisers, uncategorisables. But there simply wasn’t space, and well, it was touted as a “tallbike” convention, so tallbikes it was.

400km into the journey and Ratmobile 2 resembled a bad karaoke bar. 4 drunk farks screaming their lungs out, the stench of stale beer and even staler farts, and one weird looking nearly sober guy in the corner. The sober guy had a massive smile on his face. Everything was peachy.

When the trailer had a blow out and was unhitched, the sight of all the jumbled bikes cut a striking picture apparently stranded in the vastness of the Hay plains.

After something like 14hrs at the wheel we all rolled into the highly secretive Tongue of Fire HQ, with every rat’s jaw on the floor! HQ was an old church that was once a factory, that was now another factory of sorts… A freakbike factory!

Gravox greeted us with smiles, and a quiet acknowledgement that this was a rather special moment. We were honoured to have been ushered into the inner sanctum without having ever met these fine people. Then I saw the bikes!

Seeing a complete adulterated freak bike for the first time in the flesh is a special thing. Assuming we were on an island devoid of other such bikes meant we would never see a finished product without first seeing it’s donor and then seeing it slowly take shape. Like looking at your face everyday in the mirror. And now, we were seeing many, many bikes.

“These bikes” I said in absolute overwhelmed astonishment “these are amazing! May I ride one?”
“There’s no need to ask, just ride” was The Supreme Overlord’s reply.

In their short history of building bikes (all of a year) they had amassed in the vicinity of 30 bikes. I couldn’t help but think that this must have had something to do with this awesome space. Bikes adorned the walls, leant up against columns, and were now being ridden by the rats who couldn’t believe their eyes, nor constrain their legs which were bursting with excitement and the desire to “try” all these amazing bikes.

Spin cycle had us trying to ride in a straight line, but simply spinning out seemingly at random. Direct drive and steer at the front, and shopping trolley castors under a seat at the rear, it took me about 10 minutes to be able to ride it in a straight line… towards an on-coming car. And just when I thought I had it totally nailed, whiiiip! out went the rear, only metres from the car. I was in hysterics.

Next was the towering Skylab. Like a massive set of scissors, the saddle perched some 3.5metres in the air. I could freemount a trip-hi. This was easily as tall. Kick. Kick. Kick. Hand on the half-height handlebar, right foot on the first peg, left foot on the next. Don’t fall onto the frame. Oops. That’s my right foot on the left peddle. Loosing speed. Juggle the feet, and swing the leg over. Sweet! ....what a view!

Then came the unrideable. Ringhorn in all it’s bright orange glory. Looks sedate enough. Nice and low to the ground. But after one metre it was apparent that this was going to be a challenge. I knew speed was stability’s friend, but even with a hefty kick, and a decent bit of momentum, the steed wanted to buck, forcing an immediate foot down. With a foot down, and your knee up as high as your shoulder, the bike wanted to do nothing more than convert that speed into a shin snapper. After 10 minutes I had achieved a straight line, no foot down distance of only 10 metres. But I was close. I could taste it. A film screening called. This puppy would keep.

More and more bikes kept rolling out of HQ. More and more laughs could be heard in the back streets surrounding HQ. More and more people turned up. We exchanged names. Skeletor, Dr Splat, Trixy Boy, Bloody Mary, Flighty, SkidMark, Organ Donor, Captain LightningBeard Query… Try as I might, there was no way I was going to remember all these names, especially after the beers and smoke began to flow.

We unpacked the trailer and assembled bikes. Now it was the Tonguers turn to ride some new bikes. Master Gravity Esquire, the tall tandem cargo bike, trundled off on a beer run. And we fired up the barbie to fuel everybody up for what was shaping up to be a truly memorable evening.

Part 2 - "Beer Down! Pants Down! Man Down!" coming soon.


Blogger The Supreme Overlord Gravox said...

top shelf wordsmithery

1:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home