Wheelie good or wheelie bad? | OPINION
No doubt this video will set the cat amongst the pigeons. Shot from Frank Hall’s Vespa yesterday as he commuted home from work it shows a topless teenager performing a pretty impressive near-verticle wheelie down the Old Kent Road.
Not one SLUK was given to the law, road safety or common sense but is what he did so reckless and have we lost sight of the freedom and joy two wheels can give us? Temperatures reached 29º in many areas of the UK yesterday so it was certainly warm enough to ride without the usual layers of protective gear but what do you all think to the actions of this ped rider, were they to be applauded or should we condemn him?
Watch the video above and feel free to add your own comment or opinion at the end…
Do you wear Kevlar underpants?
We all know wearing armour and abrasion resistant clothing is a sensible choice, whatever the weather but have we wrapped ourselves in cotton wool and forgotten to enjoy ourselves? There’s no doubt this youngster has talent, he’s done this stunt hundreds of times and like a decent skateboarder or BMXer he knows he’s unlikely to crash doing his wheelie.
Thankfully we’re still free to make choices about what we ride, how we ride and whether or not we wear armoured Y-fronts every time we leave the house. Live and let live is a good motto to live by, one man’s vice is another mans poison. This lad may choose to share his vice on the high street but he lived to tell the tale. I’m sure he knows it’s illegal and foolish but is it any more likely to result in death than smoking, heavy drinking or being morbidly obese? Talent counts for a lot and our own skill level can dictate what we should and shouldn’t do.
I know only too well that crashing hurts, the selfie above is of me after a recent mountain bike crash on to dirt. It was only a 15mph crash but I went down hard and caused myself some serious pain and damage. I ended up with a broken scapula (shoulder blade), apparently it’s the hardest bone to break in the human body. I also had a deep puncture wound, gravel rash, a damaged elbow and serious muscle/tendon damage. My helmet saved me from more serious harm, it hit the floor hard enough to break it and left me with an imprint of the lining on my head for five hours. I got away with mild concussion.
Has it put me off mountain biking? Not a bit, will I attempt to do a dirt jump again? Of course. Am I likely to go out for a mountain bike ride wearing full armour as a result? No chance.
Having said that I still choose to wear an armoured Knox vest under my scooter jackets and usually wear either textiles or Kevlar jeans, a full-faced Arai helmet, decent gloves and armoured boots. If I’m riding abroad and the temperature is unbearable, or I’m riding locally and I want to cast off a layer I will do, or at least wear an air-flow jacket. As long as I ride defensively and within my capabilities the chances of me crashing on a scooter are much less than they are on my mountain bike.
Freedom of choice is the aim of this opinion, not to condemn riders if they occasionally free themselves from body armour.