The ‘Dead Bike’ idea had come about some six months earlier on a dull February Friday. To kill a little spare time I idly logged on to the BIKEmagic forum and suggested wagering worn-out bike parts on a dead pool – who ever picked the next celebrity to pop their clogs would win all the junk. For some reason the idea caught on and before long betting was brisk and the idea of building a bike out of this crap was put forward. Oh, and racing it. Over the coming weeks and months the pool became a saga of unexpected twists and turns, which I won’t go into here. Suffice to say that the original concept of the pool winner riding a bike built from the pledged components fell apart like a cheap pair of pants (more of which later). The idea of building the bike was too strong to die though, so we arranged a weekend to celebrate the spirit of this futile venture. And this was it. Cannock Chase was a convenient central point and was also hosting a mountain bike festival, so we would have a competition to enter. It was a little hard to believe that it was all happening.
As the light faded, I began to get to know my new comrades a little more and discovered why Dave has a reputation as a bad influence in the presence of booze. We all talked on into the small hours, bolstered by beer, tequila, whisky, and a mysterious concoction in a Sigg bottle.
By one o’clock we had got quite loud. Footsteps approached our pitch and we turned to face the inevitable complaint. We were confronted by an irate, but polite man, resplendent in a rather shapeless T-shirt, tucked into a pair of very small and equally shapeless pants. We gaped in amazement, as one. Did the man have no shame? The pants were spellbinding. They were patterned but we were never able to agree on what the pattern was – a sure sign of collective mental trauma. Most disturbingly, they appeared to have a Walnut Whip stuffed down the front.
As we gawped, the pants spoke; “Would you mind keeping the noise down? It is rather late and we can hear you right over the other side of the campsite.” It sounded like something along those lines, but to tell you the truth, the words just sort of wafted over us, like the smell exuding from said undergarments. Try as I might, I just couldn’t look anywhere else. To this day, I still have no idea what the man’s face looked like.
If the pants intention had been to shock us into silence, it had worked, at least for the moment. I think I muttered a vague apology and the Y-fronts walked off. Dave was the first to speak. “Was that guy wearing… “, “…Those pants?!”, somebody else chipped in and the spell was broken.