I was sitting in Milk Bar with my friend Tim, watching a young man cycle around the block in a continuous unbroken wheelie. At least, the section of his laps we could see – he didn’t put a foot down on our side of the block.
Tim sipped his Shed Espresso and I chomped my avocado-on-rye before Tim proclaimed, “only chavs can do wheelies”. Tim can do wheelies, and I cannot.
Look past the obvious insanity of their ride and you’ll notice that, despite the street language, Harry rides a Collective C100 Pro. The price tag doesn’t exactly scream “street”. So is there money to be earned from popping wheelies?
Yes, as evidenced by Danny Macaskill’s nose wheelie for Magura. Note that Danny’s sponsors value him enough to insist he wear a helmet. And Danny’s paid enough that he listens.
The magical allure of wheelies explains why my teenage nephew… let’s call him Josh… has just dropped his hard-earned cash on a Specialized hardtail, with a low gear ratio and slick tyres. If he’s anything like me, I’m sure he’ll put safety first.
Josh will be fine – cycling didn’t break any of my bones until I was well into my 30s. But then again, I’m more of a road cyclist which means, obviously, I don’t waste my time with wheelies. Road cyclists are a more civilised breed, more concerned with the spiritual callings of the climb.
God damn it, Peter – just put on a helmet. We’re trying to teach our kids values.