04 February 2016

Hey Dude! Catch This Wave!

For a few years, I did a pretty fair amount of mountain biking.  I even had two "crews" I rode with.  In one of them, I was the only white, non-Caribbean rider; in the other I was the oldest.  We rode, went out to eat, went to movies and engaged in all sorts of ribaldry.   And we talked a lot of trash--to and about each other and everyone else in the world, it seemed--all in good fun, of course.

I have never surfed, but somehow this milieu reminded me of what I always imagine "boarders" enjoyed with each other.  We had a kind of high-octane testosterone-fueled camaraderie and egged each other on in making fast turns and drops and, on occasion, chatting up women.  (Oh, if they could see me now..;-)).  Much of the slang we, and other mountain bikers, used at that time was that of surfers.  Someone who took a tumble "wiped out", tough terrain was "gnarly" and anything particularly pleasurable or exhilarating was "bitchin'! and could leave us "stoked".

Oh, yeah, and the way we, and other mountain bikers used the word "dude".  Yes, it was a slang term for anyone male, but it was also used as an all-purpose rhetorical exclamation. "Du-u--de!" Lots of riders would yell it when bombing down a steep drop. 

It all made sense to me when I realized that in some ways, mountain biking--especially the downhill variety--has a similar thrill, a kind of adrenaline rush, that "riding the waves" does.  Even cross-country riding has some of that feel:  When you ride fast through turns and over rocks, creeks and such, after a certain point, it's not about how hard or fast you're pedaling; you stay on your bike and move forward to the degree that you can ride the "waves" of whatever terrain your tire treads roll over.

So, I guess, it does make sense that someone actually created this:

From Charlie Kelly's website

"Soon to Revolutionize Self Propelled (sic) Recreational Vehicles"?  It must really be revolutionary if the rider doesn't need a helmet or other protective equipment!


  1. Thanks for noticing my site.

    Have you seen my book, Fat Tire Flyer?

  2. Repack--I'll definitely check it out. Thanks for stopping by!