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Around this time of year, the cabin-fever sets in. People are wont to get a little kooooky. A little crazy around the edges.

They start thinking whacky things.

Like, “What if I took an old, shitty bicycle, threw away the wheels, and bolted on some skiis in their places?”

Lo, the Ski-bike was created, and it was good. Inspired by that article in DirtRag (one of the best bicycle magazines out there) the Frank Tuesday friends built up some ski-bikes and had a ski-bike party a few years ago. I wasn’t in on that one, but from all acounts it was a darn good time, and the love of ski-biking bacame firmly entrenched in the hearts of the Kansas City mountain-biking community, so now, whenever we get anything like a reasonable amount of snow, the cries go out, and ski-bike enthusiasts converge on one hill or another and vie for creative injuries, speed records, and sweet jumps.

This past Saturday dawned cool and pleasant, in the mid to upper 30s, thickly overcast, with a tangible ambient humidity. You knew it was gonna snow, and gonna snow big.

I got out to run some errands late in the morning. By early afternoon (2:00 p.m.-ish) it was snowing lightly. By 2:30, it was snowing hard. The ski-bike gameplan came out on the Earthriders discussion board about an hour later. Plan to meet at Museum Hill in the Old Northeast around 8:00 p.m. I rode up to Joel’s house to meet him after he got off work. By this point, the snow had been falling steadily for about four hours, and we probably had about 3 inches standing on the ground. I told him the whens and whereabouts of the ski-biking festivities. He called around and confirmed it with a couple of the usual suspects.

We bundled up well; I had to change out of my massively wet clothes I’d ridden over to his house in, loaded up his beater mountain bike in the back of his truck, and headed out for mayhem. Dr Greg was the first person out there. At first we thought he was just a local out walking his dog, for he had brought his charming yellow lab Kato with him. We hailed him and chatted and froze whilst waiting for the rest of the crew to arrive. Soon, Michael Gier, Aaron Browning, and Nate King arrived, Michael bringing his son along to partake in the fun. Then Max and Scott showed up with their madhouse dual-suspension downhill ski-bikes, and things got silly.

There were five ski-bikes, one saucer sled, one regular mountain bike, and an enthusiastic dog. There was usually something or someone flying down the hill. To make matters even more chaotic, a number of local kids (and a couple who wanted to light off some bottle rockets) showed up with their sleds and their enthusiastic dogs. No dogs, children, or mountain-bikers were harmed during the course of the evening.

Dustin is seated on the saucer sled, I’m on Max’s infamous chrome double-boinger, and Kato is ready to start running.

This is said bike in daylight, with nobody on it.

I’m taking off. This bike is amazingly fast. Wow!

Aaron brings Murray (the bikes all have names) up to the top of the hill.

Brian Robinson’s brother (sorry, I didn’t catch the dude’s name) gets some great air on Murray on Sunday. (edited 11-24-07 Dan Robinson aka Danimal the Animal)

Scott’s proud steed.

Scott and his steed in action.
We all ski-biked, sledded, threw snowballs at each other, and drank peppermint schnapps to our heart’s content for a good long while. Once everyone was plenty exhausted, we called it a night. Since neither Joel nor I had eaten any proper dinner, we sought out an IHOP for some midnight munchin’. Sometimes, you need to visit an IHOP or similar to properly close out a night.

On Sunday morning, we awoke to see that even more snow had fallen in the night. A good 5 inches blanketed Kansas City. Joel and I decided a Cliff Drive cruise was in order. At the west and east entraces to the drive, kids had built snowmen, but further into the park, nobody had been since the snow fell. There’d been one cyclist who rode about half of the course from the west end and turned around and headed back. That rider must have ridden saturday night or very early Sunday morning. For the last half mile to the east side of the park, nobody had walked or ridden, so we were breaking virgin snow all the way. To say it was a good workout would be putting it mildly. It was a hard slog, but so, so peaceful and beautiful. I love Cliff Drive no matter what season. Biking too, for that matter.

My boots got soaked through and through, and I got chilled to the core, so unfortunately I couldn’t stay around for much of the ski-biking and sledding that was going on on Sunday. Suffice it to say, that with pleasant weather and nearly half a foot of soft, heavy, wet snow, there were hordes of kids, teens, and adults out sledding, throwing snow, and ski-biking down museum hill. It was a pretty darn good weekend on the whole.

One Response to “164621”

  1. […] decided how to give my old Huffy a proper send-off.  It’s going to become a ski-bike, which I think is an honorable retirement for the old beast.  Better than becoming part of […]

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