Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Downhill Dashing

Looking back, those many years ago, when my youth was upon me and I revelled in living in the Eastern Sydney suburb of Bondi Beach, I now reflect on my attempts to try 'dead' as a way of life, ifn' ya' know what I mean. Although I was not attempting suicide, I was extending my lust for excitement, danger, life threatening experiences, and down right stupidity.

Anyone that has been to Bondi Beach will know of the very steep Bondi Road, where, I believe buses still make the decent and climb at a very steady speed. Not so I and mates, as we only knew Bondi Road as a road with one speed, and in the Australian vernacular, is 'Flat Out' or even faster if possible, and I really think that we broke the Flat Out record by several MPH.

The moment of launch of your latest billy-cart, with the traditional ball bearing wheels, wheels that would send showers of sparks as they attempted to gain traction of the road surface on the big curve at the bottom of Bondi Road, which, in my time no one ever negotiated to enter Campbell Parade, and that was only a good thing, as the trams used to rattle out of the cutting with little concern for billy-carts with dare-devil kids aboard.

The best we could do, at high speed, was to pull down on the wooden, skid on the billy-cart's breaking system, so called because it always used to break a the most inconvenient moment, like when you wished to slow down or stop, even.

The eventual trajectory would be to cross to the wrong side of the road at the bottom of the steepest part of Bondi Road, take evasive action as we went under the white fence rail on McKenzie's Park and fall onto the grass before the billy-cart went over the edge on to the rocks below, splashed by the blue Pacific Ocean.

Let me tell you, that was exciting, and it didn't matter too much about the Billy-cart, as it was time to go home for dinner by then.

I think the motorists of the time really enjoyed our boyhood race meets, as one could hear the vehicle horns hooting in encouragement as we often sped past them, and in front of them in their downward path.

However, before I left Bondi for the great Outback of Queensland, I did give up the reckless down hill suicide run on a billy-card with ball bearing wheels, and took on the more exciting race downhill on my precious Malvern Starr Bike trying to beat a tram before it came out of the cutting near Francis Street.

Oh! what fun, Oh! What a stupid thing to do, but if you are indestructible you can do anything, however I proved that I was not indestructible, or at least my right leg wasn't, as it snapped as the front wheel of the bike got 'rutted' in the tram track, and I did a ten-point swan dive onto the pavement, far enough ahead of the tram for it to do an emergency stop.

I settled down a lot from those days when I went West and only rode a couple of bulls in a country rodeo, easy stuff, as you would appreciate.

Now, of course, after youth has gone, along with the spirit of adventure, and the ability to remember what adventure really is, I have tried to test what ever adrenalin reserves that may be left in my body. Only last week I asked a lady to go out with me, now that was exciting, it caused vast memory searching as to what you do when you take a lady out. Luckily, she refused, but it left me the excitement of what I, and she may have gotten up to, and I had a little bet with myself it would not be a billy-cart ride down Bondi Road.

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