As a 12-year-old racing shabby bicycles in a makeshift Grand National Championship against my buddies in the neighborhood, we wouldn’t hesitate to do a little rubbin’ in the corners – but only on our 20-inch BMX bikes (and I use the term BMX loosely since this was the early 1970s). When we stepped up to our Schwinn Varsities for the road-race portion of our “grand” championship, rubbing was pretty much off limits. The speeds were too high, the pavement too hard. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t even make bicycle helmets back then. I know for a fact that we didn’t have ‘em.
But since 12 year olds of roughly the same build can only pump pedals so fast, running up the inside of your buddy in turn two of our “dirt track” (which in this case was the slick, concrete floor of a two-car garage) was not only the best way to make a pass, it was the expected way to make a pass. Run it in too hot, however, and someone was going to smack either the washer or dryer that sat permanently on the outside of our turn three/four. When that happened, Mrs. Tally wasn’t the only one who flew out of the house with a flaring temper. Even as 12 year olds we knew that you had to give each other a bit of room, or else.
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