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April, 1998

"Dude, I Don’t Think That’s a Good Idea…"

So much for the cooler...If you ride long enough…or not long enough, in some cases…hell, if you ride at all, property damage is inevitable. I’ve come to accept the loss of a piece of my ’82 KDX-200 here and there, and the occasional lawn chair (another story). However, what I did to my soft cooler (a padded and insulated nylon bag, basically) was so heinous it deserves a bit of a eulogy.

It was a brand new cooler (a gift from my employer) and it was on its maiden voyage. The Ev’Man and I had decided to go riding at Stoneyford, and we camped at a meadow near Letts Lake. We awoke one morning and decided to find an off-road route to the lake so we could fish. I put my mini-pole in my chest protector and decided that the soft cooler full of beer would fit perfectly bungee-corded to my rear fender. After wrapping the bungee a couple time over the cooler and under the fender Jay, to his credit, did say that the setup looked a bit "sketch" and was maybe not a good idea. (Actually, I was much more blatant than that– ed.) He did say he wanted to ride easily to the lake, so I assured him that it wouldn’t be a problem.

I was wrong…God help me, I was wrong.

So after trying every route imaginable, we came to the cold conclusion that there was no all off-road route to Letts lake. We turned around and started our journey back to camp. This is when I really started to "zone" in both a good and bad way. Good, because I was actually getting in the zone. I was feeling really comfortable on the bike and started digging into the turns and getting a little more "enthusiastic" on the whoops. Bad, because I completely zoned about the soft cooler bungeed to my rear fender. At some point I compressed the rear enough for the tire to grab the bungee and suck the whole thing into the swing arm, which I did not notice because of my trance-like state. By the time we crested the top of Goat Mountain Road, Jay had to dodge the beer cans flying out of the dust cloud in front of him (Again a mild understatement. I was dodging perfed cans that were spewing beer everywhere. After taking two direct hits to the chest, I then began to hang back–ed.). He hung back until I was out of ammo, and then caught up to me to point out the error of my ways. The beer was gone (I went back to collect what I could find, pulling three cans from my spokes), but truly nothing on this planet deserves what the cooler got. By the time the whole mess was untangled (and it did take a bit of time) there really wasn’t much left to identify it as a cooler at all. It was definitely a closed casket burial. Please, now, a moment of silence for my dear departed soft cooler….

Look for the article "The Stress Points of Tubular Aluminum", otherwise known as "Paul, Don’t You Dare Sit in My Beach Chair!" coming soon...

"The Rookie Speaks" by Paul D.