Local Photographer
Ariel Bracken


View Past Columns Here


Bike Rides 105
World's Dumbest Mountain Biker


I’m a victim of Facebook bullying.

Last winter I posted a video of myself riding my bike over the glazed ice covering East Side Lake. Even with studded tires it was a challenge to keep upright. I pushed it pretty hard; drifting into some nice 180’s but never did go down for the camera.

It wasn’t long before the usual loyal Facebook friends posted their encouraging comments.
“Nice Dan” said one. “Cool!” said another, along with a couple of generous “likes”.

And then there was this from Mathew Anderson, a high school acquaintance whom I haven’t seen in 10 years and likely wouldn’t even know these days if not for social networking:
“I don’t want to see any more videos that don’t include face plants etc.” Mr. Anderson appealed.

Normally I take teasing pretty well, but in this case I got a little ruffled, probably because there was some truth to the jester’s snide comments; the video after all was pretty lame. So, in the back of my mind I’ve always wanted to redeem myself for the wimpy Iced Side Lake ride.

One of my favorite places to burn aggression while staying in Mankato is 7 Mile Creek Park just five miles north of the city, halfway to St. Peter. It’s full of up and down hill challenges, a gravelly trail winding through prime bluff country.

At a couple different intersections where trail meets creek, you get the option of riding through the rolling water or taking the wimpy way across, over the bridge.

Of course, we’ve had a lot of rain this summer and consequently the creek was much higher than usual. Soon the notion of blasting through the nearly raging cold stream in the hot July sun was beginning to override common sense and I was determined to give it a run.

Besides that I had my camera with me and just like Opie Taylor in that episode where he finally stood up to the Mayberry bully; I had a score to settle. So I flagged down a couple of fellow riders, introduced myself and asked for their assistance.

“All right,” one said unenthusiastically, fumbling with the camera while slapping a mosquito.
I rode the incline up the trail about 50 feet, turned back and studied my target.

“I don’t want to see any more videos…” the bully’s words played over again in my head.
So I backed up another 50 feet.

“Ready?” I had to practically yell down the trail.

“Yep” I heard in the distance, and I tore down the hill with twice the speed as I figured necessary to push through the flowing water, and with all the determination of a really pissed off Opie Taylor I hammered it.

As soon as I hit the full current of the swift creek the bike stopped and I flew over the handle bars with a level of grace befitting an Olympic diver.

But three feet of water is no where near enough cushion to sustain a head first kamikaze mission of this magnitude, and in order to absorb the crash as I entered the water like a fallen trapeze artist minus a safety net, putting my hands out to save my head. I piled my left hand into the rocks, spraining my wrist and bruising my palm, but I still managed to break the fall.

After body slamming the creek bottom I emerged from the water only to see my Raleigh bobbing downstream now already 10 feet from my grip. Without hesitation I made three lunging strides through the water and dove in again after my bike, securing it with my good hand before it got too far out of reach. Rising to my feet, with one hand I hoisted the wayward mountain bike over my back, turned to the camera scowling and yelled loudly from the middle of the creek bed:

“That was for YOU, Matt Anderson!”

“Hardcore!” the cameraman exclaimed with new found respect, as I stepped out of the water, my dripping bike still slung over my shoulder.

“Yeah, it was fun too.” I cocked off a little, completely concealing the pain now consuming my wrist.

The one-handed ride back to the car was a blur. I only remember having visions of Danny Bonaduce and Tonya Harding ridiculing me as they analyzed every aspect of my crash while replaying it over and over again on truTV.

Back at the car I checked the camera and there was no video to be found whatsoever. Not even a frame. Nothing.

The epic crash was lost forever except to the memory of two perfect strangers who, for whatever reason, failed to record it correctly. To be perfectly honest I felt like going back and taking it out on them; 7 mile creek would be a good place to hide a body. But the pain in my wrist was daunting enough to momentarily eclipse the intoxicating summer sun and reintroduce my mind to reason, so I left the park without further incident.

However, if you should happen to come across my Facebook “friend” Mr. Mathew Anderson, tell him Opie has a little score to settle with him near a seven mile stream, five miles north of Mankato, Minnesota.

Traffic Tip: The faster you ride the further out you must focus your attention and the further back you should slide on your saddle.


View Past Columns Here

Buy the books!

Email Me!



Copyright 2011 Lyon Communications

Website design by Hick Chick Designs