|There is only one reason I never attempted this.|
We didn't have one!
In Waltonville, where we grew up, there is a street (Knob St.) that has been closed and re-opened at least a dozen times that I can remember. The street goes down Knob Hill, which is supposedly the highest point in the county, and the street is fairly steep.
One weekend, we were out on our bikes with some friends and noticed that Knob Street had been closed off again. Being the curious types, we went around the barriers and discovered that there was a large dirt pile in the middle of the road about halfway down the hill. This pile was about four feet tall with plenty of road left on the other side for an easy landing.
The side facing the top of the hill had a perfect smooth side that was destined for jumping. Since some thoughtful road crew person had taken the time to build this wonderful toy for us, it would have been rude to not take advantage of it.
I was the first to take a run at it. The steep grade of the hill made it very easy to gain speed quickly. Lined up for a beautiful shot, I rapidly approached the jump. As I neared the top, I noticed how drastic the drop off on the other side would be. I locked up the brakes and rode smoothly over the mound. Everyone ran up to see what the issue was. I showed them my concerns.
|This type of landing is much more difficult.|
While we were scanning the road for possible hazards (holes, unusual bumps, extra gravel, dead bodies from previous attempts, etc.), my younger brother Kyle, decides to just go for it. He yells from the top of the hill for everyone to clear out of the way. Knowing that he wouldn't warn us again, we scattered to the edges of the road.
|These are not exactly built for leaving the ground.|
Using my best guess, he approached the ramp at approximately the speed of sound and shot off into the sky with the gap between him and the ground growing at an exponential rate.
Kyle was very aware that the bike he was using was not ideal for jumping, so as he approached the top he pulled up hard on the handlebars to ensure he didn't land on his front wheel. It was immediately evident that he had overcompensated.
As he sailed past me, I could tell he was flipping backwards. Kyle, never wanting to be accused of not seeing something through to the end refused to leave the bike and stayed in the seat. It was an amazing thing to see as the bike and rider continued to spin until he was right side up again. It would have been more amazing had he landed at that point, but he didn't. He kept rotating until the tires were skyward again. That was when he met the pavement.
At his current velocity, he did not just land. He skidded. Much like a rock skipping across water, but without the skipping part. Toppling and rolling over his bike, taking hits from the pedals and going through the spokes, he came to a bloody, grinding stop. He made a generous skin contribution to the road commissioner that day. He wouldn't donate that much skin at one time again until he hits a dog 15 years later while riding his motorcycle.
We packed his wounds with dirt to stop the bleeding, pulled out the most mangled spokes and attempted to straighten the front wheel (unsuccessfully). We then drug him to the ditch to clear the road so we could try to do better than him. Because Kyle's
Once we all had our share of excitement, we decided to venture home. It then occurred to us that the sun was quickly setting, we were about 5 miles from home, short one bike and Kyle could barely move. It was going to be a looooong trek home.