It was my birthday yesterday, I'm home alone in Nashville, wife is in Dallas and my kids are at college in Knoxville.
I get an email from a friend that I have had no contact with in 18+ years with a photo of a little stunt we pulled, or tried to, as foolish young men.
I lived in a town called Lincoln, UK, about 40 miles from Sherwood Forest, Robin Hood's abode. Back then, almost 40 years ago, Sherwood Forest was basically a state park with nice groomed winding trails through a mass of ferns that grew to about 3 foot high.
We figured we would get dressed up in Robin Hood period costume and go to Sherwood Forest on our trusty steads, our japanese motorcycles.
The plan was to infiltrate deep into the ferns and when we saw folk walking along the groomed trails, we would pop up, pose for a few seconds, pop down and shuffle to a different area. Stupid teenage prank, but no one would get hurt.
So we bought green pantyhose, which was a story in itself, made paper hats, managed to find some carnival bows and arrows, and Friar Tuck borrowed one of his Mum's dresses.
About 10 miles from Sherwood Forest, two of the guys bumped into each other. Both stayed on their bikes, but we stopped to check for damage. One bike had twisted his forks in the triple clamps, but straddling the front wheel and a couple of bangs on the handlebars, everything looked good again. The other bike appeared to be fine.
I hadn't even put my helmet on when the same two guys set off and crashed into each other within 50 yards. The guy who had been touched in the rear, in the first contact, decided he would test his brakes, and the guy who touched him earlier, slammed into the rear of the other bike, ejecting himself over the handlebars and the other rider and bike coming down on his face.
The swing arm and rear wheel were crushed on the leading bike and the forks and handlebars were bent beyond use on the other bike.
Fortunately neither rider were hurt.
We dragged the bikes off the road and stood there, wearing our motorcycle clothes over our Robin Hood gear with bows and arrows still slung over our shoulders.
We were out in the middle of nowhere, many years before we would have even thought of cell phones.
It wasn't long before the first Police car passed us, he slowed a little to get a look at a bunch of motorcycles parked on the side of a main road. A few minutes later, he made pass from the other direction, this time slower. About 5 minutes later, the first Police car came along with a backup Police car and pulled up to us.
The typical Police questions came, "Everything alright, where have you come from, where are you going", but it wan't long before someone blew our cover and our mission was exposed, at which point we soon converted into costume of Robin Hood's merry men, the highlight of which was Steve dropping his pants to real his bright red Speedo's and announcing he was Will Scarlet…
The Police Officers were quite amused, but advised us to not continue on to Sherwood Forest, which we didn't. We waited for one of our Dads to show up with a trailer for the two bent bikes.