I decided to ride in the Toys for Tots event last Sunday and it turned out to be pretty cool. I’m not sure what the turnout was, but last year there was about 20,000 bike that rode in it, although with the cold weather this year there might have been a smaller turnout. My friend Todd went with me. My other friends (Jay and John) are a bunch of pansies and stayed home watching their precious Bears game. It was 12 degrees out when I got up and I don’t think it got over 20 while we were riding so I bundled up. After putting on two pairs of pjs, pair of dockers, pair of jeans, water/wind proof pants, three pairs of socks, boots, two t-shirts, two sweaters, a fleece, a water/wind proof jacket liner, another insulation liner, my jacket, silk glove liners, heavy leather gloves and a scarf I was ready to go. Oh my helmet…duh. I wanted to video tape the ride by I must have turned on my camcorder right before I left and by the time we were ready to go the battery was dead. One less thing to worry about I guess. My bike was frozen. My right turn signal wouldn’t work, my throttle and front brake lever would stick. So at times I was juggling my controls.
At one point I left too much room between me and the guy in front of me, so I sprinted forward. With my throttle wide open I went to slow down by my throttle was stuck wide open. I swerved to miss the guy in front of me and kept hurdling down the center line between two rows of bikes. I find a gap and cut it to the left where I almost smack into Mike Ditka. Seriously, there was a guy who looked exactly like Mike Ditka. I swerve back to the right across the two rows of bikes and I’m barreling down on a crowd of people watching the parade. There was no more room to cut back in line with the other bikes so I continue going right and ride onto the sidewalk. People are screaming and jumping out of the way and all I can think to do is lay on my horn. Finally I find another break to get back onto the street and I finally manage to close the throttle so I can slow down. I’m going about 50 at this point and a semi is about 20 feet ahead stopped across the intersection. I notice salt all along the ground in front of me and knew that I couldn’t stop in time without crashing. I’ve always thought about riding underneath the trailer of a semi if I had to and in the past I’ve even checked the height of most semis while I’m sitting next to them in traffic to see if I could fit, and it always looked like I had enough room. So I said fuck it and kept going straight ahead towards the semi’s trailer. At the last possible section I flung my body to the right side of the bike and hung on like hell while I was counter steering the bike to the left to account for the change in weight distribution. I hear a huge CRACK! and everything slowed down from that point. I sounded like I just ran into a wall but regardless of the deafening sound I still kept traveling forward. It felt like it like it took an hour to speed out from under the trailer. Everything just slowed down. When I finally cleared the truck I pulled myself back onto the seat. After gaining my composure I realized that the large crack I heard was the sound of my windshield hitting the semi. Half of it was gone, completely cracked off. Cops were at every intersection so I turned around expecting the cops to be on their way after me but the semi was blocking them. I chuckled to myself, continued the ride to blend in with everyone else and warmed up with some hot chocolate when I arrived.