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Evel Knievel

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Steve Ouimette, Jun 22, 2017.

  1. Kojer

    Kojer Tele-Meister

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    One more thing, have you guys notice his riding suit? I dont know what else he wears under them but it is far from the modern riding suit with protective armour! Like i've said, it was a different time and place.
     
  2. VintageSG

    VintageSG Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Ah, the Evel wind up stunt bike. Ever notice how close to the abrasive concrete slabs of the driveway your knuckles were?. If it hadn't broken in a couple of days, I think I'd have ground sections of knuckle down to perfect flats. Nearly every kid I knew had one, and they all broke.
    Then there was the 'make a makeshift ramp at the bottom of the hill and jump it on the pushbike' episode. I never crashed, but plenty of others did. What followed, after parental bans were enforced on making ramps in the street, was 'jump off the bankings', 'ride round the local quarry, jumping off small, then larger cliffs'.
    Buckled wheels and broken bones followed for most of us. All because of that Wembley jump. I remember the television lead up showing a lot of unsuccessful jumps and very few jumps that didn't lead to broken bits. Still, we were young, impressionable and it looked like fun. Jumping everything we could find to jump off, over and sometimes through kept us occupied.
    The merchandise was of a uniformly low quality, with added tackiness. The man seemed to crash more than succeed, but we lapped it up.
     
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  3. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Doctor of Teleocity

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    Gotta admire his swagger, even if not particularly a fan.
     
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  4. HotRodSteve

    HotRodSteve Poster Extraordinaire

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    Evel Knievel was every kid's hero in the neighborhood I grew up in around the early 70s. He was the real deal.
     
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  5. Sjnoring

    Sjnoring Tele-Afflicted

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    We grew up emulating him. With predictable results. He taught a generation of kids to get up, brush the dust off, and try again. We didn't have video games. We were video games.
     
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  6. texastengu

    texastengu Tele-Holic

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    I was at Ontario Motor Speedway in 71' for the 129 foot jump over nineteen vehicles. I was in the infield for the filming and after the jump he road directly over to where I was standing and shook my hand first ...
     
  7. Artslap

    Artslap Tele-Afflicted

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    He was a God.

    Only in the 70's. I'm glad I lived through them.

    CP.
     
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  8. dlew919

    dlew919 Doctor of Teleocity

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    Any other Australians remember Dick smith jumping a bus over 12 motorbikes?
     
  9. Henry

    Henry Tele-Holic

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    Agreed.
     
  10. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    As a kid I had all those Knievel toys. Loved them. Like many of you, we tried to replicate his feats with our bicycles.

    I'm pushing 50, but when I get together with my brother and neighborhood friends from growing up, we still talk about this stuff. In particular, there was this one time we had a ramp set up, a board on two or three tires. It wasn't a huge jump for us on our bicycles, but we upped the ante by placing the ramp on the edge of a small dropoff. It allowed us kids to fly through the air quite a bit further than we normally could have with just bicycle leg power. We were fortunate to be doing this during the early days of BMX, when one kid in the neighborhood had a pretty serious BMX bike that we'd all take turns on going over the jump.

    We did this fairly regularly. One day after school the local [email protected]$$ J. Tweed pulled up on his Puch moped. His name was actually Jay, but I like to give him the J. Mascis treatment for the purpose of the story. We were probably 8 or 10, and J was probably 18 and about to graduate high school at the time. He lived down the street, but was always cool to us younger kids. He had a leather jacket and a cigarette sticking out of his mouth at a rakish angle. He was pretty much Steve McQueen incarnate to us kids.

    J watched us take a few jumps, saying little, but nodding approvingly. He then asked if we wanted to see how its really done. To us, his Puch moped was the height of cool in the late 70's. We cleared out and watched as J swung the moped back into the road and drove up the furthest driveway on the cul de sac. That was old man Modelle's house, and he would sooner chase us out of his yard than give us a piece of candy on Halloween, so we were already impressed with J's courage. I'm pretty sure J chucked the stub of a cigarette he was smoking and lit a new one at the top of old man Modelle's driveway. He gunned the throttle, and pedaled for all he was worth and shot out of the driveway, across the cul de sac and jumped halfway across Robbie Hone's front yard. The moped crashed down, bending the forks and digging a huge divot in the lawn.

    J rode it out, but it was evident that the moped was trashed. No matter, it was the coolest thing we had ever seen or experienced in our brief lives up to that point. J finished his cigarette, dropped the bike and walked away. Unknowingly, he walked right into legendary status with us for that whole set of moves.

    J graduated a few days later and we didn't see him again for years. It was only after we all got out of high school and a few of us got into mountain biking that we ran into him again. This was many years later, and we were young adults in our own right by then. But nothing changed with J. One day we were riding our bikes past the local dive bar and there he was, sitting outside on his own mountain bike, with the same cigarette hanging out the side of his mouth. He acknowledged us with a nod as if nothing had changed from that day a decade earlier. He noted that we had nice bikes and asked if we wanted to go for a ride with him and see how mountain biking is really done. We made plans for that weekend, and sure enough he took us on a hell ride over hill and dale that began with a five mile stretch across a salt marsh on railroad tracks...on the actual tracks, and concluded with a mountaintop descent through a thunderstorm with lightening crashing all around us.

    The ride killed us, but it earned us respect with J, our childhood hero. I'm not sure if he was so Knievel in all aspects of his life, but J certainly made an impression on us. None of it would have been possible without Evel Knievel and his groundbreaking swagger. I'm not sure whatever happened to J, but in my mind I hope he is still out there jumping things at will and riding the heck out of whatever two wheeled contraption he now owns. I just hope he has given up those darned cigarettes.

    Viva le Knievel!
     
  11. Henry

    Henry Tele-Holic

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    In a way I think EK fed a fascination that the internet has turned into a vice. The spectacle of someone hurting themselves...our voyeuristic tendency to gawk at someone else's misfortune. Personally I make a determined effort not to participate in that, I think it's gotten out of control. Don't know if it's a privacy issue or a question of ethics but the online world is maniacal. It's good to remember the simpler pleasures of watching a lunatic like EK take another ride to hospital. A hero from the Monty Python school of tragedy.
     
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  12. wabashslim

    wabashslim Friend of Leo's

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    It's not misfortune if you're doing it intentionally, fully aware of the risks. There are other words for it.

    But yeah, back then an Eval jump or an Ali fight was always must-see TV.
     
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  13. Steve Ouimette

    Steve Ouimette Tele-Holic

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    Best story of the night!
     
  14. H. Mac

    H. Mac Friend of Leo's

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    I saw his show in Chicago when I was a high school senior, and afterwards, snuck backstage where one of his assistants rolled his bike over my program so i had a tire print. He was my hero!

    But as I matured, I thought he was pretty foolish for not finding a better and safer way to make a living.
     
  15. P Thought

    P Thought Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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  16. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    It's very hard to find heros, idols and gods of our youth who weren't incredibly flawed in some big way.

    When I think of what Lance Armstrong did to the aspirations of some young folks (hell, and even me) it just kills me.

    The list is very long. That's why it's so valuable when you find one that honestly knows the meaning of the words role model and walks the walk...
     
  17. Wallo Tweed

    Wallo Tweed Friend of Leo's

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    The thing is, when he started jumping, dirt bikes were full size Harleys, Triumphs, BSAs etc.
    By the time he was established he was fully identified with the motor company, and had an all American red, white, and blue image. To switch mid career to an import bike would have cost him most of his fans.

    If you weren't around when he was in his prime, I can see why you might think that all he did was crash. Truth is, he made many more successful jumps than he crashed. Of course if you do a search for him now, all you see is his wrecks.
    I really don't think he planned to crash, but he did have a huge amount of courage.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2017
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  18. LutherBurger

    LutherBurger Poster Extraordinaire

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    I had the "Super Jet Cycle" when I was a boy. My grandfather used a Zippo lighter, so he always had spare flints for the side-mounted "engines".
     
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  19. ZackyDog

    ZackyDog Tele-Afflicted

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    The Caesar's Palace jump from a different angle; click on the picture/gif:

    evel2.gif

    The jump was good, but the landing ramp sucked as he "bounced" off it. That was 50 years ago on New Years Eve.
     
  20. Frank'n'censed

    Frank'n'censed Doctor of Teleocity

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    Many kids had Evel Fever...
    Practicing wheelies & jumping ramps with our bicycles. We set up 2 ramps in the back lane, behind my buddies place. The first guy landed his jump, so I had to out do him...without any practice jumps, I crazily took a block & a half run at the take off ramp, somehow managing to keep the front end up, clearing the landing ramp by several yards. Number 3 wasn’t a charm, as Bobby wiped out behind his parent’s place. Thankfully, he wasn’t hurt, but wound up with a bloody, scabbed up, half a face. Things got more interesting for him, as he failed grade 8 that year & got his girlfriend pregnant the following one...he quit school, keeping the baby, having 3 more. My mother ended up working with him several decades later
     
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