Awesome stunt: wrong venue

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I saw a young fellow on a motorbike – actually, I heard him first, because it was one of those off-road bikes with not much of a muffler – he popped a wheelie from down the hill beyond my view, and held it for at least 100 feet, before disappearing over the hill, front wheel still in the air.

I saw a young fellow on a motorbike – actually, I heard him first, because it was one of those off-road bikes with not much of a muffler – he popped a wheelie from down the hill beyond my view, and held it for at least 100 feet, before disappearing over the hill, front wheel still in the air. I thought, “That would be an impressive feat, were it done on an action movie set, or a track set aside for showing off horsepower and daring,”  but not in that location: a busy intersection, commonly occupied by elderly people on mobility scooters, cyclists, kids and dogs playing in the yard, joggers and dog walkers, AND an ambulance route. That’s in addition to the regular comings and goings of hospital, residential and light industrial traffic and farm equipment using Clarendon Street as a Shawville bypass. 
There are so many ways a slight miscalculation on the motorcyclist’s part could hurt somebody. For the stunt driver, it’s pop your wheelie and take your chances, but if
anyone else was injured, that would be injustice. There’s just too much risk, for too little glory, to do stunt driving on the street. Go where the crowds cheer loudly, and make your parents proud for having bought you a dangerous toy. 
I’m reminded of a scene from years ago when I was sitting on the bench at the pool room that used to be where Kojak’s is now. The only action in town was kids showing off on their bicycles, on the otherwise-empty Main Street. One kid, Jimmy, was amazingly agile and skilled. With a little bike he’d put together from pieces, he could do stunts other kids didn’t dare. Thing is, he did that with pedal power – personal energy – and it was awesome to witness. No one was in danger, except those who might attempt a stunt beyond their means. That night, nobody got hurt, and everyone was thrilled.  
I once hiked to the top of the Pyramid of the Pontiac, the rock heap at the former Hilton Mine. From that high vantage point, we could look down on a smaller hill, the repository for finer mine tailings. It was flat at the top, and had a large, unnaturally blue-green pond. People on motorbikes were zooming around. Maybe a place such as that could be opened up for those who like to rev up and take risks. But let’s not have it on the busy streets, with fast-moving traffic and slow-moving innocent pedestrians.

Robert Wills
SHAWVILLE/THORNE