Embarrassing Moments from Pinkbike, Volume 2 - Sunday Comics with Taj Mihelich

Mar 26, 2021 at 14:21
by Taj Mihelich  
Here is a second batch of embarrassing moments I've collected from the Pinkbike staff.

For your entertainment (hopefully), Mike Kazimer, Mike Levy, Jason Lucas, Sarah Moore, and Dan Sapp shared some unfortunate memories that you are allowed to laugh at.




Brake Lever Roulette

"Something clearly wasn't right..."

bigquotesI built up a brand new test bike and headed out for a ride. After a long fire road climb I dropped into the descent, only to have my front wheel wash out unexpectedly a few hundred yards later. The trail was really steep, so I thought maybe it was the tire's fault, maybe a crappy compound or something. I kept descending, and then it happened again. It felt like I had no traction at all - something clearly wasn't right...

And then it hit me - the bike had come from the UK, and the brakes were backwards - front brake on the right, rear brake on the left. I swear I'd checked them when I assembled it, but obviously not.

A little trail side swapping and everything went back to normal, but it was pretty embarrassing needing to tell my buddies "Hang on, I'm an idiot and my brake levers are on the wrong sides."
Mike Kazimer





Multi-Contusion Multi-Tool


There was a time when I could hop up and down in one place on only my rear tire and for basically as long as I wanted.

bigquotesHave you ever been nearly crippled by a multi-tool? Five ago, my trusty (and very rusty) Park multi-tool tried to do exactly that, leaving me with a spot on my lower back that's still sore and misshapen five years later. I'll explain...

I've had this multi-tool for around twenty years now, and while there are much lighter, smaller, and better-integrated tools out there, this little brick of steel and aluminum has saved my ass so many times that I can't bear to get rid of it. Thinking back, there hasn't been a single ride over the last two decades when it hasn't been in my bib pocket where it (usually) goes completely unnoticed until I need it. That's where it was when a few buddies and myself were getting ready to start the climb from our local trailhead. But someone was late, of course, so I was practicing my ever-important goofing off skills, as one does.

There was a time when I could hop up and down in one place on only my rear tire and for basically as long as I wanted. You know what I'm talking about; those skills that eventually disappear because you turn into an adult and think you shouldn't spend all your time f*cking around on a bicycle. So there I was, hopping in one spot on my rear wheel like Hans Rey in the middle of a gravel parking lot with ten or fifteen strangers in various states of getting ready. With my front wheel up high. And my pedals very, very tight... I think you know where this is going.

The first thing that hit the ground was the big block of steel and aluminum in my bib pocket, feet locked into my pedals and hands still on the grips. You know when something hurts so bad that you unconsciously run around in circles? I was in sobbing agony on my way to the hospital, then spent the next three weeks sleeping on my stomach, typing on my stomach, eating on my stomach, and there's still a hard mass of something under my skin from when I landed on my trusty multi-tool.

Still not gonna get rid of it, though.
Mike Levy





Scarred For Life

"I laid on the bank for a good 5 minutes trying not to cry, and watching those girls walk away laughing."

bigquotesAside from the small embarrassing moments that happen every time I walk out the door there is one that still haunts me to this day.

Way back when I was 10 years old me and my friends would hang around at our school well after everyone had gone home. The reason being our school had a bunch of cool-to-us “street spots” for riding our bikes on. We had skinnies, 4-5 ft drops to flat and even a couple of banks to practice our abubacas and fufunafus.

One day we were sitting at the top of the bank chatting about whatever 10 year olds chat about and 3-4 girls strolled by. Eager to show them just how rad I was I yelled “dropping in!” and threw a sick wheelie going down the bank. Well, it would’ve been sick if I hadn’t almost immediately looped out straight to my back causing all the air to rush out of my lungs. I laid on the bank for a good 5 minutes trying to catch my breath, trying not to cry, and watching those girls walk away laughing through tear-filled eyes.

Since then I’ve never wheelied down a bank again.
Jason Lucas





Ended By End Caps

Don't leave us!

bigquotesNovember 2013. My boyfriend of a couple months and I had planned a weekend trip from Quebec to Highland Mountain Bike Park in New Hampshire. We’d been there together once before and had a great time and so we wanted to fit in one more bike park trip before the snow fell.

I’d borrowed a 2014 Specialized Stumpjumper Evo 29 from work the first time we went down and my partner said that he’d like to try the Stumpjumper Evo 27.5 this time around.

Friday afternoon came around and I packed the two Stumpjumpers into my 2003 Subaru Forester. I figured the inside was pretty much the size of a van so I saw no need to invest in a bike rack. Then we transferred the bikes over to my partners much more-reliable 2010 Toyota Matrix for the five hour drive south, leaving the wheels in the trunk and putting the bikes on the fork-mounted roof rack.

We stayed in a crummy motel on Friday night and woke up early, excited to ride, on Saturday. We arrived at Highland and proceeded to put on our ride gear before taking the demo bikes off the roof and grabbing our front wheels out of the trunk of the car.

But the wheels didn’t fit properly. Somehow, I’d misplaced the end caps. We called a couple of shops to try and get some, but the bikes weren’t even in stores yet so no local shops had any.

Having ruined both of our weekend ride plans, we cancelled our second night at the hotel and got ready for the five-hour return drive.

To further embarrass me, a colleague of mine at Specialized Canada had texted me a photo Friday evening with a picture of the two wheel end caps where he found them sitting in the parking lot at the office when he left Friday evening. They had fallen out before I even transferred them to my car but I hadn’t got the memo since I’d turned my phone off as soon as we crossed the border. The “how was your weekend riding trip?” questions on Monday were loaded.
Sarah Moore





If a Bear Can Do It, Why Can't I?

"Tommy encouraged me to just deal with it up in the woods."

bigquotesParking lots in Pisgah these days make it hard to remember the simple times not so long ago, somewhere between elastomer forks and the creation of down country, when it used to be relatively rare to see other riders in the forest. If you didn’t stop and say hello because it was a friend of yours; it was as certainly nice to stop and say hello, and welcome a stranger to the unmarked territory. One splitter Memorial Day weekend, my good friend Tommy and I set out to ride Avery Creek—a longer journey suitable for a full camelback of snacks and more than a bottle of water.

It was a beautiful day; the forest was just waking up from a long winter slumber, birds were chirping and squirrels were running along the trails before us. The forest, though unpopulated by today’s standards, was seeing a healthy bump in vacationers for the long weekend. As we came to a poorly marked intersection, we met two strangers, with bikes and kits that made it look like it might be their first time riding in Pisgah. Knowing the twists and turns of Pisgah well, and easily spotting someone who was lost, I politely offered some advice to supplement the map they were arguing over, and asked the two ladies if they needed any help finding their way, as I would anyone. A response of—“we’re fine, thanks”—in a more than stern voice let us know we should mosey along. Ok, then, have a nice ride!

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I've had some GI issues for years (turns out I have Celiac and a lot of food allergies) This, at times, led to unexpected trail side stops before I learned how to manage it. Midway up the hour long climb, things weren't right. At the top of the climb, at an intersection that has 5 options, one of which leads to a dead-end, I said to Tommy “man, I gotta get down as soon as possible”. There was still climbing left for us and riding more wasn't going to result in success for me. Not wanting to waste the hour-long gravel climb, Tommy encouraged me to just deal with it up in the woods...not ideal but, he had a point. Knowing nobody in their right mind would continue on the gravel road, which quickly dead ends, I scooted up the road out of sight and sortof into the woods, telling Tommy to keep an eye out while I sorted out my intestinal distress.

As I was told, a few minutes later after Tommy had a quick and more normal bathroom break of his own, our two "friends" from eariler finished out their climb. Tommy said, "Hi"—they grunted a non-response, then to his surprise passed him, passed the first trail option, the second…the third…and onto the dead end gravel road. Frantically, he called out “Hey!, That’s the wrong way!”, trying to deter them from seeing something they didn’t want. “We told you earlier, WE’VE GOT IT”, they barked back. He said he felt bad for abandoning his watch on my behalf, but at that point, he no longer felt bad for failing to prevent their day from being ruined. (I'm still not completely convinced he tried that hard to deter them.)

Let's be real, XC shoes and bibs never made anyone look good while using the woods on a cool spring day, or any day for that matter. I had more or less finished up my business but, being I was wearing bibs, I was virtually naked. Now, I wasn't in the middle of the "road" but, I wasn't really all that far off to the side either. It was more or less a field and the edges were full of briars and too thick to get much more out of the way. No one comes up here anyways, right?

Lo and behold, I heard talking and then I see the two ladies headed up towards me as I'm there crouched on the ground, bibs at ankles, the rest of my clothing ten feet away. I did some sort of a panicked crab walk stumble, running to try to hide and get covered up, wondering if I should yell something about them going the wrong way or just try to hide. They turned around...it was all a blur to me, really. and by the time I got dressed, waited a bit to make sure they were gone up the trail, and headed back down to Tommy, I had convinced myself they just realized they were going the wrong way and headed back down and up the trail.

Come to find out, the ladies had pinned it straight back through the intersection and down the gravel climb we’d all just battled with for over an hour. Tommy tried to shout out “sorry, I tried to tell you it was a dead-end”, but I think it fell on deaf ears. They apparently slowed just enough to yell, “you didn’t tell us your BROTHER was up there” which answered my question as to if they had noticed me.
Dan Sapp



79 Comments

  • 170 46
 I think you mean the brakes were on the correct way round.
  • 16 1
 Same same, but different.
  • 35 1
 @mcozzy, well yeah, for you. Not so much for me...
  • 31 29
 Bloody oath! Brakes should be exactly as on motorbikes. Right hand/front, left hand rear!
  • 35 7
 @stavros81:For sure ebikes should have them same as motorbikes Wink
  • 36 0
 @stavros81: last time I checked the rear brake on a motorcycle was used by your right foot not hand so how can you ever make it the same lol
  • 2 2
 @mhoshal: if you’re sliding the rear and around a corner guess what your left hand is doing on a motorcycle
  • 2 1
 @mhoshal: a scooter is also a motorcycle, and brakes are moto style. As a kid I remember that bicycles here in Greece used to have moto style brakes. And then they changed them for whatever reason. Well Im riding a scooter and I guess Im used to the UK setup
  • 21 33
flag conoat (Mar 28, 2021 at 14:21) (Below Threshold)
 no. that's backwards.

I couldn't be more tired of Brits telling people they are doing shit wrong(metric vs imperial system, bike brakes, whatever) when, it's one of the last countries(and it's hangover colonies) on the f*cking planet that still drives on the WRONG side of the road!

stop smugging over bullshit. ffs
  • 27 9
 @conoat: No, it's just different. As an American what are your thoughts about the US being one of the last f*cking countries on the planet still using imperial. I guess that's somehow different huh?

stop smugging over bullshit. ffs
  • 5 0
 @stavros81: ah hah!
Always thought my rear brake was the foot pedal on the right side of my motorcycle.....
  • 7 5
 If the front brakes not on the right hand side it's on the wrong hand side.
  • 8 10
 @commental: that's my point, genius. almost every country has some backwards shit. The UK? driving on the stupid side of the road, and basically the entirety of the local cuisine. lol. f*cking mushy peas? it's like food developed for people that think orange juice is spicy.
  • 10 2
 @conoat: But if we drove on the right then all the signs would be backwards, you silly sausage
  • 1 0
 @mhoshal: Coaster brake?
  • 2 0
 @conoat: "Best we stop in for a litre of petrol, I believe there is a station about a mile down the road" UK and Canada have kind of adopted whatever system works best for a particular situation.
At least you got rid of shillings; that made NO sense.
  • 1 7
flag conoat (Mar 30, 2021 at 1:28) (Below Threshold)
 @johnnyboy11000: you soggy waffle.

see how unfunny/unoriginal/not intelligent it is to think putting random adjective+random noun=hilarious insult, is? what are you, 14?
  • 1 0
 @conoat: It would normally baffle me how someone can get so wound up from a comic but it’s been a weird year !
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: if brakes were something that you could decide on your own instead of something that you got used to and cant be bothered to change, which way would you go? Just ask yourself which brake do I care to have more sensitivity thus better control, my answer is front brake, so that goes on my writing hand
  • 1 0
 @Carolos, same, and I’m left handed.
  • 94 0
 If you are ever lost in the woods, drop your pants and start going to the bathroom (even if you don't have to) certainly someone will come around the corner and you can ask them for directions.
  • 4 0
 Dookie’s Law
  • 40 3
 Disappointed that the specialized status review didn't make the list
  • 3 0
 Link?
  • 4 0
 @Pa-ul: It's dead now, was up for a few hours, I commented on it, but you can't get back to the article now. I think it may be as people pointed out that they had a Status 140 which they thought was a Status 160
  • 1 0
 Ahhh thanks anyway @melonhead1145:
  • 39 8
 I understand that you work at Specialized but you should have just rented bikes at Highland and still had a great time. Their rental fleet is very solid.
  • 4 1
 After losing my endcaps a few times - I put a dab of silicone glue on the outside of the retaining ring (be careful not to get in/on bearing) - they no longer pop off or fall out when takin or putting on the wheel.
  • 3 39
flag barbarosza (Mar 28, 2021 at 6:27) (Below Threshold)
 I like how you burned her ! ha ha ha so good
  • 9 7
 yes, but if you work in a shop you wouldn't have to pay to take the bikes. from a financial standpoint, it was logical.
  • 5 10
flag ipreferdirt (Mar 28, 2021 at 8:32) (Below Threshold)
 @CamLamson: you don't understand the meaning of the word "logical"
  • 7 2
 @ipreferdirt: (eye roll) I guess I used it wrong but I have a point. you can't deny that.
  • 8 4
 @CamLamson: what do you think about all the money they already spent getting to their destination?
  • 11 1
 @ipreferdirt For sure, but for some (underpaid industry people) coughing up a couple hundred dollars for rental bikes just isn't a possiblity.
  • 2 7
flag ipreferdirt (Mar 28, 2021 at 12:51) (Below Threshold)
 @50percentsure: we're talking about these specific people in this specific situation
  • 7 0
 @ipreferdirt: Drove a Matrix (the upgrade car) 500 miles, stayed in a crummy motel...possible that an unexpected couple hundred dollars was a hurdle.

Been there.
  • 2 1
 Everyone's vision is 20/20 after the story is over. Good job at proving this point
  • 6 0
 @50percentsure: Sitting here looking at my zillion dollar plastic wonder bike remembering a time when $200 was my budget for an entire bike.
  • 15 0
 I’m going to assume the unsigned second story (at the time of this comment) is Levy?

Only he would be so stubborn to keep the tetanus brick that nearly ended him Smile

I guess the mini gives it away.
  • 4 0
 pretty sure levy has mentioned the same incident in a podcast Big Grin
  • 12 0
 A few years ago a friend asked me to show him around my home trails, which are located ~15 km away from my house. He was driving from his home city (90 km away), then he would pick me up at home and then we would spend the whole day riding, until dusk. We headed for the car, loaded our bikes, he left me at home and headed back to his own place. I picked up my backpack, helmet and riding shoes, threw them in my place, and started assembling the wheels on my bike. When I tried to fit the front one, I couldn't find the thru-axle. I texted my friend, who was already at the highway, and asked to take a look inside his car, to see if I had forgotten the axle in there. Tough luck, the answer was no.

So I grabbed my wallet, phone and my house keys, and proceeded to take the bus, a train, and then run to the trailhead with a flashlight, then carefully look around until I found the darn thru axle. I ended up retuning home at 11 PM, still on my dirty riding clothes, feeling cold and miserable.

I learned my lesson the bad way. Nowadays, whenever a wheel comes off the bike, the thru axles are instantly put back in the frame/fork.
  • 14 4
 My fishing buddy deals with IBS.

Some people don’t understand ice fishing etiquette about space. Others choose to jump right on an abandoned ice hole as if it may be holding golden fish.

Those people sometimes get a nasty surprise when my buddy is having a bad tummy day Smile
  • 7 0
 Brown trout? Big Grin
  • 12 0
 Crapping straight in the water, what century are you living in?
  • 3 0
 @dsut4392: Not only that, but eating fish out of that same body of water!
  • 2 1
 @dsut4392: on the ice dude.

We’re usually a fair hike from shore. IBS doesn’t exactly allow for the luxury of making it to land or packing out for that matter.
  • 2 0
 @pourquois-pas: "On the ice" makes it easier and cleaner to pack it out. Has been my SOP whenever it can't be buried adequately away from water sources for decades.
If we can manage for a 9-day rafting trip in 20-35 Celsius, or on overnight caving trips, surely you can do it in sub-zero? With all the other stuff you're carrying in for ice fishing, packing your crap out is hardly going to make much difference. Do it in a baggie and leave it to freeze, how hard is that?
  • 2 1
 @pourquois-pas: If your activity forces you to poop into a waterway, then choose another activity. Or just plan better. Couldn't you use a bucket?
  • 3 2
 @dsut4392: thanks for the advice. I’ll let my buddy know that just because on occasion his IBS acts up he should quit all outdoor activities because maybe once every year or two he has an uncontrollable bout of explosive liquid diarrhea. Or that he should be trying to hold a bag to his ass whilst also configuring himself to not spray liquid sh!t on his clothing/boots amidst incredible discomfort. I suppose yes we could use the shovel, scrape it all into a pile on bare ice as it freezes as one would make scrambled eggs and then carry it out. But the incremental impact of this, given the frequency and size of waterways you have to give your collective heads a shake.

Continuously piping raw sewage into waterways cannot be naturally processed without affecting the waterway and pollutes the environment. One crap on a 744kmsq lake? 0 impact.
  • 3 0
 @pourquois-pas: dude, just stop with the BS.

If your buddy has IBS he knows all to well that he might need to go at any time, and goddamn right he should be prepared to deal with it. If that means carrying a couple of plastic bags and some TP when he's ice fishing, that's hardly a big deal. I'm not saying he needs to stop any of the activities he's doing, I just don't think it a free pass to shit in the water.
  • 1 1
 @dsut4392: way to ruin a funny anecdote Mr Fun Police. 3x in the 15yrs Ive known the guy. We always have supplies. We pack out the TP or a regular movement. But those 3x, since you seem so overly concerned, we’re matters of barely getting the pants down in time (full floater suits) and explosive liquid sh!t on bare ice in sub zero temps.

Ever hear the phrase sh!t happens?

Sounds like you could use a good dump and loosen up a bit man.
  • 3 0
 I like all the shitty judginess coming from this comment.
  • 10 1
 Dan's situation was really shitty
  • 7 0
 What a crap experience.
  • 7 0
 I bet he wishes that sh*t never happened
  • 2 0
 That was literally a shitshow!
  • 4 0
 Not so much embarassing than stupid : Back in the days when we were riding with bar ends, aka "horns", my buddy in front of me was slightly on the left of the road (a small road with no line or whatever in the middle) and with headphones. I started to pass on his right when he moved to the right. Our bar ends got entangled, we felt like we were about to die for a few seconds as we couldn't do anything, then we fell to the right, so there was the ground, me, my bike, and my buddy and his bike. Result : I bruised one keen, two elbows, two hands, and nose bleeding.
  • 4 0
 Taj,

Your illustration skills are pretty awesome. Unlike my bike skills-you have really evolved. Levy's Mini- looks like you drew over a silhouette(if you did- it looks awesome- if you didn't it looks even better) Of course as you know, if you did Levy's face that closely it would of been a bit spooky. I also read Forester before the car she took changed and I realized that you did a blue Matrix that really looks like a Matrix. I am being serious here-you should offer your services to have people send you a trailside picture and have you do an illustration. Of course for a fee. Or we all send in a favorite, you pick from the most interesting ones, and then we all vote on the best. Like photo of the year. Regardless, your artwork is appreciated.
  • 7 0
 we need an evergreen meme
  • 4 0
 @dansapp discovering I have Celiac Disease has been a true life changer. I also had many instances similar to yours. 3 year free from having to rush behind a tree abs improvise with some leafs.
  • 3 0
 Life-changing indeed.
  • 7 0
 A blisteringly accurate depiction of the average Pisgah tourist
  • 3 0
 Surprised they didn't think the reversed brakes were just a really bad case of that elusive wandering bite-point.

"Built up a brand new test bike"

How much build up is there if the brakes are already attached to the bars? Taking a mostly assembled bike out of the shipping box and installing the bars in the stem and the wheels in the frame isn't usually considered "building up a bike".
  • 4 0
 this one time, at band camp.... just kidding. Taj is gonna have to commit to a drawing before I share my good ones Smile
  • 1 0
 @MikeLevy - man, it’s ok, you can cut the cord. Put it up on your mantle, and admire it.

Perhaps it’s like a relationship that’s gone on far too long, and is damaging and painful. You need a rebound multitool, one that’s newer and lighter and more exciting to slip into your bibs. That old one, well...it’ll be a distant memory in no time.
  • 1 0
 Love the "If a Bear Can Do It, Why Can't I?" one. Seems to always be the case that when the need to pee, or worse, hits you while on the trail, there is no one in ear shot until you are under way with taking care of business then you suddenly have to expedite in fear that you might expose yourself to trail passerby that moments earlier was seemingly nonexistent but now is very much present. More often than not it's not just a single rider either, but rather a huge group.
  • 2 2
 Here's one for ya Taj! My first "mtn bike" was a Walgoose hardtail with no suspension. It was one of those with the old style cheap ass seat clamps that barely held a seat level. It was a boat anchor but we all start somewhere.

So I'm riding along a local trail when I come to a small drop of about 2 ft or less. I land it and the seat breaks loose. My boys take a hit and I crash into a thron bush. I laid there in serious pain for a while not caring about the thorns poking and cutting me. Eventually I extricated myself from the death claw bush and hobbled the mile or so back to the car. Soon after I got a nice Cannondale Caffiene frame and rode that until my current bike.
  • 2 0
 If there was a picture depicting every successive climb I do, that's usually my most embarrassing moment. But I just got a road bike, so someone hold my beer.
  • 2 0
 I've been caught pooping in the woods while camping.. it was a good laugh... the laughed more though Frown
  • 1 1
 There is an upside to falling in front of a bunch of girls . the ones that laugh are the ones you NEVER want to date and the one that rushes to your aid maybe your future wife.
  • 3 6
 Why would it matter of those bikes weren't out yet? Hub end caps aren't bike specific, they're hub specific, and Spesh\Roval has been using DT Swiss (or Formula if for some reason they didn't send you a high-end build) for a while. Surely someone had DT end caps, even if the bikes were previews...
  • 11 0
 2014 Stumpy has 142+ rear hub and a 2mm shorter drive side endcap. In this case it is bike specific.
  • 8 0
 I've got a bottom drawer piled up with different incompatible oddball end caps from over the years.

But really, why doubt their story? They called the shops, they're industry people that know their business, it happened.

Besides, off season MTB shops outside of a major city, it's like the big winter blowout sale from Frozen... They'll have one rim brake set from 1985 and a 26" tube in stock. lol
  • 2 1
 @mobiller: Not doubting the story, I understand they couldn't find them, just not the explanation of why, and saddened it wasn't a story of making it happen.

If it had already cost me 10 hours of drive time and a hotel room, I would have just bought new front wheels (or wheel singular? Not sure if both bikes were missing caps, since they mentioned only 2 caps in the parking lot. 1 from each wheel, or one wheel with 2 missing?). As you said, "they're industry people", so should have been easy to sell or find a use for a front wheel that was only used twice.

Also, "they're industry people" that lost some end-caps, so not confidence inspiring that would have helped find end-caps...
  • 2 1
 @jeremiahwas: Not on the _front_ wheel...

And it's still hub specific. 142+ uses the same axle and frame dimensions, just with a wider hub shell that moves the cassette slightly outboard. So any 142 hub will fit in a "142+ frame", only need to adjust the rear mech.

And only the drive-side end cap is different on 142+. Even if they did somehow lose the rear drive-side end cap, after driving 5 hours, renting a hotel room, and now staring at 5 more hours of driving, with no biking at the bike park, I would have at least tried to find a normal (DT Swiss compatible) 142 drive side end cap and cut it down and make that shit work.
  • 1 0
 More multi-tools should have sporks.
  • 5 4
 Too many words.

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