By: Joe Parkin
Celebrating Halloween at a pump track behind Fox’s Watsonville, California factory? Why not? Bring the Sh*tbike and let the reigning pump track world champion, Mitch Ropelato, put the wood to it? Absolutely.
The Sh*tbike left Bike mag headquarters in two boxes but arrived safely, albeit a little late, after taking an unexpected UPS detour. With parts dangling and the countdown timer ticking off its final minutes, I brought this mess of a bike to The Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz for some professional love. The Sh*tbike really hasn’t had any tender loving care since taking a swim in the Pacific Ocean not too long ago, so a cable was replaced and its rear derailleur tuned. Truthfully, many other things probably should have been done to the Softride to make it completely safe, but there was no time. Once it was “good enough” I headed off to Watsonville for the festivities.
I made my way through the crowd, chaperoning the Sh*tbike to Fox’s pump track, where it was greeted with looks of confusion. Sooner or later, most of the riders big enough to sling a leg over it took at least one lap, and were equally mystified by the bouncy beam. Most, however, opted for just a lap or two, because as the event wore on laps were getting faster and the Sh*tbike was out of its element—if it ever had one.
And then there was a skid contest.
A skid contest? With bikes equipped with coaster brakes? That’s all I had to hear. As a child of the 70s, I have spent some time around coaster brakes, and a few years ago when Swobo introduced their coaster brake-equipped Folsom, I was brought back to my roots, burning through a rear tire or a few. I quickly signed up, borrowed a helmet and the game was on.
It seemed there were many worthy opponents in the crowd with more masterful bike-handling skills than mine—Mitch Ropelato and Cam McCaul being the most obvious—but it seems I have a knack for skidding, which is something that definitely never made me any money but got me through to a skid-off with Ropelato. And while the rising star of the gravity world would most likely win our next head-to-head skid competition, I got him on this one, winning 20 crisp Fox Bucks in the process.
Be sure to check our reviews of the latest and greatest from Fox Racing Shox (and their competitors) in January’s Bible of Bike Tests, Part 2.