Editor’s note: This story first appeared in Dirt Rag issue #173, published in October 2013.
By Paul de Valera
Mountain biking is a province of firsts. Repurposing cruisers for dirt duty: a first. Bikes with suspension on the front and back (that work): a first. Hucking huge gaps: a first. Using your coaster brake to cook bacon: a first. What is that you say? Did I hear bacon? Yes, vegetarians need not read further, for this is a tale of the candy of meat: bacon.
How this started is, we have been organizing off-road races utilizing only the coaster brake for several years now in our hood of San Fernando Valley, California. Many of us in our bike club, the SCUMBAGS, have used these coaster-brake-challenge race bikes in place of our regular bikes for some time, tackling the trails that we rode our “normal” bikes on. You could call it retro or paying homage, or being fed up with the next new thing that we have to have, but coaster brake riding is also just fun.
On one of these fun rides we went down a long descent. At the bottom my coaster brake hub was smoking, and we poured some water on it, which evaporated upon contact. One of our more enterprising members (he rides a Huffy with Yeti stickers on it) exclaimed, “That hub is so hot, you could cook bacon on it!” A capital idea.
Months went by and the idea stayed with me. One night before a ride I went and got some bacon, wrapped it in tinfoil, and then used electrical tape to hold it to my coaster brake hub. We did a four-mile climb with about 2,700 feet of gain. On the way down, I rode the brakes to create more heat. As my friends passed me they shouted, “I can smell bacon!” It was working!
Once we got to the bottom, we saw the smoke scrolling off the hub and could hear that wonderful sound of bacon cooking. My back rim was covered in bacon grease. Upon unwrapping it, we saw that the bacon closest to the hub was charred black and then went from crisp to cooked to raw where it overlapped. Much celebration was in order, and then I ate the bacon. I went off that day feeling accomplished. In a world where people are always telling you that it has all been done before, we once again have a first.
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