Steep hills something to be conquered by boys on wheels

"WHO would be crazy enough to skateboard down that hill?" muttered Long Suffering Wife after reading about a recent accident.

In the corner, I slowly put my hand up.

As a boy, I conquered numerous hills around Gladstone, in spite of having large sections of my skin removed by gravel-coated cheese graters.

But my personal nemesis was the Kauri Dr hill in Kin Kora.

We saw it being built and one afternoon, while watching an out-of-control grader sliding sideways down it, I thought, "Oh yes!"

The bitumen was still cooling when my brother, his mate and I clambered to the top with our skateboards and peered down.

My memory is a little vague but I'm sure there were eagles gliding through the clouds below.

Anyway, after a horrifically fast ride and lengthy recuperation, I decided that what I needed was a lower centre of gravity - and brakes.

Months later we dragged our home-built timber go-kart to the precipice, where I put on my new rubber thongs and an ice-cream container helmet. Safety first.

Moments later I was in more trouble than a slow pedestrian crossing Philip St.

Slamming my thongs into the tarmac, I yelped as they vanished in a puff of smoke, then screamed as I vaulted over the gutter.

Sadly, I wasn't lucky enough to be knocked unconscious.

Through the fog of pain I saw my brother and his mate race up, take one look, then run away again.

In my delirium I thought they'd gone for help. Nope.

Crawling home for another date with the scrubbing brush and disinfectant, I decided my time as a downhill test pilot was over.

Gladstone's boys will continue seeking high-hill thrills, and obviously we can't stop them, but hopefully they'll have the brains to strap a better class of ice-cream container onto their heads.