How Skid Got His Nickname

It was the spring of 1971.  I was 18, and had been working in the Pay Office at Inco Limited in Copper Cliff, Ontario for about five months.  One of my duties was to go out to our plants on Mondays and Tuesdays to hand out pay cheques to some of our 18,000 hourly rated employees.

The first weekend of May, I returned to my mother's home in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, about 180 miles to the west, to pick up my new 350cc Yamaha R5.  I had never ridden a motorcycle before, and with great care and caution I rode it back to Sudbury.

Monday afternoon, I left the office to go to the Iron Ore Recovery Plant, which was about two miles away.  Corporal Lloyd Walford of the Copper Cliff Police was to deliver the box of cheques to me at the plant gate.  I proceeded across the highway and down Power Street, a small paved road which went past the Copper Refinery to the IORP (this portion of the road no longer exists).  As I crested a hill, I unexpectedly found a stretch of gravel where they were building a road to our new Nickel Refinery.   With all of 300 miles total bike experience, I grabbed the brakes to slow down.   The front wheel locked and the bike went down.

I picked up the bike and found that twisted handlebars were the only damage.   Climbing on, I rode to the plant gate and picked up the box of cheques from Lloyd.   This is where they noticed the blood running down my hand.  It seems something sharp had punctured my jacket and my arm.  I was patched up in the first aid room, went briefly into shock, and then proceeded to complete my assigned task.  This episode made me Inco's first "on the job" motorcycle accident.

The next morning the Paymaster, Bob McInnes, greeted me as I came into the office with "Here comes Skid".  It probably would have ended here as a brief joke except for the Monday evening, two weeks later.

It was a quiet Monday evening at Lolas Restaurant in Copper Cliff, where I was hanging with some of the local teenagers.  A beautiful young lady named Linda wanted to know if I would take her for a ride.  We left Lolas and turned right on Serpentine Street, at which point we started up a hill.  Just to set the stage, at the top of the hill the road curved to the left.  On the right, halfway through the curve, was the entrance to one of the Inco employee parking lots.  Because there were so many employees at this time and the lot was full, people were forced to park along Serpentine.   As I leaned into the corner, the bike kicked back and my peripheral vision caught the sight of sparks from the left rear.  In my excitement to do the gorgeous Linda's bidding, I had forgotten to put the side stand up (no interlocks or ignition cutout devices like today).  As the bike went straight, I found myself looking at the chromed, jacked up rear end of a Plymouth Roadrunner.  Then I hit it.

The next morning the Paymaster, Bob McInnes, again greeted me as I came into the office, this time on crutches, with "Here comes Skid".   This time, they had six weeks as I hobbled around to get used to the name, and it has stuck with me for all these years.

Jim "Skid" Robinson

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