During a government shut down in 1995, 5 bikes road their mountain bikes down to the very bottom of the Grand Canyon.
The National Park service has a regulation banning the riding of bikes in certain national park wilderness areas.
One of these places is everything below the rim of the Grand Canyon, much to the dismay of mountain bikers.
When the federal government fails to reach a budget in time, everything non-essential is shut down.
The National Park Service falls under this, so when it happened in 1995, some were there to take advantage—or at least try.
On November 19th, five mountain bikers, now known as “The Sedona 5,” snuck their way over to the start of the 14-mile downhill slope to the bottom of the Canyon. They made it down after passing around a marijuana pipe and eating psychedelic mushrooms only minutes before taking off.
The five even got a helicopter ride back up the canyon—although it was a police helicopter on its way to a federal prison. The Canyon may have been shut down, but what they did was still illegal and there were people to see it.
For this, the five received folk-hero status among mountain bikers.
If you think a helicopter escort back up is a little bit extreme for five bikers riding in a prohibited area, you're probably right. But what the police were reacting to was a little more than that. The ranger in charge had called in the helicopter as backup.
They found 18 grams of marijuana and 15 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Plus two of the five turned up in the national law enforcement database with warrants for their arrest, although it was later found out that this was a case of mistaken identity.
The Sedona 5 weren’t the only ones to ride down the canyon during the closure, but their story and media attention has given them the fame they now have. What was their punishment? They made a plea bargain and only had to pay fines and forfeit their (expensive) bikes.