Rides and Tales

Observations From Behind Bars

Riding on the Side

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Sitting in the shady patio of a Fredericksburg restaurant, Spider and I sipped cold ones and watched the t&a parade while our womenfolk carried their economic stimulus package
(read: credit cards) to the local shopkeepers. It’s a small town in a small world, though, and, directly, we were spotted and approached by Black Bob.

Now, Black Bob is neither “black”, nor “Bob”, but is, in fact one of those very fair people sometimes called a “glow-in-the-dark Anglo”. We already have a “Whitey”, though, and “Black Bob” just sounds better than “Black Ernest”.

“Long time”, sez I, “what’s shakin’ in the big city?”

Black Bob replied that he’d totaled his bike about eight months back and that at least part of the time since was spent recovering from a broken elbow and “3rd degree burns and miles of road rash.”

We allowed as how that sucked pretty bad and inquired as to the details.

“This dude in a truck turned in front of me.  I had the choice of T-boning him or laying her down. I laid her down.”

Wow, “laid her down”.

I searched my memory, certain I’d never been asked to perform “lay her down”, not back when I initially tested for my license nor 30 years later, when taking the Experienced Rider Course.

But then, youth took a toll on my powers of recall long before age did any ravaging; maybe I’d learned “lay her down” and then forgotten it, along with my ATM password and
Ol’ Dumb Wanda’s phone number.

I do remember at least part of a long-ago night when, in a similar circumstance, I stood on my little Honda’s drum brakes before T-boning a station wagon.
I got a broken arm, broken leg and my first new motorcycle out of it (no burns or road rash, though).

No new bike for Black Bob. He said that he’s too old for that, now, making me wonder just how hard he’d hit the truck (so I asked).

“Well, actually, I never hit him, I stopped sliding before then, but it was his fault. It’s lucky I laid her down”.

I stared at his back as he wandered off and wondered where he got the idea that the side of his motorcycle would stop him faster than its tires, and why he’d prefer sliding along beside (or possibly under) 700 lbs. of motorcycle, rather than sitting atop it.

Spider’s voice intruded on my thoughts, “The trick is to stay with the bike and bring it back up as you slide out from under the truck on the other side”.
Encouraged by my blank stare, he continued, “Do you remember that Cherokee gal who rode down from Virginia with me on my old Triumph?

I signaled the waitress.

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Written by fiddle mike

August 12, 2009 at 10:10 am

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