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THE GREATEST MOTORCYCLE STORY EVER TOLD

By RICK SIEMAN

THE GREATEST MOTORCYCLE STORY EVER TOLD OR … A DO-IT-YOURSELF, FILL-IN-THE-PROPER-SPACE SAGA

BY RICK SIEMAN

2 - Original From The Saddle column photo.jpg

(Notes: This story came about in the most natural way possible. It seemed like every time we stopped for gas on our way to the races, some old codger would start bending our ears with one far fetched story or another. So this is more or less a compilation of many, many years of accumulated bullshit.)


If you've ever ridden a motor­cycle more than 20 miles, chances are that someone has buttonholed you and assailed you with one ver­sion or another of THE STORY:

Hi there, young fella. Filler up with high test? Say, that's a fine looking bike you got there. What is it, a (pick one of the following)

(a) Harley

(b) An Indian

(c) Hon­da?

What's that, you say; it's a 400 Husky? One of them there new Jap bikes, eh? No? A Swede bike? Didn't know them guys made bikes. Always knew they made great watches, though. How fast will she do? About 80! Is that all?

Shoot, I had me a (pick one of the follow­ing)

(a) Harley 74

(b) Old Indian, that would do a hunnert miles an hour in second gear.

When I used to hit third gear, that old front end would lift right up in the air and scare hell out of me. Now that was a motorcycle. Yours only does 80 you say?

Oh, you don't ride it on the street, huh? Race it out in the desert and such. Looks, sorta skimpy, doesn't it? What's she weigh in at? Two hunnert and forty pounds! Hells-fire, man, you gotta have some weight under you if you wanna go fast. My old bike came in around 700 pounds or so. Keeps the wheels on the ground real good. Sorta like a Caddy, and you know how good those things ride. Yep, you wanta go fast you oughta go get a good sized bike that'll go where you point her.

Whattsat, you don't want the gas in your tank? Whattsa matter, does it leak or something? Five gallons exactly in that red can? Sure thing.

Say, what's that stuff you're pouring in there, Motor Honey or Wynn's Friction Proofing? Oil? I got some real good stuff in the showroom that'll clean your carb and add about 30 or 40 horsepower at the same time. It's called Magic Power Whiz Additive and it goes for two bucks a can.

Not interested, huh? All I can say is you're passing up a good thing. Kid down the block had a Honda and put some in and now he can do a hunnert an' forty. Told me so himself.

How'd you come by that ding in the tank? Really? Off a cliff, huh? No kiddin'? Six hunnert feet straight down into a volcano? Are you puttin' me on or something? That ain't nothin'.

I remember back in ‘39, I was going down this here dirt road with my frien' Billy Joe Furzall and we were both drunker than stink, when all of a sudden this big god­damn (pick one of the following)

(a) semi

(b) bread truck

(c) truck

(d) train

(e) coal truck

(f) cement truck

… pulled right out in front of us. We were hittin' about a hunnert and forty at the time, so there was jest no sense in hittin' the brakes. Well, I just (pick one of the following)

(a) laid her down

(b) gassed it real hard

(c) tried to dodge it

(d) hit a patch of gravel and spilled, and slid right underneath that truck (train, etc.), just spinning around like a top.

Hell, no sooner did I clear that damn thing than I went sailing offa this here 722-foot cliff. I mean straight down, man, with granite boulders at the bottom point­ing right up.

About this time, Billy Joe sobers up and sez to me, “What inna hell is goin' on, Stanwood?”

I just told him to hang on tight, ‘cause the worst was comin' up. Well, sir, as luck would have it, just before we hit the bottom, I spotted (pick one of the following)

(a) a two by four laying at just the right angle

(b) a buncha soft brush

(c) a pile of soft sand

… and aimed right for it. Man, we hit that two by four (brush, etc.) and damn near flattened both tires. Anyways, we finally got that damn­ed sickle stopped and got off and shook a while.

Billy Joe broke out a flask of old Thundergut to calm us down a tad, and we both had a taste or two. Well, anyways, Billy Joe says that HE was gonna do the drivin' on the way back, ‘cause he didn't trust me anymore.

After lookin' around, we discovered that there was no way out of this canyon except the way we had come down, and that looked like a right tough hill climb.

I climbed on behind Billy Joe and we made about two or three tries up that hill, but just couldn't make it. So guess what we did?

Can't guess, huh? Well, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret that you might be able to use someday, sonny. My rear tire had about 28 pounds of air in it and I just lowered her to about 20 pounds and we got all the traction we needed to scoot right on over the top, in third gear yet. Now there's a trick these young kids prob­ably never heard of.

Whattsat? Say you're in sort of a hurry? Lemme get your change. Lessee, Dollar thir­ty-five outta five.

Say, I never did tell you what hap­pened on the way home with Billy Joe. Don't be in such an all-fired rush, young fella, you might learn a thing or two.

Anyways, after we climbed out of that canyon, we de­cided to head straight for home. ‘Bout 6 miles down the road, that goddamn bike flat run out of gas. So here we was, twenny miles from home with no gas. Then Billy Joe got an idea.

We waited at the top of this hill till a big truck came by, then coasted down the hill and got up right behind the truck and Billy Joe hooked his foot on the tailgate and we just let that old truck pull us right along.

Everything worked out just fine till that truck turned north on old Route 61, and we tried to go east on Beaverwallet Road. Turned out that Billy Joe had got his shoelace tangled tight in a tail gate bolt and couldn't get her loose.

Talk about scared! Like to tore his damn foot off. Well, we started yellin' and screaming for that damn fool truck driver to stop and turn us loose, but he had his radio goin' and couldn't hear us no way at all.

So Billy Joe says to me, “Stanwood, hang on tight, ‘cause we got a ride ahead of us. Hope he takes it easy on the bumps; that's the ankle I busted back two years ago.”

Any-ways, that truck didn't stop or even slow for 16 hours straight. It's a good thing we had that little 2-quart flask of old Thundergut along to quench our thirst, or we might of died of de-hydrationing, or some­thing like that.

Turns out that that empty flask saved our life, believe it or not. When Billy Joe finished off the last swig, he threw the flask at the truck and bounced it off the hood. The driver stopped to see whatinahell was happening and I jumped off and got Billy Joe's shoe loose.

It was all scuffed up! What a rotten thing to happen to a good pair of 8-dollar shoes.

‘Bout this time the truck roared off leaving us stranded in the middle of Utah, with no gas. Lemme tell you what happened next. This, girl came down the road and stopped to see what was the matter, and she had the biggest … oh, do you have to run off before you hear the end of the story?

Shucks, that's too bad, ‘cause the interesting stuff happened on the way home. Hey, wait a minute, here's your change, young fella. Hmmmph. Went off and left his change and his Blue Chip stamps, too. Them young hot­heads got no sense nowadays.