Monday, December 7, 2009

A Lost Holiday Weekend...

There are few things in life that create the aura of wild anticipation like a mild weather forecast for a long holiday weekend — especially when an individual (of such shallow emotions such as myself) is only required to put in a single day’s attendance during this period to satisfy family obligations. The evening before this past Thanksgiving found me sitting bolt upright in my comfy chair as the weather stooge on NBC began chanting a litany of near impossible temperatures for the 72 hours following the holiday. Except for Thanksgiving Day (which was rainy and murky here in southeastern Pennsylvania), we were looking at partly sunny, or absolutely sunny days with highs in the 60’s (f). Perfect riding weather! Granted the mornings would start off cool enough, like in the low 40’s (f), but a passing chill of this nature is nothing to a BMW rider.

Getting a string of pleasant riding days like this, so late in November, is rare in these parts and I began to make my plans accordingly. On Friday, I would straddle “Fireballs,” my 1995 K75 BMW, and head out through Amish country. This would be a solo run as my usual partner in crime, Dick Bregstein, had his kids in town for the holiday and he was busy pretending to have a good time without riding his motorcycle. On Saturday, I would join the elite company of family and friends over at Jim Ellenberg’s, where it was rumored that the world’s fastest man on two wheels -- again -- would be making a special presentation to me. It would be fun to ride “Fireballs” right up to the grill where the host would be baking homemade pizzas.

Sunday would be special too. It was the date of the world’s slowest motorcycle race, the Turkey Pro National, held at a semi–secret location up by Macungie, Pa. This event routinely attracts some of the finest classic and vintage motorcycles (many restored), and riders from all over, who compete for the slowest time on a hillside of wet grass, where instant disqualification occurs if a rider drops his feet. The event is highlighted by the aroma of burgers, dogs, hot chili and the engine oil of Beesas, Triumphs, and Nortons. The day’s festivities would begin with donuts and coffee at the lair of Chris Jaccarino, a close friend and a Mac Pac member.

So it was with a gleam in my eye and a song in my heart that I danced through the Thanksgiving festivities, knowing that I’d have three days of motorcycle enlightenment to burn off the feast. And what a feast it was! Stiffie (Leslie) roasted a “brine” turkey that was as moist as a mountain mist, yet which sent the heady aroma of exotic spices wafting through the house. The table was straight from the set of a Martha Stewart holiday special, and a tribute to Leslie’s artistic eye, and that of our close friend Monica McDowell, whose family joined us for the occasion.

Dawn knocked politely on the bedroom window, then again more insistently when I ignored it. The same fate that dealt me two former wives instead of winning lottery tickets had struck again. In the brief span of a few nocturnal hours, I had acquired the symptoms of bubonic plague. These included a headache, a grayish cast to my flesh, and a tendency to break out in pustules while rotting on the street. There would be no taunting the Amish for me on Black Friday. My bike sat patiently feeding on the battery charger in the garage.

Leslie (Stiffie) is a practitioner of ancient healing methods advocated by the Navajo Indians of the deep west. She dragged me out to the yard, where a weak fire smoldered sadly on two or three sticks of damp wood. The idea is that the night spirit of the wolf would either take me in the dark, or that I’d recover. I’d been out there about ten hours when I poked my head in through the doggie door to sip some beef broth from the German Shepherd’s saucer. The love of my life determined I was recovered enough to return to the house.

(Above) A picture taken of Robert McGee in 1890. He had been scalped by Indians as a child. Similar holistic "healing" approaches are often suggested to me. Photo from internet archives.

All that remained of my illness on Saturday was a headache of epic proportions. Had my head been x-rayed that day, the films would have revealed two massive fronts—like the most perfect storm— coming together in my cranium. Imagine thoughts and intentions, clinging to a small raft in my head, waiting to be saved. I tried hot compresses, powerful pain-relieving medicine, and coffee strong enough to get tattooed. The pain subsided to the kind of dull throbbing associated with a kick in the balls, and I felt well enough to attend Jim Ellenberg’s event, but in the truck not on the bike.

Ellenberg holds these little gatherings two or three times a year, and I am very lucky to get invited to them, as they have a reputation for attracting the who’s who of motorcycling. The first person I ran into was Chris Carr, who once again raised the bar for being the world’s fastest man on two wheels (367.382 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats) this past September. The last time Chris and I crossed paths it was in the pits at Hagerstown, where I tried to pawn myself off as a moto-journalist. It was on this last occasion that I left a folding chair next to Carr’s motorhome, telling him I’d get it some other time.

The author, Jack Riepe (Left), receives a highly modified and decorated folding chair from Chris Carr, celebrated seven-time AMA Grand National Champion and the currently the world's fastest man on two wheels -- again -- following a record-breaking run on the Salt Flats at Bonneville this year (367.382 miles per hour). Carr decorated Riepe's chair with track and sponsor stickers from throughout the 2009 racing season. Riepe presented Carr with his Cigar Book... Which he intends to read aloud on Christmas Eve. The attractive woman in the background is Mac Pac rider Kimi Bush, who cannot take her eyes off Riepe. Photo by Jim Ellenberg.

Well that time was the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Chris Carr carried that chair to every racing event in which he’d competed, covering it with stickers relating to tracks, sponsors, and racing products. His final contribution was the installation of two plastic bags complete with shipping material. “These are the equivalent of air bags, in the event your ass collapses the chair, they will save you from hitting the pavement,” said Carr.

I had intended to stay until Ellenberg’s rum puddled in the bottom of the bottle, yet my gutter instincts were beginning to kick in and I bid adieu suspecting the advent of diarrhea. This was my incentive for piloting the Suburban like it was in a James Bond chase scene. I barely got the garage door up before I ran through the house screaming for the right of way.

Stiffie (Leslie) was working in her studio, when I passed like a locomotive named The Spirit of Kaopectate. “You could have taken a dump in your truck,” she said. “No one would be able to tell the new shit from the tons of other shit in there.” (This remark would come under the heading of accurate analysis intended to call one's attention to a certain situation. I would thank her later.)

Chris Jaccarino (left) and Doug Raymond unloading 750 donuts off the back of Doug's BMW RT prior to departing to the Turkey Pro National. Photo by Gary Christman.

And so it came to be that on the last day of the best weekend of Fall 2009, I was once again laying out in the yard by a sputtering fire — and a spackle bucket — with cramps at one end and a block-buster headache at the other. My friends were all up at the Turkey Pro National, either riding or jeering the others on.


Doug Raymond pits his mighty BMW RT against the 125cc street bikes in the Turkey Pro National, the world's slowest motorcycle race. Photo by Gary Christman.

According to a published report from Doug Raymond, who both competed and took notes on the Turkey Pro event, there were approximately 150 bikes on the property, including one Vincent Black Shadow. Twenty-one riders competed on the 150-yard, sloping course. The best time (the slowest) was 2:41 seconds. It should be noted that Doug Raymond attempted this course on a mighty BMW RT, but put his feet down after 20 seconds. (Doug Raymond is the rider who guided this same bike from south eastern Pennsylvania to Prudhoe Bay on the Arctic Circle in Alaska, and back in 14 days. He also rode throughout Argentina, while taking Tango lessons, and swims regularly in a quarry on New Years Day.)


This is only known photo of the great moment titled, "Jaccarino Craps Out." The photo was taken by David Hardgrove, who then entered the Witness Protection Program.

According to Raymond, Chris Jaccarino made a valiant effort at winning, first on a 125cc bike that got him one third of the way around the course, before the chain broke. They gave him a second try on a KTM and he made it three-quarters of the way around before he was forced to put his foot down again.

(Above) The Turkey Pro National always draws an eclectic collection of bikes. Photo by Gary Christman

(Above) Many of the bikes are as flawless as they are rare. Photo by Gary Christman.

(Above) This tiny, folding scooter jumped in combat with members of the British Airborne, who used it as club after many broke their legs trying to kick start it. Photo by Gary Christman.

It should be noted that my friends held a "finger of silence" vigil for me, each one taking a moment out of their fun, to pose for a picture taken by Mac Pac rider David Hardgrove, and to send these to me so I would know exactly what I meant to them. You’d have to look far and wide to find folks like these... And when you do find them, don't ever turn your back on them...

(Above) Matt Piechota (left) and Dick Bregstein usher in the "finger of silence" vigil in my honor. Behind Dick is his new summer cottage. Photo by David Hardgrove.


(Above) DucDude (bald and humorless) and Dick Bregstein flip the "Finger Heard Round The World" to commemorate my absence. Photo by Dutch Hardgrove.

(Above) Chris Jaccarino gives way to a rare expression of emotion, triggered by my absence, which he cited as the main reason why he blew a 120 yard race — one of the most important in his career. Jaccarino is a humble man and a conservative one. He would later eat dinner on the #17 plate. Photo by Dutch Hardgrove.

(Above) Jessie (left) and Melinda can't stop thinking about me and resort to a kind of primative subliminal sign language that is still used to score votes in Congress today. Photo by Dutch Hardgrove.


Epilogue --

I would like to thank Linda Sorensen and her husband Rick who also sent a "feel better picture," but who had the good sense to tell Dutch Hardgrove that they'd kill him and me if it made it into print.

All that was last week. We got the first snow of the season over this past weekend. Thankfully, the municipalities only spread salt, and not sand. Strong rains and temperatures for 38º (f) are predicted for Wednesday. Hopefully, the salt will wash away, and we may still get a few nice days in December. I have been feeling sick for the past two weeks, plus I have been working a major career change with mixed success. As a result, I have been somewhat peculiar — even more so than usual.

The Highlight Of The Week...

The highlight of the week was a communication I received from my Pal Electra Glide in Blue, who is seen posing, in the "Best Get Laid Shirt" ever made available. His testimony to the legendary Twisted Roads shirt can be read here... The comments to his blog, many of which seem to doubt the autenticity of his claims, make good reading too.

(Above) Electra Glide In Blue... A Classic Bike... A Classic rider... A Classic Shirt... A Classic Look... Plus I understand he got laid wearing this shirt home from the post office. I had a similar experience yesterday, but the post office is surrounded by senior citizen housing and I was terrified of all that support hose and those walkers.

I am thrilled to report that many of my readers are Harley riders, and I expect to spend a whole weekend riding with a Harley group early next year. I may bring my violin to play for them. The headline might read, "Piece Of Violin Removed From BMW Rider's Ass At Local Hospital."

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac Pac)
AKA The Mighty Vindak8R (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)

42 comments:

Woody said...

Great story! Congratulations on receiving the chair from Chris - that's something to cherish! We gotta somehow work on your image - all these people saluting you makes me think you're starting a cult or something.

cpa3485 said...

That Turkey Pro National must be a hilarious event. I think we may have to copy that for a little local scooter club event. I can see lots of fun in an event like that. Maybe you could help us arrange for the fastest cyclist in the world to come officiate for us. Scooters and irony go together I think.
We are possibly going to get our first snow tonight and tomorrow depending on how the Low Pressure system tracks through the state. The weathermen get so excited when the first snow storm gets here. They have a tendency to predict lots of snow, but frequently we just get cold rain. Dom has had snow as evidenced by his doughnut pictures, and Danny in KC will probably get some snow.
Alas, the scooter may stay in the garage a few more days and I will be relegated to taking the Canadian Subaru, the one that speaks in kilometers and Celsius but does have heated seats, to work for the next couple of days. My butt will be warm, but I would really rather ride.

mq01 said...

i want to ride with you jack, look at all those fabulous men saluting you :) and hey, i think i would look nice in that get laid anywhere shirt, but alas, as much as i'd hoped, i havent seen one :(

im sure that the energy dedicated to the career changes has left you susceptible to illness. im a girl, im bound by gender to tell you, beef up your vitamins til you're next adventure finds its way my friend.

:) xoxo happy holidays to you and yours jack!! be well!!

Conchscooter said...

Nice work riepe, from nothing something grew. The story's lack of content makes me wonder if you are going into banking, spinning profits from nothing.
I have an impressively large middle finger; consider this my contribution.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

You may have been confused or even overcome by the strong motorcycle content of this post. If you think back, you will remember the thrill of a motorcycle -- with a tach -- when your rode that incredible BMW in Italy.

That must seem so long ago, though... Amost in a different life.

Your comments are important to us. Regretably, there is no one here at the moment to read your note, to evaluate it, nor to respond to it in the manner in which it deserves. But I can assure you we will be thinking about a response... And it may involve traing your new dog to herd iguanas through your tiny little limes.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for making it part of your life.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Charlie6 said...

Dang Jack, your story of your ill-timed sickness still beats my story-telling abilities easily!

The only one I could beat such a great story is launching my Ural off the ski jump at Vail while someone took pictures....and survived. Maybe.

Glad you're feeling better...that Turkey Pro sounds like a hoot!

"The Kaopectate Express", what a line...I'm writing that one down for later use (with full attribution to your august self of course)

Re that small scooter used by the Airborne....having served time with such outfits, we had an expression: "Anything can be dropped out of a plane....once".

dom

Gary5410 said...

It all seemed believable until ......."I ran through the house".......!

Missed you at the Turkey Pro....
Gary

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

Thank you for your kind note... The chair from Chris was a complete surprise. I think he was grateful for the tips I recently gave him for going fast in a straight line. I understand that Bregstein was responsible for organizing the mass salute.He'll be looking over his shoulder for years to come.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485

The Turkey Pro National has been going on for 25 years or more. It was the vision of a man known as "Snuffy Smith," who died of caner last year. This was the first year it was held without him.

I thought the number of reported bikes was down somewhat from previous years. The promoters actually try to keep this event on the quiet side as they have had the place jammed with bikes on the occasions that I attended.

Chris Carr is a remarkable person, who as it turns out, reads Twisted Roads. I met him four years ago at a Mac Pac breakfast. I was sitting with one of the leading experts on BMW repair and restoration -- another great friend who refuses to see his name in my blog -- who turned and said to me, "Don't say anything to this guy. I don't want him to think we are all shitheads like you."

Funny how things turn out.

Make sure you research the potential for liability if you organize an event like this, and that everybody understands they participate at their own risk.

Thank you for reading my tripe, Jimbo, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear MQ01:

Thank you for writing in.I think you will find your dreams have come true by the end of this week. I have been in an odd frame of mind for the past couple of months, but things are starting to sort themselves out now.

A number of biker publications are onto my stuff and I may be hitting a broader audience soon. I generally get my vitamins from cigars... Which offer the highest form of vitamin absorption. (I bet you didn't know that.)

Fondest regardsm
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

You are too kind in your assessment of my story-telling ability. Conchscooter was more accurate when he said "Something from nothing." The snow in the driveway is melting and I may actually be able to ride next week, which may lead to a real riding story.

You always have a fresh storyline, even if it entails riding through blizzards, landslides, and floods. It makes it very hard for folks lioke myself to compete -- with non-fiction, at least.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Conchscooter said...

What I am coming to like best about living at 24.5 degrees north latitude with the Gulf Stream for a neighbor is listening to motorcyclists Up North go stir crazy, slowly and progressively as winter closes in. It must be like riding through balmy serene green forests in August when I am looking at a hurricane and wondering if my house will survive.
Next weekend for eastern pennsylvania I predict lots of hot air, ice and blizzards of curses. Let us know how it goes for you. Perhaps you could polish a fireball or practice taking photos of snow covered bird baths?
Gotta go find some shorts to wear while I walk the dog and work on my tan.

Nikos said...

Jack
I'm so touched that you posted the picture of that Welbike - a fitting epitaph to the English motorcycle industry...not.
As you say the machines that did not land directly on anyone's heads following the airborne drop were used as offensive weapons. I had heard from my German mistress' Mother that the hun were so amused to see these machines that they submitted immediately.

Keep it up and I trust that the plague has now eased in anticipation of the habitual Christmas dose.

Nikos

bobskoot said...

Jack "r":

glad you are feeling better. I noticed that you had been AWOL lately.

Mr Conch doesn't realize that us Northerners can't take too much heat for too long. We welcome the chance to cool off for a period. Also we are able to wear shorts while in the house.

The scooter community here does slow races as part of the Gymkhana exercises, usually running 2 scoots side by side on a short paved incline.

That chair was a nice gift

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jacko:
Another fine story. I'm sorry you couldn't have joined us for the ride to the Turkey Pro. Chris led us past the boulders on which I crashed my F800ST. I didn't see them this time either, but the outcome was better. With any luck this cold/wet snap will pass, you will continue to feel better, and we'll be able to ride again before our wonderful politicians outlaw gasoline.

Colin said...

I did the memorial 5k porcelain run this past weekend as well. The horrible feeling you feel as you run down neighborhood children, jump curbs and run red lights rushing home is almost worth it when you get there.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

Somehow, I will acquire a Gerbings heated jacket this year, and my riding season will last forever, spawning the kind of stories that will make you tax local gin supplies in a feeble effort to extend your ability to accept my facts.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

Thank you for continuing to read my blog and for commenting when the fancy takes you. I have seen this little scooter before and it resembles basic plumbing wih a motor on it. And unless every trooper had one, what would be the point?

I regret to report that I am still sick and this bug seems to be a very tenacious thing. The good news is that it could be an intestinal parasite, in which I'd be eating for 2500.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

The amazing thing is that I hang with some of the most accomplished bikers you are likely to find anyplace, and that they will ride with me. It's really ironic. I ride like shit. Getting that chair from Chris Carr was amazing.

I'm going to hang it on my office wall.

The only thing I truly envy Conchscooter is that he rides in an environment that lacks all of these fucking white tail deer.

Thank you for reading my tripe and for asking aboit my health. I still feel pretty shitty, but so do a lot of other people. It's the season.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

Thanks for getting all those nice pictures for me at the Turky Pro National last week. I will return the favor as son as possible. It looks like Harley did only one breakfast weekend this month... Probably due to the economy. Hopefully, e'll get one or two rides i in December.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary:

Under certain circumstances, I do move quickly.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Colin:

There is something going around and it has a tendancy to linger. For the past two weeks, I have been barely mobile on the weekends. I hope this thing runs its course soon.

It is always a pleasure to hear from you... Are you still riding, or has the season run out on you?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

sgsidekick said...

So nice to see how much all your friends missed you and care for you! It's so easy to see why you are ...#1... in their book. And to receive a chair so highly decorated for your posterior...

Sojourner rides said...

Jack,

Sorry to hear that you've been feeling under the weather. Still, you manage to write beautifully and not lose your twisted sense of humor ;-) I appreciate you going those extra miles for your fans.

The Turkey Pro Nat'l sounds like great fun! The weekend was lost to riding, yes, but you made pretty dang good use of the events nonetheless. Cheers!

Colin said...

Jack,

Still riding, i'll be good for at least my commute till mid january when things get icy.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

These guys could care less if I lived or died. If Bregstein had asked them to sign a "Get Well" card instead, they'd have asked for proof that I was dying. But he asked for them to get in line and give me the finger instead. They couldn't do that fast enough. Even the women.

Is Bugser still riding or has the weather shut hom down? And what was the result of the screenplay contest you were entered in?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

It is always a delight to find a comment from you in the "In" box. This is true for two reasons: a) You are a serious rider; and b) You are a serious writer. I like to kid myself into occasionally thinking I can pique your interest.

While I was down for the count on the Turkey Pro National, it would have been a shane not to use the pictures collected by my friends. And I did manage to drag myself to the Ellenberg event with Chris Carr, which really made me feel special.

I woke up one morning to discover that my career had changed during the night, and I am scrambling somewhat to get the forge glowing again, so I can say I have an iron in the fire.

These are the cards we are dealt... Thank God bluffing is still an art form.

Always grerat to hear from you...
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Colin:

Cool... But our riding days for the winter season are numbered... We gotta make the most of them all.

Fondest regards,
Jsck • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Allen Madding said...

Dearest Reep,
Electra Glide in Blue's bike to date is the best looking motorcycle picture posted on your blog. I hope you strive to continue these quality pictures in the future.

You are going to ride with a Harley group? You might want to consider taking a nerve pill before the ride :)

-Peace

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

The last time I was out with the BMW crowd, we topped 104 mph. My girlfriend says I have some nerve. I can drape it over my shoulder.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

sgsidekick said...

Hey, Jack. It was a one-act play contest, and I won! Being online, it was international. The website that you were reading was the invitational I was in as a result of winning. Nothing ever came of THAT one. Oh well.

As it was 10*f this morning, it was a tad too chilly for Bugser, even in cold weather gear. But he HAS been riding a couple times a week, if only to hear his boss ask: "Say, isn't it a bit cold this morning to ride?"

irondad said...

It seems you and the turkey were a lot alike except that you were in the yard instead of on the table. Although you were both exposed to fire.

Both of you had major pains where your heads used to be. Both of you had sore asses. The turkey from having his internal organs forcibly stuffed back inside, and you from having yours forcibly expelled in the first place.

Those folks aren't really flipping you off. They are offering the use of their "anti-diarhea" plugs.

Too bad you weren't in Key West. By his own statement, Conchscooter has a larger than average plug. Probably would have been of great use to you while driving the Suburban.

I'm attempting to keep up my reputation for having deep philisophical content in my comments, by the way!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick:

I recently entered a new writing contest called, "Words For Groceries." The deal is to wriye for as many magazines as possible, while the business travel industry contorts in financial agony.

It has been a lot colder on your coast than on this one. It is 32º tonight, with the wind blowing like hell. No ridng this weekend. Rain and sleet over the weekend.

My regards to you and Bugser. Stay tuned for my annual Christmas message. You/ve undoubtedly read it before, but it's my best stuff.

Sincerely,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Kelsey said...

Sounds (and looks!) like you guys had a great time. Looks like there were some really amazing bikes there!

By the way, I'm not sure if you ever look at my non-motorcycle blog, but I think you would enjoy this recent post: http://www.driftingfocus.com/blogs/?p=5692

It's about the bike I had when I lived in rural Korea.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad (Dan):

The editorial review board of Twisted Roads wants you to feel comfortable in your remarks, and invites to express yourself to any extent you deem necessary. Quite frankly, we welcome comments that depart from the ordinary, the mundane, or the socially acceptable.

I regret that I have nothing in the way of useful information to compete with your thoughtful blogs and the manner in which you impart your experience and expertise to students. So I hum in the absence of facts.

You are providing the inspiration for either my next blog, or the one to follow. I have something to say about safety course instructors.

As far as this collection of mongrels giving me the finger... There has come a time in the last four years when most of the people I ride with have felt compelled to shove something up my ass. I always assumed it was a K75. But in truth, I like to make my pals happy, and provide a broad ass for all of them to kiss, on occasion.

Dan, do you know what I find amazing? The guys pictured in this current blog episode represent some of the finest riders I have ever met anywhere. They have reputations for speed, racing, long distance riding, international ride reports, and challenges that defy description.

And they all treat me -- a crippled fat fuck who needs a step to get on his bike -- like I was an equal. Actually, DucDude shits in my helmet on a regular basis... But the rest of the guys are all wool and a yard wide. The consideration they extend to me is unbelievably touching.

Two of the most outstanding riders in this group are Chris Jaccarino and DucDude. Three years ago, both took extraordinay pains to explain to me why we would never do a day's ride together. (I was not offended.)

On the first non-fiction ride I put together (for a major magazine story), Chris Jaccarino not only led the trip, but personally made sure that my K75 magically jumped a four-foot berm so I didn't have to walk a mile (imagine!) so I could get the pictures.

On another occasion, DucDude found it entertaining to linger at the end of the line (for 5 hours) to make sure my head wasn't all the way up my ass. So in the end, they both did the long day.

I regret that I do not have the opportunity to ride with you for a week someplace. Once you got over being appalled at my riding style, and marvelling that I am still alive, your advice would probably go a long way.

Thank you for reading my tripe, and for commenting in your gentle philosophical style.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Kelsey:

Thank you for reading my blog and for dropping by. I have a soft spot for machines with squared-off lines (the K75 I ride is known as the Flying Brick) and I was intrigued and delighted by the appeal of your "little red bike." It reminded me of my 1975 Kawasaki H2 and the seating lines of the old Triumphs.

I saw the kick starter. Did your bike have an electric starter as well? Also, I loved the setting of these pictures in Korea.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Kelsey said...

Oh, I'm not a new reader! I also write "Travels with Smutka", the blog about the couple trying to get a 1995 Ural Tourist into running condition. This is just my more personal, non-motorcycle-specific blog.

Many people mistook my bike for a scooter due to that fairing, so much so that I started jokingly calling it "the scootercycle". It is basically a "light" bike in that it was only 150ccs, but it could still move quite well - I could easily get it up to 70mph on a straightaway. As far as I could tell, it was basically a Daelim copy of the Honda SuperCub, but they changed the wheels and some of the plastic styling. The engine is basically the same (it even has the same semi-auto transmission - you still have to shift manually, but there's no clutch to depress), but it was bumped from the 50ccs of the original up to a very efficient 150ccs (I got well over 100mpg, but like I said, could still hit 70mph pretty easily), and the overall shape of the bike is the same. It took quite a beating from me and Korea's dirt country roads, and I didn't treat her very well because I knew nothing about motorcycles and couldn't communicate with the mechanics, but she got me through a year of daily commuting (45 min each way) in rural Korea. The best part is that she only cost me $400, almost brand new.

I really wish I could find a similar bike in the US. I am short, so it's difficult for me to find bikes that I can even toe-touch from, and I don't like the seated stance of cruisers. I sat straight up on my bike in Korea, could still touch the ground, and though it was fast enough for me to take onto the highway there, it was still a *small* bike, and I felt very in-control of it due to the small size and low weight. I've looked around at the current options in the US, and have yet to find anything even remotely similar. I'm actually considering buying some old 1970s Honda or somesuch, since that seems about as close as I can get. Your old Kawasaki is also quite similar.

And yes, the bike had an electric start as well, but I almost never used it. The battery was under-powered, and due to the frigid (and long) Korean winters, the electric starter was 100% dead about 7 months of the year. I got really good at kicking it, so I just stuck with that (the only problem with that was when it went through a spate of liking to die at stoplights).

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Kelsey:

I thought that was you, but at 4am this morning, I couldn't be sure. The 1975 Kawsaki H2 was a very straight-forward bike with British lines. The similarity ended there. It was very light, and had 71 horsepower, making it the fastest bike of its day. It handled like a shovel.

The K75 I ride now is the lowest model BMW ever made, and I carry a step in my top case. (This is due more to my ponderous weight and my arthritis, than to my height.)

I am amazed at your perseverence with the Ural.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

sgsidekick said...

Jack, i don't remember reading anything of yours re: Christmas, so I look forward to it.

I hear you on the contest Writing For Groceries. I may have to resort to that one as well. Pays better than just getting silly little badges...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear SgSidekick (Tena):

I may not have published my Christmas story here before as it does not have any real motorcycle content... It's just funny.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Electra Glide In Blue said...

Jack,
Looking forward to the spring and the "Jack Ripe Harley Weekend Motorcycle Run". You may want to hire a professional photographer for that event.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear EGIB:

My friend Roy is a professional photographer. He wouldn't go for this deal, however, as he doesn't have the balls.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad