When he regained consciousness, emergency room doctors claimed they had never seen a snow shovel shoved that far up anyone’s ass. Twisted Roads resumes this week with Thursday’s blog posted a few hours earlier. We regret the delay. The winner of the Big Jim Cookie Drawing will be announced in a special addendum on Friday, February 4, 2011.
Moto -journalists and biker columnists the world over are often confronted with letters from readers claiming that some particular brand of motorcycle (many belonging to marques with distinguished reputations for, speed, comfort, and long-distance capability) are overrated and actually painful to ride. Some riders claim their machines have even humiliated them at crucial moments. The pain generally stems from an unusual seat configuration or a radical motorcycle design, while the humiliation is a byproduct of the machine’s inability to meet a rider’s expectations. (The mental anguish caused by a motorcycle’s inability to go from zero to 85 in 2.5 seconds, or its limited capacity to run for 85 miles without breaking down, or its reluctance to pass a Segway on a long hill is well documented, and can easily translate into a steady throbbing in one’s temples or a constant pounding in the balls.)
In reality, the problem is generally not with the bike but a poor match between the rider and the machine. One rider of my acquaintance (a man from New Jersey) is between 96 and 104-years-old and struggling with dementia. He just bought a Ducati 1198, and complained that the machine made him feel like a “monkey humping a watermelon.” His primary motivation in purchasing the motorcycle was largely one of image. He wanted a bike that looked good enough to get him laid at the nursing home, where some of the dollies will accept one last tickle — from a biker — on their way to the cemetery.
Another guy I know, an insurance actuary in his late forties (who has never been laid), and lived in a trailer with his free-ranging parakeets. He bought a Ural, thinking a motorcycle with a hack rig would be a great introduction to the cool life of a biker, while reducing the potential for stoplight and parking lot drops. His complaint was that the neighborhood kids threw rocks at him and the hot-looking divorcee in the trailer next door once dropped a bag of garbage in his sidecar.
These riders relentlessly blamed their machines for failing to meet their expectations; one for the design of the bike because it obviously challenged his physical limitations, and the other because the motorcycle did not appreciably alter his social status. Both of these gentleman are of limited means and did not have the option of simply trading in their motorcycles at a loss. Each called me looking for advice. After studying their circumstances, my recommendation was that they should switch bikes!
The aged Ducati rider found the Ural perfectly suited to his needs. He stopped falling off the bike and reported a 100 percent drop in sore throats as he no longer has to yell himself hoarse waiting for an attendant to pull the machine off him. His social life has improved as his “dates” no longer have to remember to hang on, a big deal for folks who struggle with recognizing their own names from one hour to the next. And the tub-like nature of the sidecar often catches their dentures when the rig hits a bump in the road.
The real turnabout came with the actuary, however. He has become the role model for the kids in the neighborhood, and ended up drilling the hot-looking divorcee within 24-hours of taking the Ducati’s keys. He told the insurance company to shove the actuary’s job and locked the parakeets in the trailer with an owl. He is now an agent for the hottest showgirls in Las Vegas and goes under the name of “Studley Steele.”
There is a lot to be said for finding a motorcycle that matches your physique, your psyche, your riding style, and your expectations. Yet most bike purchases — especially the first one, either as a new rider or as a re-entry rider — are an act of compromise, reached through an expensive half-assed trial and error process. Usually only one or two points of the key criteria are addressed.
Though this is the way motorcycles have been acquired for generations, a far more scientific approach now exists. Developed by Dr. Albert Hissingaz, director of research at the Wilmington Institute of Hollistic Dry Cleaning, the new process couples the power of a supercomputer with an in-depth questionnaire to determine the perfect bike for a specific individual.
“Never before have riders been able to harness the incredible power of a supercomputer to help riders choose a motorcycle so tightly dovetailed to their riding style, personal preferences, and mental image,” said Hissingaz. “The Advanced Motorcycle Selection Process (AMSP) starts with completing a comprehensive questionnaire that has been developed by human behaviorists trained in two-wheeled para-psychosis and sideshow hypnosis. This data is then run through a Cray 1200, which conducts more than 47,000 evaluations, covering a riders physical attributes, mental condition, and emotional awareness, before making a recommendation.”
Hissingaz explained that the AMSP project has been in development for over ten years, but was only recently completed when a federal agency tossed out a Cray 1200 in favor of an Apple MacBook Pro. “It was laying right there by the curb and we grabbed the damn thing before it started to rain,” he said. “From that moment on, we were able to crack the complex motorcycle-match code that lies hidden within every rider’s DNA.”
One last hurdle was presented by a team of psychologists who argued that a substantial degree of the motorcycle selection process depended on biker imprinting. Dr. C. Mentos Smith claimed that if a rider was introduced to the lifestyle by BMW riders, that individual would most likely adopt the attributes of a BMW rider. Yet if another rider were introduced to the road by Harley-Davidson devotees, then that person would most likely become a Harley rider. “It is like what happens when a human attempts to raise ducklings without the birds’ natural mother,” said Smith. “The baby ducks accept the presence of the human, and begin to follow that person around, even in the company of other adult ducks.”
There appears to be some truth in this matter.
A crack team of Twisted Roads editors secured a baby duck and sequestered it with a bunch of Harley riders. Within six months, the duck was drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, and riding a Sportster. The duck went on to get a fat boy, lead a gang, and kick the shit out of MV Agusta riders on general principle. I last saw it in a bar, walking a pit bull on a leash. The duck ran up an $80 bar tab. When the bartender tried to collect it, the duck said to him, “Put it on my bill, asshole.”
Taking imprinted motorcycle behavior into account, the psychologists developed a questionnaire that targets a rider’s psyche, bringing the id and the ego together in the showroom, sidestepping the trial and error method of find the perfect bike. Now, for the first time ever, Twisted Roads has arranged for the Wilmington Institute Of Holistic Dry Cleaning to present our readers with the questionnaire, and to evaluate each set of answers — absolutely free. Please read the questionnaire below, choose your answers carefully, submitting the results in the commentary section that follows. Submit only the letters that correspond to your answers. (For example, 1A, 2A, 3C, etc.) The recommended bike for you will appear in an answer from the author within 24-hours.
1) When taking a morning ride, your destination is most likely:
a) Another continent
b) To the WaWa, Dunkin Donuts, Sheetz, or other gas station (within 11 miles) where you will have coffee, polish the chrome, and stand around looking tough, before repeating the process three more times that day.
c) Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house
d) A quaint little coffee house that has fairly current European newspapers and organic raison cookies, about 40 miles from home.
2) When taking a long weekend run, the first thing you want on the back is:
a) Nothing that would impede my bike from a 46° degree lean, on a tight curve, at 84 miles per hour. (Besides, my girlfriend has her own bike.)
b) Tattooed pillion candy who can rest her hooters on my shoulders to keep my eyeballs from vibrating out of my head.
c) A cocker spaniel in a special kennel that has its own stereo and DVD player.
d) A “Kindle” loaded with the complete works of Willa Cather, A Cultural Guide To Amish Quilts, and “How To Say ‘Hello, It’s Great To Meet You’ in 75 Languages.”
3) When thirsty:
a) You sip lemon flavored water from a tube that leads to a container on the back, precluding you from having to stop more than once every 500 miles, or roughly the equivalent of a tank of gas.
b) You must have an ice cold beer in the skull of your vanquished enemies.
c) You look for an old fashioned ice cream soda, from one of those places next to an antique mall, where you can get your picture taken wearing period clothing.
d) Your preference is for unsweetened ice tea, in a place where no one will ask you questions about your ride, handy to a recycling receptacle for your cup.
4) When stopping for the day:
a) You are not particular, as long as the hotel has a decent restaurant featuring fresh dungeness crab, 7 IPAs on the bar list, 24-hour room service, and waitresses in the breakfast area competing for top prize in a lingerie modeling contest, in addition to free wireless connections that are three times faster than light.
b) You prefer the campground that is off the road, in an area avoided by the local police, where the only rules prohibit human sacrifice and taking a shit in the drinking water.
c) You really don’t care as you are towing a pop-up camper with a bidet, a billiard table, an observatory, and a foldout leather couch.
d) You look for a bed and breakfast with a nice room where you can fall asleep looking at your parked bike, and wake up pretty much the same way.
5) When gearing up for a ride, you:
a) Wear full ballistic gear capable of containing a shotgun blast through the crotch, or full racing leathers with a six-inch diameter leather porthole for uncoiling the apparatus when taking a piss.
b) Wear leather vest and an armor-plated cod-piece to protect the only irreplaceable part of your body.
c) Step into highly fashionable Bermuda shorts and a shirt with a pocket to hold your mentholated cigarettes.
d) Choose a complete ensemble from LL Bean, including a classic Allagash/Moose River motorcycling necktie, with matching handkerchief (with micro-stitching for removing bugs from your LL Bean sunglasses).
6) Upon reaching the Grand Canyon:
a) You have sex with your partner, standing up, still wearing your leathers or ballistic gear, because you plan to have sex again in the warm Pacific, 5 hours later.
b) You take a piss over the canyon’s rim while your buddies video the whole thing for YouTube.
c) You immediately look for 50 other bikes with pop-up campers so you can exchange pictures of your garden back home with other riders.
d) Your view of the canyon is marred by worry about that strange fucking noise you hear (like marbles in a can) whenever you give the bike the gas. (Ducati riders please choose alternate answer below.)
e) Your view of the canyon is undisturbed because you remembered to pack extra cylinder heads and a starter motor.
7) You are in trouble for taking a leak and leaving the toilet seat up:
a) You respond by taking a piss in the kitchen sink.
b) You respond by taking a piss in the kitchen sink, but first removing the dinner dishes.
c) This question does not apply to you because your bike has a urinal in the side bags.
d) You fall to your knees to beg forgiveness and agree to wear a toilet seat around your neck for a week, in addition to promising to sit whenever you piss for the rest of your life.
8) When pulled over by a cop who says, “I waited all morning for you,” your response is:
a) “I tried to get here as fast as I could.”
b) “I used to butt-fuck a guy about your size in prison.”
c) “Well officer, I didn’t want to be late for the weekly Rotary lunch.”
d) “Yes sir. I was speeding... And my inspection sticker is overdue too.”
All answers are strictly confidential, until the results are published in the "TW" comments section. If you are absolutely delighted with your motorcycle, recognizing its precise balance of power, speed, and comfort — plus it’s ability to get you laid about 99% of the time — please check the most appropriate answer below.
9) Optional -- I have no complaints because:
a) I ride a BMW K75, or other BMW, so no further explanation is necessary.
b) I ride a Harley Davidson, so fuck you and all your smart-assed facts.
c) My Goldwing feels really good on my hemorrhoids.
d) The Vespa is highly underestimated as the perfect metrosexual statement.
e) Someday my bike may be regarded as “iconic” too, but for now, I’ll settle for a copy of one of the above trendsetting four.
©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011