Monday, August 15, 2011

One Pissed Off Biker...

The Old Lincoln Highway (US-30) divides the Amish communities in and around Lancaster, Pennsylvania like a vein of steel. In addition to being the shortest of the tourist arteries through the land of quilts and shoofly pie, it is a primary truck route for tractor-trailers heading across the state. On summer weekends, traffic backs up through the little town of Paradise, making it anything but its namesake. And on the outskirts of Lancaster proper, rampant whoring on the Amish theme with an outlet center, an aging theme park, and hex signs painted on everything from gas pumps to garden shacks gets a little tiresome. Weekdays can be hell throughout the year as endless lines of trucks growl through their lower gears, stacking up at every traffic light.

To the north and south of US-30 however, are some of the most beautiful farm roads to be found anywhere. Amish farms rival those in Norman Rockwell paintings for immaculately maintained farm buildings, well groomed draft horses and mules, and flower beds where every petal and bloom is perfect. On summer weekdays, the biker passing down these byways will see black-skirted Amish women tending vegetable gardens, while tow-headed boys in straw hats feed chickens or race around on foot-powered scooters. The men are most often seen standing ramrod straight, balancing on the yoke on a plow or cultivator, holding five massive percherons in check with a handful of leather reins stretching 18 feet or longer.

On Sundays, riders passing through the area will find themselves sharing these roads with dozens of buggies headed for the Sunday meeting, held at an elder’s house. The front yards of these places look like buggy parking lots, with these rigs standing in orderly rows, while the horses run free in a paddock.

The events of this particular Sunday took place on a cold day in November, on the afternoon that would prove to be my last ride of that particular year. (The first light snow fell a few days later. While it would melt quickly, local municipalities cured the roads with a thick layer of salt. I will not submit my beautiful, black aluminum engine casings to road salt.) I was mounted on “Fireballs,” my trusty red, 1995 BMW K75. Fifteen years old at the time, the dated nature of this vintage Teutonic mechanical wonder felt somewhat Amish itself. I willingly admit that the K75 is an acquired taste, as the bike has all the classic lines of a cinderblock. Yet the proof is in the riding. The K75 is an incredibly stable, reliable riding platform, that easily breaks into and holds triple digits on the clock, when the spirit so requires.

This was one of the rare occasions that I was buzzing around by myself... Just an hour after dawn... In 25º temperatures... On a Sunday morning... Deep in the heart of the Amish periphery.

Riding around in Amish country in the late fall feels much safer than doing it in July. The reason for this is that nearly all of the roads are the paved version of farm roads that were laid out in 1682, when the reigning King of England at the time chartered all of Pennsylvania and Delaware to the Quaker pacifist William Penn, who systematically began the re-education of the Native Americans in residence. Since this area has been settled for so long, cultivated fields come right to the edge of the pavement. In many cases, the road is below the grade of the fields. When planted with corn, this makes it impossible to see any other vehicles, except tall trucks, approaching on the crossroads. You may find yourself charging along at 50 miles per hour, only to see a minivan driven by a pea-wit on a cell phone, pulling right into the parameters of the intersection before coming to a halt. I have had more than a few interesting moments making myself known to vehicles driven by mobile telephone operators in this neck of the woods. In the fall, the bare fields bring the light of day to the intersections.

Oddly enough, I have never had a close call with a horse and buggy. My policy for riding around Amish wagons is simple. Give them all the room they need. While the vast majority of Amish horses have more sense than a representative in Congress, they are not the most intuitive of animals and can spook at the drop of a hat. (This is true of Congressmen too.) Therefore, I do not advocate squeezing past them in the same lane when Amish teamsters swing to the right. Traffic on the roads where I usually encounter Amish buggies tends to be very manageable, and I swing to the far left (moving into the oncoming lane) and avoid doing anything really stupid (i.e. hitting my horn or jazzing the engine to impress the Amish).

One of the saddest scenarios I have encountered (three times) is to come up on a car and buggy pulled to the side of the road, only to see a stricken horse dead in the traces, the victim of some asshole who cut his passing too short. In one case, I saw two little Amish girls in tears over the dead horse. Had I been that Amish farmer, I would have stepped down from the buggy, removed the wheel nut from one of the hubs, and beat that driver’s face into raspberry pulp with it. (There are several reasons why I would not make a good Amish elder.)

There wasn’t much traffic on this cold, gray November day, Amish or otherwise. I had ridden into an area that was less cultivated and more forested, when I got the dreaded message from my kidneys. I have had two kidney “procedures” that required removing stones the size of softballs (and you can’t imagine where they inserted the chain and tackle to get them out). Since then, some things have been a little odd. For example, I never get a gentle reminder that it is time to drain the lizard... I get a 28-second tsunami evacuation notice. And considering my arthritis has instituted a 12-step dismount procedure that takes up 24 of those seconds, there isn’t a lot of time for fooling around.

A thermos of coffee can load a lizard right properly. And aided by the subtle churning motion of a motorcycle, the urge is nearly always urgent. I brought the bike to a screeching halt (that fully compressed the forks), and started counting backwards from 28. I had my step* out of the top case at the 24-second mark... I had it positioned by second #18... I was off the bike and hobbling on my cane into the bushes with 12 seconds to go.

The gentle reader can not believe my sense of panic. I didn’t waste a second removing my gloves nor my helmet. I got into cover, sucked in my gut, and shoved my jeans and insulated riding underwear down to my boots. Then I stood upright, raised my eyes upwards, and let go.

Now for those of you who never studied the wonder of male anatomy, nature has devised a clever physical reaction to guarantee the reproduction of the human species during time of glacial advancement. A certain part of the male anatomy is cold sensitive and retracts to a warmer position behind the lungs, when temperatures get around 25º, apparently.

So I stood there with eyes uplifted... And pissed straight down into my jeans.

I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t even have to stop the bike to get this result. Worse, though the steaming hot liquid hadn’t lost a degree of heat from its origin in the thermos, it was the temperature of the air by the time I got back on the K75. The ride home was the longest 57 miles I ever rode in my life.

* Jim Sterling of the Mac-Pac built a mobile step for me that fits into my top case. It greatly eases the mounting and dismounting from this tall seat.

______________________________________________________________________

Special Announcement:

Twisted Roads Day At Hermy’s Tire and Cycle
August 27, 2011... 9am - Noon

Got a great story you’d like to see as a guest author in Twisted Roads? The folks at Hermy’s BMW and Triumph, in Port Clinton are sponsoring “Twisted Roads Day” on Saturday, August 27th. From 9am to Noon, show up and have coffee and donuts with the publisher of Twisted Roads... Tell him your story and qualify for a valuable prize. The winner will be announced at 11:45am. Consolation prizes will be awarded to the first and second runner up.

Hermy’s is located on Route 61 (Southbound), Port Clinton, Pa. The shop is only 5 minutes north of the interchange with I-78 (Hamburg, Pa) and is an easy ride from New Jersey and Maryland.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011

51 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wait a second. I've had to touch the seat on that motorcycle since Last December. I hope you disinfected it twelve times, at LEAST!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

Are you the blonde I picked up south of Altoona, who insisted we do "it" on the bike? If so, the surface of the seat is the least of your worries, and now mine too.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, the biker blog that promises raw adventure and romance like broken glass.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

jasiii said...

are you having more kidney problems ?? another stone ?? left unturned ??

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
Never look up!
This is a pisser of a tale with excellent colorful descriptions of some of our favorite back roads through Amish country. There were so many times when we've ridden those roads that I wanted to stop to tap a kidney and didn't because the ride was so much fun....That usually ended with me pulling into the garage, gingerly jumping off of the bike and walking at a highly spirited pace to the commode in the back hall. One of life's greatest pleasures is breaking the seal on that relief valve and not pissing yourself. You need more practice.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jim:

It's odd that you should ask.

For me, the symptoms of minor urinary aggravation is generally the indication of a bigger problem. I got a jolt about six months ago and got a prescription for Sypro (sp?)

I passed a stone three days later that was 2/3rds the size of a dime. My doctor friend couldn't believe I didn't pass out.

Hopefully, this will be the last one I ever have to contend with.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick (Bregstein):

As you well know, there are places in and around Lancaster that are like stepping back in time... There is nothing like hitting these roads at sunset, when the lowing of the cattle competes with the whistle of the last steam train through Strasburgh, and the wind whispers through the last standing corn in response.

God, just the thought of it makes me want to saddle up right now.

Thanks for reading my blog Dick, and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Your pal.
Jack

Anonymous said...

Can you spell TMI?

Charlie6 said...

Jack

did you forget those sage words from motorcycle training: "Look where you want to go"? I believe they apply here as well.

just saying....

dom


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

"TMI?" Three Mile Island?

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

A sage ride once said, "In rural communities, never pass up an opportunity to gas up when one presents itself. I think the same goes for jettisoning ballast as well.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads...
Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

Two words:

Trucker Buddy.

You may pick one up at your favorite local truck stop, hang it on the handlebars and use the cruise control to relieve one's self whilst maintaining forward motion.

My late father-in-law, a notorious cheap-ass, substituted a plastic milk carton with excellent results.

As always, your mileage may vary.

And it's called Cipro - short for Ciproflaxin, or some other made up name. I pop them as if to be Jelly Bellies - have an entire adventure in Korea in search of the elusive Cipro dealer.

Good shit - opens up the drain line quite nicely.

BeemerGirl said...

Dearest Jack,

1) You never did enlighten me on my dilemma with the rider and lifting ones shirt. :)

2) I am surprised that no one has gone for the idea that the title needs to be changed to "One Pissed On Biker..."

3) Found a '95 K75 in BMW ON...I'm giving it the evil eye for $3500. hmmmm....

4) Those roads are sounding like they need some R bikes touring on them a little.

:)

Best,
Steel Cupcake

Peter said...

Dear Steel Cupcake,

You are invited to any one of our frequent Lancaster county rides. The bottom corner of the state comes alive on 2 wheels from 6-10 am on a Sunday. Just us and the buggies.

Doc

bobskoot said...

Jack:

I think Steel Cupcake has found the solution to your dilemna, think "R" bike. Smoother, and less prone to triggering unintended splashes. The trick is to keep an eye on the apparatus and look where you aim

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Ken said...

Jack,
You must rub some kind of lilac scented lotion on your hands to get such lovely prose to come through your fingers... I'm in awe.
Wonderful story/post.

Brady said...

Jack,

I always appreciate a good bit of degrading, urine-based humor. I cannot outdo, but I can commiserate. Stuck in DC traffic, pressure slowly built in my bladder during the hour it took to go from one exit to another. (Probably due to drinking a gallon of Mountain Dew and Coffee)

Not being a man of grand humility, I took a pop (soda to you southerners) bottles, inserted the wedding tackle, and began my business.

Traffic moved at a painful .34 MPH - I was required to steer with one hand, keep my eyes on the road, and relieve myself with the other. Somewhere near the end I realized that the human bladder holds more than 20 fluid ounces - a completely novel thought - and that the strange, unclassified sensation I noticed during the experience was piss - a lot of piss - overflowing the bottle, soaking my pants, and the seat. I don't remember if I even bothered to stop when I realized what I was doing.

It was another two hours before I got home, at least it wasn't November. (Mid-July heat) I sold the car immediately.

I also had the pleasure of meeting a man on the road driving an R1100 this weekend. He told me he also drives a K75, and loves it. I began an aesthetics bashing session, but it had no effect - he enjoys the looks of the 'Flying Brick.'

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

Brady said...

Jack,

I didn't click subscribe, and I wanted to. Here is another free comment. Feel free to show it to your friends.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cupcake:

With regard to point one: there are some things in life which do not translate well into manual form. Please feel free to drop me a line the next time you are out this way and I would be delighted to give you a few one-on-one lessons.

For point two: Just as gentlemen never fall of a bike, but are thrown, riders only piss themselves on nights three and four of a week-long drunk.

As to the third point, do you have the IBMW marketplace link. There are 39 K bikes for sale this month and several are hot K75's.

Point four: You saw the response from my friend Peter. The roads call every Sunday.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, the discerning blog for raw moto adventurers and two-wheeled heart-breakers.

Fondest regards,
Your pal,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chuck and Pheebs:

A guy I know once said, "The great advantage to wearing non-porous, mesh pants on a hot day is that the evidence of a kidney surge (generally triggered when meeting a left-turning death threat with a full bladder) disappears almost immediately."

I am amazed at the number of stories I've gotten from riders who have emailed me with similar disasters.

It's always good to hear from you Chuck. Thanks for reading Twisted Roads.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Peter:

Steel Cupcake lives in Georgia, otherwise she'd be at our breakfast this Sunday.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Anybody with solid BMW experience can tell you there are only two models from Bavaria with virtually no vibration what-so-ever. These are the K75 models (that have a crankshaft counterbalance in the engine) and the new K1600 (6 cylinder models).

Why do you think Steel Cupcake is looking at getting a K75? It is the motorcycle of the Cognoscenti. By the way, I located a real beauty of a K75 in Montreal — for $4000 (USD). Jet black, low mileage, and with a "Street Fighter Fairing."

$4 grand buys you membership into the club.

Fondest regards, and thanks for being a dedicated Twisted Roads reader.

Your pal,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

My secret for writing appealing prose is clean living, pure thoughts, and plenty of exercise in the early morning.

(I am laughing even as I type these words.)

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads,

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Brady:

I am amazed at your candor... Not every man would willingly admit his "wedding tackle" would fit into the neck of a 20-ounce soda bottle... But sheer honesty was always your strong point.

I have arrived in my driveway — nearly driven mad with the need to squeeze the lemon — and have done so right there, in the shrubbery, in the dark. Once the cat belonging to the annoying neighbor next door hissed at me. The cat will never do that again.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads. It must be a matter of days before you are Germany-bound. Good luck. (Neat picture of you with the hat.) If you can, call me before you go.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

Brady said...

Jack,

It was more like trying to push a portabella mushroom through a drinking straw, but I was able to hold it in place for the function. If you've never had the pleasure of trying to piss into a pressurized vessel, the sensation is strange. I can think of a few analogues, but nothing that would work on the internet as a public personality.

Brady
Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life
http://www.behindbarsmotorcycle.com/

Conchscooter said...

That is the first time a travelogue on Amish country has been upstaged by a pissing story...

bobskoot said...

to Mr Conchscooter, via Jack:

and the imagery is . . . stunning

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Brady:

Sometimes, the average story is what it is. I look forward to riding with you when you get back from the Fatherland.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

The Amish are very straight forward people, who tend to treat the average functions in life as routine. My point is that almost anything can lead to a challenge... Even getting off the bike in a hurry.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobscoot:

Actually, my description of the roads in and around Lancaster is pretty accurate and without embelishment.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Allen Madding said...

reep

You are in good company. As I used to cover NASCAR, after years of people asking drivers what do they do when their bladder begins to squall and they have 500 miles to drive, one evening of of them fessed up. He said that on a long hot night at Richmond, they had run about half of the night's race when they had a red flag. Normally in hot conditions, one can drink fluids at a rapid pace and not have a problem because of the heat and Adrenalin they sweat it out before they ever need to drain the lizard. But the red flag was out for about an hour and the drivers were forced to sit in their cars and wait for track repairs. He kept drinking water and then got hit with the call of nature. NASCAR refused to let the drivers out of their cars, so he was forced to make the best of it and began to evacuate his bladder. The fluid of course sought out the lowest point in the car (the floorboard) and apparently found a small leak and began to puddle under the car. One of NASCAR's ever observant inspectors saw the puddle under the car and thought the car had developed a water leak and called the crew chief and told him that the car would be forced to the pits for repairs when the red flag was pulled in. When the driver heard this over the radio, he quickly told them that he turned a bottle of water over in the car. Good thing the NASCAR official didn't stick his finger in the puddle and taste it to determine the fluid :)

-Peace

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

It would have served the official well if he had.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack,

point 1: I will look forward to proper instruction. A video would work in the meantime. ;)

point 2: guys still have a much better chance of missing their clothing. unfortunately girls have a 98% of always hitting theirs

point 3: I haven't seen the IBMW marketplace. I will look it up. Was wondering if the K75 sex appeal would speed my commute for a low price.

point 4: I'm trying!! I'm trying.

-Steel Cupcake

BeemerGirl said...

Hi Peter!

Thanks for the invite. I will definitely take the offer up when I can get the time and money from work. Would be a great change to see buggies and Amish instead of dual exhaust and shotgun racks. ;)

And no "dual exhaust" jokes rIePe...

-Steel Cupcake

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

Dearest Beemer Girl -

Female spattering can be avoided.

My youngest daughter (riding since she was all of four) learned at an early age if she manipulated her womanliness with her index and middle finger, she could generate a more than passable version of the male stream.

I don't know exactly how she did it, as It's not proper for a father to examine closely the nether regions of one's progeny whilst urinating.

If it's possible to be proud and unnerved at the same time - then I'e been there while watching my daughter piss standing up.

Nikos said...

Jack

You need to fit a P-Valve to your boots (or if you are a man of habit, only 1 is truly required).

Best wishes from the land of cottages, N

Nikos said...

message for Steelcupcake:

Ref "...point 2: guys still have a much better chance of missing their clothing. unfortunately girls have a 98% of always hitting theirs"

Mrs N can advise the best position - her bladder is as large as a sardine on heat's and so she has plenty of practice au naturel.

crocs(tm) still doing fine, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cupcake:

A) The video will be made following the first lesson...
B) Some gear was made to “pitch,” while some was made to “catch.”
C) You get what you pay for... The days of the cheap. low-mileage K75 is about over. But you can find some real gens in the $4000 category.
D) Try harder.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Srel Cupcake:

Peter is my cardiologist. But he could be my urologist at the rate he breaks my balls.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chuck and Pheebs:

I really have nothing to say about that one. My daughter and I are just not that close... Although she did get a great tattoo yesterday.

Twisted Rosds — Where the reader dialogue swings like a compass needle.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

It would appear the "P" valve was set askew on one of the last two adjustments. But it's interesting... Since I have mentioned this incident, I've heard some of the damndedest stories. And there are only three in my personal repertoire.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos and Steel Cupcake:

Twisted Roads — Online and On Target... 99% of the time.

Fondest regards,
Jack/Reep

MarkE said...

I learned many years ago no motorcyclist should leave home on a cold day without a magnifying glass and pair of tweezers.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mark:

Truer words were never spoken... And with electric gear (pants in particular), the rider has to spring from the saddle like a gazelle.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads — the blog that delves into the unexpected.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Chuck and Pheebs,

Proud and perturbed at the same time. After watching "The Full Monty" I've only been successful once.

But you do have to watch this video.

I seem to have a lot to learn.

-Steel Cupcake

BeemerGirl said...

Dear Jack,

Lack of vibration on the K75 is NOT a selling point for me.

-Steel Cupcake

bluekat said...

LOL...thanks for a good laugh this evening. Very funny story (though I'm sure it wasn't at the time)! I've suffered similar experiences when out hiking, if that's any consolation. The comments are rather informative as well. :)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steel Cupcake:

Duly noted. (This was the safest response.)

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

Jack Riepe said...

Drar BlueKat:

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads and for chiming in on this red hot issue. Turns out everyone has a great story.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep

What a whiz, Ihor said...

, of a post. The comments all seem borrowed from some golden shower chat room. Plagerism John??
Say it isn't so that KO got ink!! Why for so? Bad parenting no doubt.

Nikos said...

You should take heed from this guy:

http://christinenegroni.blogspot.com/2011/08/pee-evd-by-airline-pissenger-gerard.html

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

Only you can combine the concept of an Amish elder beating someone to a pulp and pissing in your pants within a single story....and make it work. If only we could put one of those brain activity helmets on you as you write.

Uuhhhmmm, cancel that request ;-)