Friday, April 27, 2012

In A Letter To An Elite Group of Riders...

In a letter to an elite group of riders (who read Twisted Roads for highly technical moto advice and for tips in complex relationship-building with beautiful women), a BMW R75/6 rider of my acquaintance writes:

“There are few thing in life more satisfying than changing the oil on one’s motorcycle. It is as rewarding as making love to a woman for the first time, and hitting the ‘G-spot’ right out of the gate. Yet it has none of the apprehension associated with the challenge of the later event, unless you are planning on riding off at the crack of dawn, in which case the challenge is inversely proportional to the stealth of your departure.

The R75/6 in question...
“Changing the oil on a motorcycle as elegant as a BMW R75 is less of a chore and more of a spontaneous expression of the soul. While I don’t often do it myself anymore, having reached a point in my life  where I can attain the same degree of nirvana by watching a skilled technician go through the motions for a mere $95 per hour, I occasionally spend an hour or two in the garage, running my hands over the surgically precise tools and finally crafted implements that made this task into a ritual of love. The quality and preservation of one’s tools are indicative of the respect and affection he, or she, has for the motorcycle. Quite frankly, the hours spent in purchasing these tools, or crafting them yourself, constitutes part of the overall motorcycle experience that may be being denied a younger generation of riders (those under 70), who buzz around on S.Q.U.I.D. bikes, accompanied by world-class lingerie models glued to the pillion.

“The collection and preservation of these tools, and related materials, are the history of the motorcycle itself. On a recent trip to the garage (during which I seasoned the exterior of the R75 with aroma of a fine cigar, that costs as much today as a decent tire back in 1978), I came across a quart of the requisite Castrol 20/50. (Please refer to the photograph below.)

Oil gets better with age... Why else is it in the ground?
If you look closely, the price tag reads "Caldor,” and is valued at 99¢. I bought this in 1986, thinking, ‘If the cost of oil continues to rise at the current rate, my wife is going to have to get another job.’ Now some of you are wondering, ‘Why the hell is he holding onto a quart of oil  that is now 26-years-old?’ The answer is simple... If oil reaches maturity buried deep within the ground, where it is exposed to all kinds of dirt and impurities, just imagine how potent it becomes when allowed to age in a nice, clean bottle, lovingly cherished in a climate-controlled garage. My financial advisor claims the cash value of this motor oil has increased 260 percent. That makes this bottle of oil more valuable than stock in MF Global.

Explained below.
“Yet as to the actual process of changing the oil in an incredibly rare, immaculate R75/6, I wouldn't be without this 3 foot section of lead pipe and hammer. Insert the non-business end of the drain plug hex wrench into one end of the pipe and apply maximum force to the other end of the "fulcrum" to loosen the plug. When this fails and you realize you've actually been tightening the plug,  then grab the hammer and beat the shit out of the pipe (in the correct direction this time) until it "unfreezes". Occasionally, this will require a bigger hammer.

Explained below.
“Either or both of these wire tools are necessary to remove the filter. They may look like they have been fashioned from plain old coat hangers, but they are actually special order items from a famous manufacturer of German motorcycles. The logo of this company, invisible in this photo, ensures that you paid three times what they are worth.  Oh, and once you remove the filter, check twice to make sure both rubber washers (one on either end of the filter) have also been removed. Getting these o-rings out is like handling the lubricated rim of a lover’s diaphragm. (Do not attempt to use similar wire tools to remove a woman’s diaphragm. It will seem like a really good idea at the time, but you have to trust me on this one.)

The Mark of a man who changes his own oil...

“Installing a new filter  with new washers, with an old washer stuck in place,  is guaranteed to screw up the rest of your day (not to mention the embarrassment when a tech at your local BMW shop explains what you did wrong). There is nothing more  humiliating than to arrive at the diner or bar to discover your R75 is leaking as much oil as Harley-Davidsons and Triumphs of the same era. Real riders change their own oil, at least once. There is no greater satisfaction than to wash up, grab a beer, and return to the garage to admire your beautiful machine, only to notice that regardless of whatever you put under the pan, oil will spill onto the garage floor or driveway. It will still be quashy two days later, when you put your boot in it, slip, and drop the bike.”

Respectfully submitted
Gluepot Pete
Amish Curse, PA

Twisted Roads reader Ray Woods (a Yamaha rider from Atlanta) wtites:

My friend's brother Jeff rode his "new" 1995 BMW R1100 RS up from Savannah to visit. He had been an avid Motor Company rider and was still wearing his Harley-branded half-helmet and red-white-and blue "USA" leather jacket.  He was showing off his new acquisition (for which he had traded a boat) and to give credit where credit is due, he got a great deal on a bike that looked showroom new.

Ray Woods's Brother's friend "Jeff" on his previous Harley
We were teasing him about being a former Harley rider.  I pointed out that the BMW and the Harley are somewhat similar in that they both are air-cooled twin cylinder machines.  Then I hit him with, "It's just that as he got older, his preference was for jugs that sagged outward!"

Ray Woods on his Yamaha FJR 1300. He is now 30 pounds lighter and wears a smaller hat.
Respectfully submitted,
Ray Woods
Atlanta, GA

© Copyright Jack Riepe 1012

Monday, April 23, 2012

When Riding Buddies Turn Rogue...

A small box mysteriously appeared on the porch last week. It turned out to be some highly unusual cigars from my riding buddy, Dick Bregstein. I love maduro cigars that produce the kind of smoke you get from a Ducati with bad rings. Nothing — and I mean nothing — matches the aroma of quality maduro cigars just out of the wrapper. These smokes were about five inches in length, the thickness of my forefinger, and as dark as the complexion of a Mayan Indian princess.

According to Bregstein’s note, the cigars were hand-rolled between the thighs of beautiful 22-year-old Honduran women, who had yet to experience the falsehood of men. Yet he also expressed caution, which took me by surprise.

“Jack (he wrote), these cigars are exceptionally spicy in nature and will leave a lasting impression. The smoke is especially dense and may actually numb the senses. Please do not attempt to smoke one of these when operating a motor vehicle.”

The note also went on to say that he was in the final stages of preparation for the annual ride to West Virginia, and that the guys were very sorry that I would not be riding with them this year. The cigars were meant to be a kind of consolation prize, and he hoped I would keep them handy, and light up the first one when he and the others called me from the cabin on the first night of their trip.

There was also another paragraph in which he hoped I would finally realize what a man and rider of significance he was, and give him the kind of respect that I might afford no less a personage such as “Donald Trump.” Trump has risen to the kind of social prominence that has resulted in the media referring to him as “The Donald.” Apparently, Bregstein wants to be referred to as “The Dick.”

Well, I like my cigars the way I like my women, spicy enough to leave my tongue scorched for weeks. And despite the fact I was driving a pick-up, I pulled one from the bundle, bit off the end, and lit it. The first few puffs were indeed satisfying. The cab filled with a dense, blue smoke that looked like fog over the ocean, and which left a peppery sensation on the roof of my mouth.

I pulled up at a stoplight and the cigar exploded in my face like a hand grenade.

I was stunned... Then I realized the extent to which I’d been set up. “Don’t smoke them while driving,” said Bregstain. “Save them until we call,” said Bregstein.

Bregstein had finally earned the title “The Dick,” and payback would be a bitch. This was not the first time that I had fallen victim to one of his pranks. Once, after eight hours in the saddle on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I found myself hunched over the handlebars, wracked by arthritis pain. Dick had noticed my bootlace was undone, and called it to my attention.

“Screw it,” I said. “We’re fourteen miles from the hotel. I’ll deal with it there.”

Bregstein got off his bike, and in an act of kindness between men, tied my boot.

“That was good of you,” I said to Dick.

“Look down,” he replied. “I tied your boot to the brake pedal.” Then he took off. There was no way I could raise my left foot to get the side-stand down. I had to sit there and struggle to untie that boot without dropping the bike. On another occasion, he sprinkled itching powder in my riding pants. And finally, he placed a large rubber tarantula in my top case on our last ride together. (I have an allergy to spiders with fur, which causes me to scream like a little girl.)

My plans for vengeance had failed before. Every time I concocted a plan to pay Bregstein back for something, he ended up smelling like a rose. Nothing stuck to him. In essence, he had become “The Teflon Dick.”

Yet I would not rest until I’d paid him back in spades for the exploding cigar. I returned to the house to ruminate.

The evening was evolving into a blazing rosette of a sunset, accompanied by unseasonably warm breezes coming off Delaware Bay, laden with the scent of the ocean. The aroma of the ocean makes me think of two other distinct fragrances: one comes from sausage and peppers sizzling on the boardwalk grills of Seaside Heights, NJ; and the other is cocoa butter sizzling on the tans of curvy women. It was the memory of this second one which caused me to mix a rum and Coke the size of my ass.  And it was the strength of this cocktail that drove me to the streets in search in search of romantic adventure.

While early April temperatures in the high 70’s (F) warmed the beaches of Cape May, thong-clad women have yet to take to the sand. And in truth, my days of charming the thongs off tanning beach candy are about 10, or even 15, years behind me. As the rum coursed through my veins — rejuvenating my sense of poor judgement like the first taste of blood to a vampire — I realized I wanted a biker chick. And we are not talking about a BMW-riding woman either... I did not want someone who had just ridden in from the Yucatan Peninsula (24 hours in the saddle on her GS Adventure with smoking tires), wearing a Kevlar® workout bra, and who would measure a man’s sexual potential by first glancing at the odometer on his bike.

I wanted a woman who carried the scent of stale beer, cigarettes, and motor oil as a sexual pheromone... A woman with a tramp stamp of a rose, the thorns of which were tattooed in braille, inviting a man to prick himself by running his fingers over them. I wanted the kind of woman who appreciated a man whose eyes were broken stained-glass windows to a tortured soul. Specifically, I was seeking a good-looking brunette in her late 40’s, divorced at least once, who understood that anything in life with tires or testosterone will eventually let you down. Preferably, one who was not recently acquitted of killing her boyfriend or who was a former knife-thrower in a circus.

Sixty miles north of Cape May, I found a biker’s bar with a line of Harley’s outside. The name of the place was “The Iron Clam,” and according to a buzzing neon sign, it had cold beer, hot dancers, and loud music. Standing on the rickety wooden steps out front, the sounds of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” were nothing less than encouraging. I went in with a mouth watering for “a beer and a ball,” and the company of those beyond social redemption.

It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to darkened saloon atmosphere. The place was a regular joint, with the regular crowd of Harley guys at the bar, speaking in low tones, and occasionally glancing up at the dancer, who was gyrating around a brass pole with ill-disguised disinterest. She was more beefcake than cheesecake, and dropped her top to reveal breasts that needed a couple of years off. I wouldn’t look in that direction again, or so I thought.

I hadn’t taken a step or two before I was issued a challenge that was more of growl than a statement... Which was perfectly natural considering it came from a Jack Russell terrier.

“Betsy, shut the fuck up,” yelled the bartender. “Don’t mind her,” he said to me,” without looking in my direction.

I chose my seat carefully, and found one toward the end of the bar with a vacant stool on either side. I put my cash down (a New Jersey tradition) and waited for the bartender to head my way. There was one or two women drinking alone, but I knew better than to move in that direction. I’d just kill a little time, savoring a couple of snorts, and see if anything came my way. Sometimes it’s possible to chum the waters with your expression. I had my chum face on.

A “beer and a ball” is a double shot of Bourbon, Scotch, or Irish Whiskey, with a small glass of whatever piss they happen to have on tap. I don’t much care for Bourbon, but in a Harley bar, I’d rather drink this or sour mash, than to call undue attention to myself. The first sip of Bourbon when down my throat like silk, and exploded in my gut like one of Bregstein’s cigars. I put the fire out with a gulp of beer, which happened to be Budweiser. I am not a beer snob, but the best thing about Budweiser is that you don’t have to waste any time converting it to urine (in my opinion).

A woman approached me from the shadows and said, “Buy me a drink and I’ll show something special.”

I turned with a smile... And nearly screamed. There before me was an aged woman who looked exactly like the “Crypt Keeper,” from “Tales from the Crypt,”  a bi-monthly horror comic anthology series published by EC Comics from 1950–1955, and then a popular horror movie series.

Above: The "Crypt Keeper" from "Tales Of The Crypt." Picture from the Internet.

“It’s a really good trick,” she said, grasping my arm with one of her talons.

“Fuck me,” I thought, realizing there was no escape. “How do they always find me?”

The woman was between 95 and 150 years old. Her sallow, tobacco-stained skin clung to a frame that weighed less than my last saddle from Russell Day-Long. But her eyes glowed with a crazed passion... The kind of passion you find in person who can tell a really good story. The trouble was I didn’t want a story... I wanted to lick a tramp tamp over a hot ass and mail it to myself. (See above.) But I am a sucker for the lonely, the destitute, and the cast-off, and I collect good stories.

“What’ll you have?” I asked.

She cackled, pointing to the glasses in front of me. I signaled the barkeep, indicating I needed another.

“A beer and a ball for Grandma,” he yelled, which caused every head at the bar to look in my direction... And everybody bust out laughing. Apparently, this was a local tradition. Whenever fresh meat walked in the door, “Grandma” would rise from her grave and solicit a drink. “Fuck it,” I thought. “I’ll play along.”

Grandma didn’t have one round. She had three. And during the consumption of these, she told me her life story. She was the first woman in these parts to ride an Indian motorcycle (a 1928 Indian 101 Scout), “when that son of a bitch Calvin Coolidge was in the White House,” said Grandma. “He was a real prick.”  She claimed to be the first woman hereabouts to buy an old biplane from the army and fly it around the lighthouse at Cape May — topless. And then she learned welding, “Because there will always be a need to join two pieces of metal together,” said Grandma. (Her toughest welding job had been on a locomotive that blew a steam line, somewhere on a spur track in the salt marshes. “And I made them pay me the same as if I was a man,” she said. “Otherwise, I’d have welded that fucking locomotive to the rails.”)

About this time, the first dancer left, to be replaced by a real beauty, whose movement was as fluid and as intoxicating as the amber liquor in my rocks glass. It became difficult to listen to Grandma rattle on with her litany of past life over my left shoulder, while attempting to watch the dancer over my right. The dancer was blond,  slightly built, and with a smile that seemed to have a healing effect on my soul. And her tramp stamp was a rose! Grandma started to get up, and I thought my reprieve was imminent... But she merely moved to the empty stool on the other side! And kept touching my arm to guarantee my attention.

“I promised you a trick if you bought me a drink,” she said, “and you’ve bought me three.”

I was amazed she could still stand.

“All men like this,” she said, taking he teeth out of her mouth, and getting down on her knees. 

“Oh no!” I thought. “Not a trombone solo at the bar.” Question — What does a trombone solo from an 95-year-old woman have in common with walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope? Answer — It is certain death to look down.

Grandma then scampered around on the floor, chasing the Jack Russell terrier, attempting to bite it in the ass with the full set of teeth in her hand. The bar exploded in laughter. The look on my face must have spoken volumes, as Grandma returned to her stool, popped her choppers back in, and  asked, “What did you think I was going to do?”

She finished her drink, and whispered, “How would you like to have a meaningful romance from a woman who’s looking for a real gentleman?”

I laughed, expecting another “trick.” But the look in her eyes said something different this time. There would be no polite way to get out of this one. But an idea occurred to me that would say “no” with dignity, while spawning revenge.

“I can’t tonight,” I said. “But let me give you my name and number. And on a bar napkin, I wrote, “Dick Bregstein,” over the number to his cell phone. She jammed the napkin in her pocket, and giving the finger to the rest of the guys at the bar, she disappeared through a door in the back.

The second set was over, and the hot-looking dancer had disappeared, to be replaced by a pudgy colleague who was as disinterested in dancing as the crowd was in watching her. I was getting ready to leave when a slightly-built blond with long hair, came out of the back room, carrying a gym-bag over her shoulder. It was the smoking-hot dancer on her way home. Not one guy at the bar attempted to chat her up.

She stopped where I was sitting, put her hand on my shoulder, and said, “Thank you for listening to my grandmother tonight, Mr. Bregstein. She owns this place and she said you were a real gentleman. That’s quite an endorsement from Grandma. Most guys just brush her off or give her a false name. I hate that.  I’ll call you soon.” And with that, she was gone.

I got another package in the mail from Bregstein yesterday. It contained a rare bottle of Irish Whiskey and a note that read, “Thank you... Thank you... Thank you...”

He is not “The Teflon Dick” for nothing.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Humiliation In Cape May... Strong Moto Content

Spring in Cape May is an absolute explosion of color as trees and gardens flower in profusion. Yet never far from the richness of this palette is the enduring nature of the ocean, either slate gray or blue, depending on its mood. From time to time I take a break from the details from writing this moto-book by driving to a spot where I can view the waves against the backdrop of the lighthouse, or from where I can watch the ferries sail over the horizon, following Delaware Bay into the Atlantic.

One of these places is Higbee Beach, once known as the “nude beach,” but which is now incorporated into a wildlife management area. I get a large cup of coffee from a local joint, light up a cigar, and listen to classical music on the truck’s stereo for 25 or 30 minutes. (Paul Pollio, Clyde Jacobs, and Dick Bregstein have seen to it that I have enough cigars to get through this summer. Thank you, gentlemen.)

The unseasonably warm weather has brought prides of migrating motorcycles passing through town, touring the scenic vistas en route to the many taverns and restaurants that are now open and serving the masses. The vast majority of these bikes are from the “Motor Company,” and are huge, squat, thundering examples of chrome and tasseled leather. These machines are moto-art in their own right. They are joined by the occasional sport bike or the wayward S.Q.U.I.D., though I have seen one or two BMW’s in the area of late.

The Harley riders generally fall into the category of the more seasoned, wizened age group, say between 62- and 94-years-old. (They would sit at the “kid’s table” during a BMW rally.) They wear their traditional "rugged individual" costumes, and the chrome helmet made popular by the Wehrmacht is not uncommon. Still, they are doing something that I cannot at the moment, and they have my envy and respect. I followed a Harley rider for about 15 miles yesterday, taking in the muted sound of the bike’s thunder (factory pipes) and appreciating the skill of the rider. She was about 28-years-old, with a spun-gold pony-tail sticking out from beneath her helmet, and had a tramp stamp over one of the most perfect asses I have ever seen. Had that stamp been legal postage, I would have carried her ass in my arms like a Pony Express rider.

At on e point, she turned left from Bayshore Road, onto a lesser traveled side street. I followed. Then she turned right onto the main drag that parallels the bay. Again, I followed. The way she managed that huge machine was pure moto-ballet. There is a “stop” sign at the first big intersection, and she waved me on, to pull up alongside her.

I did.

“Fuck off, Jack,” she said. (I have no idea how she knew my name.)

My intended destination was the parking area on the canal, close by the end of Higbee Beach. It is the preferred parking spot of fishermen headed to the surf, and usually deserted at mid-day. There was a bit of a swell running and the odd gust of wind blew the rich clouds of maduro cigar smoke back into the truck, which made the most appealing of aromas in conspiracy with the huge cup of coffee I’d gotten from the drive-up window at “The Donut Connection.” The music pouring from the dash was Wagner’s “Flight of the Valkyrie,” yet it was easily overpowered by the sound of two-cylinder thunder from Vance and Hines straight chrome tubes.

A couple of Harleys (a Silver Eagle Limited Edition, Version IV and a Road Monarch Limited Edition with Special Assembly Line Paint), adorned with 450 cubic yards of chrome, carefully negotiated the dirt road and dropped their three-foot-long side-stands. (What other stands could they have?) The riders removed their helmets and revealed themselves to be two women with the prerequisite tattoos and tiny laughing skull earrings.

The one on the Silver Eagle sniffed the air, got the range of my maduro, and asked, “You got another one of those fine cigars, Honey?”

I did.

It was right on the seat next to me. It was one of the last of the special ones that Clyde Jacobs had sent me, rolled with a double pigtail. In the effort of second, I covered it with my Mac-Pac* cap and produced another, one without pedigree nor ring, which had been riding around with me since last October. It was as dry as kindling.

“Right here,” I said. “What have you got for me?”

She glanced around the empty parking lot, then brazenly lifted her tee shirt, revealing a set of honkers that were in their prime the day Lincoln was shot. Her nipples were pierced with little studs that each had a tiny skull on one end.

“I go for skulls and studs,” she said. “You like ‘em?”

I handed her the cigar in mute surprise, and replied, “You have no idea how I wish I could share this vision with my friend Bregstein.”

She dropped her shirt, took the cigar, and bit the end off it. My first thought was that she was going to swallow it in a show of talent. But she spit out the tip and it ricocheted off the tire of the Harley like a bullet from a spent .22.

“Got a light,” she asked.

I extended the tip of my lit cigar and she held it to hers, by firmly grasping my wrist and looking into my eyes with purpose. Around vigorous puffs on the stogie, she asked, “Didn’t we meet on a run to Sturgis?”

I shook my head slightly and said (with the intent of putting out the fire), “Not likely. I prefer BMW’s.”

“Deutschland Uber Alles,” she replied with a wink.

“My name is Jack,” I said withdrawing my wrist. “I publish a blog called ‘Twisted Roads.’”

“I know who you are,” she said. “I recognized you when when pulled in.”

“You did,” I said in genuine surprise.

“Yup,” she replied. “I thought you’d be fatter.”

“Touché,” I thought, with a hint of a smile.

“Does your friend want a cigar?” I said. “You know the going rate.”

* The Mac-Pac is the premier chartered BMW riding club serving Southeastern Pennsylviania, and the world.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

When The Trombone Solo Ceases To Play...

As dusk began to fall on an early summer night in 1977...

The mood in the saloon had been sour all day and “Cretin’s” face was longer than the rope used to hang Mary Surrat, the only woman convicted in the Lincoln assassination. He was leaning on the bar in the “Bucket of Blood,” a local gin mill that served as the union hall for the morally dispossessed and philosophers of the gutter. The conversation had focused on the subject of sexual release — specifically the trombone solo — and how ordinary men became serial killers when the music no longer played.

“I almost bought a chainsaw today,” said Cretin, pausing for emphasis. “And it’s only been two weeks. I tell you I am close to the breaking point.”

This statement drew sympathetic nods from me and “Spider,” who were also trapped in equally withering romantic dry spells. Just as planets occasionally align, the three of us were all on the shit lists of our respective lovers. Cretin had been caught “dipstick flagrante” with the barmaid of a joint in the next town, literally plowing the lower forty against his parked Norton in the saloon’s back alley.

“What are you doing?” screamed Niki, his long-suffering girlfriend. (He’d left her in the bar while he and the barmaid disappeared.)

“Showing you how it’s done,” said Cretin.

Then Niki kicked him in the balls from behind. If nothing else, she knew the value of a gesture.

Spider’s girl found lipstick smeared on one of his tee shirts, which was jammed into a side bag after a long weekend ride.

“Can you explain this?” his girlfriend Molly shrieked, waving the shirt in his face.

“Yeah,” said Spider. “The lipstick was all over my dick and the oil rag under the seat was too far gone, so I wiped it off with that tee shirt instead.”

Spider was a realist, and had concluded his relationship was about to enter a global ice age. In which case, it would be better for Molly, for him, and for his hangover if he dropped a real conversation-stopper early in the game.

My genteel girlfriend had let herself into my apartment, to surprise me with dinner, and found the steamiest love letter I had ever written, still simmering in my typewriter. Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t addressed to her. After a brief but memorable conversation, in which I had seen her eyes narrowed to firing range slits, she disappeared for over a month. (And the sad truth is I never got laid by the lady in the letter either.)

“It is unnatural for bikers, and posers who ride smoking lime-green Japanese shit boxes, to go through life looking for a willing trombone player,” said Cretin. “It’s time to go snorkeling. Put your cash on the bar.”

Above: Not my actual bike, but the spitting image of my first Kawasaki H2... Picture taken by Amanda Dumas.

We had a little over $100 between the three of us that night. Back in 1977, $100 was enough scratch to get into serious trouble. Cretin figured we needed $75 bucks for therapy and $6 bucks for tolls — leaving us $26 for Jamaican lubrication (rum). While Jersey City had all the charm and appeal of a Fellini movie (the Satyricon comes to mind), it was necessary to ride into Manhattan to find the sort of curbside service only available in the shadows of any great metropolis.

“Where are we going?” asked Spider.

“Tenth Avenue,” said Cretin, straddling his black Norton Commando. “We take the Lincoln Tunnel, cut left onto 42nd Street, and left again to 10th Avenue. There’s a place on Tenth Avenue, in the upper ‘Forties, across from a taxi garage that’s okay.”

Spider nodded, almost like he knew the place, and extended the kick started on his Triumph.

I alone felt like the milkmaid going to the infantry barracks. A late bloomer in terms of sexual adventure, it would never have occurred to me to seek out the services of a working girl. It had taken me eighteen years to talk a warm, sensitive woman out of her pants, and I had planned that right down to the point where I began to stutter. Reducing sexual gratification to a mere negotiation seemed so absolutely magic-less to me.

I mounted the Kawasaki H2, but made no attempt to start it.

“Have you guys done this before?”

Cretin and Spider just looked at each other and laughed.

“Cinderella here is having second thoughts,” said Cretin.

“How does this work?” I asked.

This just made the two of them laugh all the harder.

“Well, you take it out and sort of point it at her...” said Cretin. “They generally know what to do from there.”

Spider was laughing so hard, he nearly dropped his bike.

“You assholes,” I said. “I’ve never had to negotiate a blow job before.”

“Actually, you have,” said Cretin. “Every time you ever started buttering up your girlfriend with a candle-light dinner, giving her the endless back massage, or found yourself saying, ‘I’m in a mood to just cuddle,’ you were negotiating a trouser trout serenade.”

The unmasked truth of this statement rattled me.

“Cretin will do all the talking,” said Spider.

The bikes fired up on one or two kicks, and we were headed into the “City,” about a mile and a half to the east. I always got a thrill riding a motorcycle into Manhattan. From where we were, you descended to the Hudson River in “steps.” We took Paterson Plank Road (Jersey City) to Manhattan Avenue (Union City), and cut left to the “Viaduct,” then cut right into Hoboken, where we went left into Weehawken, and entered the Lincoln Tunnel. That’s what it looked like on a map. Now’s here’s what happened:

Cretin rolled the “stop” on Paterson Plank Road, and barely paused taking the right turn, with Spider on him like a shadow. They shot through a gap in traffic that was about as wide as the crack around a bank vault door. Naturally, I got stuck at the corner. I had to split lanes around a tractor-trailer, squeezing past the damn thing on the left — while balancing on the double yellow line — to shoot through the “amber” light on the intersection with Manhattan Avenue. I made it by a hair, just in time to see Cretin and Spider dive down the viaduct, still a quarter mile ahead of me.

Manhattan Avenue is cut into the face of the Palisades, which are the majestic cliffs opposite New York City, and leads to the viaduct like a storm drain. It is the crossbar of the letter “T,” which hosts a traffic light at the tottering, elevated roadway that drops into Hoboken. (The other side goes back up into Union City.) The 14th Street viaduct, a spindly black-steel trestle that was originally built for trolley traffic, has been on the verge of falling down for the last 40 years. There was no “right turn on red” in those days, yet I showed myself to be a true pioneer by barely slowing in the turn.

The Manhattan skyline was the backdrop for this mad descent to the river, over a “t-shaped” switchback that dropped 30 stories in a few hundred yards. The effect is amazing. It is like starting out looking in the 30th floor windows of the skyscrapers across the river — on their level — then riding your bike to the street. In the few seconds it took to get to Hoboken, the skyscrapers went from peers to towering giants.

Cretin and Spider were caught at the other light at the bottom of the viaduct. We hit the Lincoln Tunnel in a phalanx of three. I think the toll at the time was two bucks going in and nothing coming out. Riding through the tunnel, in light traffic, was always a pisser. The mouths to the tunnel’s three tubes are monumental on the New Jersey side, a gaping three stories tall, and dressed with cut stone. It is like riding into a huge funnel.

The atmosphere in the Lincoln Tunnel can be absolutely tropical on a summer night. Dual ventilator shafts, each the size of an apartment house, change the air in the tunnel something like 6 times a minute. Yet the engines from the hundreds of thousands of cars, trucks, and buses that cross into New York through this venue each day raise the already hot ambient air another ten degrees or so, giving those on motorcycles a nice prelude to hell. Stop and go traffic in the tunnel can be a horror, moving a few feet at a time, putting your boots down on pavement seasoned with anti-freeze and oily gook, mixed with the condensation from automotive air-conditioning systems.

Yet traffic was light that night, and we passed through the mile-long tunnel doing a smooth 50 miles per hour. The two Brit-bikes were ahead of me, emitting a throaty growl that would increase the heartbeat of any rider. The tunnel lighting gave an etherial glow to this part of the run, which starts out with a curve, and then a barely perceptible drop.
The tunnel walls are lined by millions of very off-white rectangular tiles, that get periodically scrubbed by a moving car-wash type of truck. There are like the teeth of a giant horizontal thing, that smokes a million cigars a day.

The halfway point in the tunnel is marked by a colorful mosaic that defines where New Jersey ends and New York starts. It’s hard to imagine the opening day of the tunnel, with governors of two states, sand-hogs, and Indian chiefs cutting a ribbon on this spot, like the driving of the golden spike to complete a railroad. (I once rode through the tunnel with a smoking-hot woman on the back. She was from Missouri, and told me that the tunnel should have been made of glass: “So that drivers could see all the fish in the river.” She was blond, a hot hump, and dumb as a stump.)

New York really starts when you buzz out the other side. In daytime hours, the artificial light in the tunnel slowly yields to a gradual glow seeping around another curve. But at night, that same diluted tunnel light gives way to a galaxy of artificial light, and a barrage of noise from the street. Veterans to the rabbit-warren-like exit patterns coming out of the tunnel, we positioned ourselves in the left lane and were ready to hook a left, to get to 42nd Street.

The area around 42nd Street, leading up to Times Square, was the shithole showcase of the porn industry back in the 1970’s. Theatre after theatre on 42nd Street featured ghastly skin flicks, and peep shows (in which naked women would masturbate before coin-operated windows) were common. For a quarter, you could sit in a stall in which hundreds of other desperate guys already jerked-off, watching a woman feign the throes of passion. (New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani cleaned up this neighborhood, and increased city revenue by hundreds of millions annually. There is a Disney store off 42nd Street now.)

We rolled through here like 21-year-old Visigoths, intent on the kind of pleasure that normally followed pillaging a village. This part of the city is known as Hell’s Kitchen, and the closest stretch of 10th Avenue was notorious for the numbers of hookers on each corner. The hookers were neither shy nor discreet. They wore hot pants and tiny shorts in every electric color. Some had slinky little dresses that barely had the substance of gauze. A few were in their underwear. They were white, black, Puerto Rican, and Asian. Some had huge tits, like the awning in front of the neighborhood delicatessen. Others had big asses and big hair. More than a few were thin with angular features, and seemed out of place trying to balance on spiked-heel “come-fuck-me-shoes.” Many hailed passing cars by waving, whistling, or yelling, “Wanna go out?”

At one corner, a woman darted out and put her arm in Cretin’s jacket. He brushed her aside like she was a hornet, and gave the Norton the gas. A number of these ladies subsidized their incomes by grabbing wallets and purses from passing vehicles. We made two slow passes over one stretch, with Cretin looking this way and that for a familiar landmark.

“I can’t remember where the fuck this place is,” he bellowed, over the noise of the bike. “Follow me.”

He paused in front of a darkened alley on a side street. Three ladies, presumably friends of his, were chatting under the light from a dismal storefront. (Have you ever noticed that stores in neighborhoods where the dogs have hopelessness in their eyes always sell the oddest things? This place sold fish heads.)

Cretin switched off the Norton, dismounted, and began talking to the ladies in a low voice, occasionally gesturing to Spider and me. Then he got on the bike again, restarted it, and pulled into the alley, motioning for us to follow. In the glare of three headlights, the alley was a portal into the gray side of New York City. A row of overfilled trash cans contributed to the aroma of spoiled life and piss. Broken glass and discarded condoms added to the carnival atmosphere. A beat-up delivery van squatted at the alley’s rear, causing me to wonder, “Who the hell would want fish heads delivered?” We parked by turning the bikes around, so we could ride straight out.

“Use the your fork lock,” grunted Cretin.

The three women were already in the alley.

My dad once told me, “Never buy a used car in the dark nor when it is still wet from washing... They all look good that way.” In the muted light of an alley at night, all hookers look hot. The one I wanted had a slight build, curly brunette hair, and an angular face. I have a thing for little tits and the thought of being paired with someone who sort of fit my parameters would make this adventure seem less stark.

Cretin looked at my dream date and said, “You come with me.”

“Fucked again, Bullwinkle,” I thought. Then Spider laid claim to the second woman, a curvy, gum-chewing lady with the emphasis on her ass. In the faded overhead light, she appeared to be dirty blond, with the emphasis on “dirty.”

That left me with the third. “Come with me, baby,” she said, in a voice that had a trace of an accent I couldn’t place. She was older than I had expected. I guessed she was about 29 or 30, with red hair. “It figures I’d get stuck with the old one,” I thought.

The windowless building on the left was a warehouse with an unlocked glass door on the alley. The hall was lit by a 20-watt bulb that was tinted dingy, to match everything else. A flight of metal, industrial stairs disappeared upward into uncertainty.The curly brunette led Cretin to a bench seat not far from the door, and started to undo his belt.

“I can watch the bikes from here,” said Cretin.

Spider and his blond went up the stairs to the first landing, where she pulled him down on the top step.

“We have the most private spot,” said the redhead, taking me up to the second landing, where another 20-watt light burned in the hall. It was here I could see that she was older than 30... Maybe 36. I felt like I going to get my horn honked by my sixth-grade teacher.

She deftly took me by the crotch, and started to massage “John Henry” through my jeans. In a radical departure from consensus, John Henry wanted none of this, and went into a coma.

It was then, in that dim light, I noticed that this woman had the most beautiful eyes — and the saddest — I had ever seen. Her make-up had cracked at all the little wrinkles that might have been smiles once, and her lip gloss could have been used to wax a red car.

“You’re not a cop, are you?” she asked.

I shook my head and she started to undo my jeans... And then I stopped her. I traced the curve of her face with the outside of my fingers, and pushed her hair back over her ear. “What’s your name?” I whispered.


“For real?”

She hesitated, then whispered, “Jean.”

“I’m Jack.”

“For real?”

I hesitated, then said, “Cretin.”

“Jack is better,” she said.

“You have the nicest eyes.”

“Thank you, baby,” she whispered.

Then she took my hand from her face and put it in her shirt. Her nipples felt like rivets, hard and hot. I moved my hand from one to the other, than gently touched her face again.

“It was nice meeting you, Jean.”

A muffled gasp from the landing below signaled that Spider had reached orbit.

Yet drama was unfolding in the hall. The real Cretin was not pleased with the service.

“Are you new at this?” I heard him ask in exasperation. This was followed by the kind of exclamation that accompanies getting bitten or nicked by surprise. “Are you a Girl Scout or something?” he added.

Jean put her finger against her lips, to signify silence on my part. And then she made very loud and convincing gagging sounds. In a voice that was less than pleasant, she said, “I told you not in my mouth.”

My response was a loud grunt.

“I want the one he’s got,” yelled Cretin into the stairwell.

Jean and I traded smiles, and I squeezed her hand before heading down the stairs. The look on Cretin’s face was worth the $25 I had paid to touch a woman’s breasts. But the punch line was yet to come.

There was a dispute over the cash in the alley. Cretin had given all $75 to Spider’s blond, with whom he had negotiated the price. His brunette yelled, “Who’s got my money?”

“I’ve got it,” said the blond.

“Give it to me,” she said. And with that, the brunette removed her wig and revealed herself to be a guy.

None of us could say anything for a full 60 seconds. Then Spider and I burst out laughing.

Cretin was furious.

Spider looked at Cretin and asked, “When she was bobbing for the banana, didn’t you notice the Adam’s apple?”

Both of us roared with laughter again.

“If I hear a word of this back at the bar, I’ll kill both of you fucks,” said Cretin.

All I could think of was that would have been my date, but for Cretin’s sense of being the alpha dog. And then again, he did pick the brunette specifically.

“I promise I won’t breath a word of this to anyone, until after you’re dead 20 years,” I said. “But then I’m going to tell everybody.”

Getting back through the tunnel can be a bit tricky. Ninth Avenue was the best bet, but Cretin was rattled and led us up to Broadway. In an instant, we were bathed in 20 stories of neon, nine blocks long, as we rolled into Times Square. Traffic crawled through here at the rate of two feet per week. I watched as the other two guys disappeared into a sea of tail lights, but opted not to follow. I thought I knew where they were going — back to the bar — and figured I’d meet them there.

There was something mystical about sitting on a motorcycle, surrounded by every glittering color of the rainbow, at an intensity that would never be found in nature. Horns were blowing... People were attempting to cross the street (through eight lanes of solid traffic)... And somewhere close by, the siren of a police car screamed. I loved it all. It took me forty minutes to cover the 2 miles to the saloon, and no other motorcycles were there.

Above: Times Square At Night. Picture from Wikipedia

Cretin’s paramour in doubt, Niki, was fuming at the bar. She had expected to find him there, so she could bust his balls again, and then was more pissed-off than ever because he wasn’t.

“Hey Niki,” I said. “I like your jeans.” This was the equivalent of saying, “Nice ass.” And she did have a nice ass... Nice everything, in fact.

“Were you with Cretin tonight?” she asked, in a tone that would have done justice to an enraged hawk.


“Was he waving his dick at some street tuna?”

I looked at her with eyes colored blue by the truth, and said “I can assure you that his dick had no contact with a woman tonight.”

“Really?” she asked.

“You have my word on it.”

Cretin, it’s been 20 years since you died. I’m telling everybody this story. But I'd give anything to ride with you again for an hour.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting The Ton Pulled By Someone Else... A Reader Strikes Back!

I’m always delighted when Twisted Roads proves to be a lightning rod for readers responding to stories I’ve written. Paul P. Savagattis (not his real name) is a rider from New Jersey who was so deeply moved by my last blog episode — which detailed the first (and last) time I took a Kawasaki H2 750cc Death Bike over 100 mph — that he was compelled to share a similar experience. The tipping point for Paul was that the stretch of Interstate-80 (I-80) on which I choose to pull the ton (35 years ago) runs right through the town he called home as a kid. He pulled his stunt on US-46, which parallels the interstate, though under slightly different circumstances. And his machine was a BMW “R” Bike.

“Everything Leaves Fingerprints In A Small Town”
By Paul Savagattis (Not His Real Name)

Just west of Willowbrook Mall, on US-46, is my home town of Fairfield, NJ. Once a bucolic, almost rural New Jersey community, Fairfield today is barely on the edge of the great urban sprawl that surrounds the mega-tropolis that is New York City, about 25 miles to the east. Still, it has managed to retain much of its charm and appeal of bygone years, and I do not now live much farther away.

I occasionally rode with a few of my brother's police buddies, who liked my motorcycle cop leather, which consisted of 70 pounds of cow hide, adorned with epaulets. They thought less kindly of the BMW motorcycle I straddled, however, marking it as a symbol of the Third Reich. Their preference was for the Harley Davidson of the period, or just about anything else — including Japanese marques.

There is a one-mile stretch of road on the eastbound side of US-46 that had no highway entries and all cross-roads were on overpasses. It was a great place to open the throttle without fear of drunks entering the roadway. It should also be noted that the local whitetail deer (rats on stilts) had been hunted almost to extermination back then
and were extremely rare. (This is no longer the case.)

Returning from late night dates, I often let the “R” bike run on this stretch... And while never hitting the red line on the tach, I could get an indicated reading of 107 mph on the speedo. Bikes weren’t made the same way they are today, including Beemers, and mine vibrated more than a “Vic Tanny” ass-shaker.

One night, I was ripping along at the speed of light and passed a police car tucked away beneath the concrete pylon of an overpass.

“Fuck me,” I shouted into my helmet, predicting what was likely to be the next step. At the time, Fairfield had many dedicated officers who fell into the category of being total pricks. The fact that this guy was hidden on the median at 1:30am was a good indication that he was taking scalps and mine was next to be hanging from his belt. There could be no explaining 52 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. And a speeding ticket was likely to double my $69 insurance. (Remember he days when $69 bought anything?)

The next exit was mine, and my house was close to the ramp.

I took the turn at the maximum speed possible and ripped into the open garage, coming to a halt next to my brother Tommy’s Triumph Trident. I sat on the bike in total darkness for a minute or two, and noted there were no red and blue flashing lights in my wake. Could the cop have been sleeping? Taking a piss? Reading a book on personality improvement?

I went into the kitchen with the intent of raiding the fridge. My mom kept a police scanner there because her “number two son: Thomas” was a police special volunteer, and because she had been planning a local bank heist for years. The scanner was still droning at 1:30am, and I heard:

(Dispatch) “202.”

(Police car) “202.”

(Dispatch) “What’s going on out there, 202?”

(Police car) “Not much, kind of quiet.... Tommy’s brother just went by here doing over 100 mph, but not much else going on.”

I started laughing my ass off. And then it occurred to me: Black bike... German jugs... Windjammer fairing... and Gestapo riding gear equals “Tommy’s brother.” I decided to limit my life of crime to fewer of these 35-second rides.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Savagattis (Not his real name)

Twisted Roads does not advocate the irresponsible operation of motorcycles, excessive speeding, nor unlawful activity with a motor vehicle. Yet we were all kids once... And once was enough. The publisher defies anyone who has owned a hot-running bike in the past to say they never had a little "bad boy" fun with it. Speaking to the graduating class at the College of Cardinals, Twisted Roads Publisher Jack Riepe once said, "Show me a biker who never passed an RV or a slow moving farm vehicle over double yellow lines, and I'll show you a real douche."

The Rites Of Spring...

Dear Mr. Riepe:

The warm April sun is falling on bunches of daffodils that are scattered about the yard like random crowds at an old-fashioned outdoor concert. They bob in a kind of agreement to each rumor of the gentle breeze, and seem to be waiting expectantly for something... Maybe for the music to start... Actually, they are waiting for the neighbor’s cat to again move among them.

I never had much luck with plants, and was advised that I should talk to those struggling for survival in the garden. (My garden looked like last summer’s yam crop in Uganda, where it rains once every 37 years.) What does one say to plants?

Casual conversation... Motivational thoughts... And personal entreaties to grow all fell upon deaf ears. These plants were resigned to a brief, withering existence. And then, as a last resort, I started reading your book —
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists — from the deck each day. The daffodils began to perk up in less than a week. I noticed they would even turn away from the sun to follow my voice around the yard, as long as I was reading your book aloud. Finally (around chapter 16), I realized the daffodils had developed an apparent collectively aggressive personality.

This became evident one morning, when my neighbor’s cat —Miss Tuffet — came over to take her daily piss in my yard. Cats have a very mediocre sense of smell and their urine is scented so that others of their kind can sense the feline presence. (I can assure you there is not another cat within 20 miles of the yard.) Miss Tuffet went among the daffodils, and let out a wail as they attached themselves to her like lampreys. She jumped the fence to the neighbor’s driveway doing about 60 miles-per-hour. (I think that is very fast for an animal with a fat, furry, useless ass like hers.)

As a neighborly gesture, I cut a dozen of these flowers, put them in water, and gave them to the old bitch next door. I haven’t seen her, nor the cat, in a week.

I bought the book as part of your last promotion, in which you offered one for the price of $30, and a second for the original cover price of $15. I gave the second book to my riding buddy, Irv, who’s been reading it to his mother-in-law’s parakeet. (This objectionable old witch makes the bird take a sunflower seed from her lips for a treat.) I understand the little parakeet ripped the old lady’s tongue out yesterday.

These results are probably not typical, and undoubtedly not worth mentioning. But I though you’d be interested anyway.

Dewey Simko
Amish Curse, Pa

Teeth Like A Chainsaw...

Dear Mr. Riepe:

I found a copy of your book —
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists — on a table at the place where I go to get my nails done. I was having having a bad day, following an argument with “Bill,” my husband of 12 years. Bill is your average guy. He plays golf, cuts the grass, yells at the television, and keeps a nice coat of wax on the car. In his spare time, he is a prick.

I decided I wanted some fun n my life, and opted to get a nice Harley-Davidson for Saturday afternoon rides to a place with a pool table and guys who communicate through animated tattoos. Naturally, Bill raised an objection and said, “No.” I was crushed that he felt this way, and mortified that he thought he could tell me “No.”

That was when I found your book. I started reading it in the bathroom, where I discovered its natural properties as a laxative. Then I found myself reading it in bed at night. Within three weeks, I was amazed to learn my vagina had grown a set of teeth. They were the sort of teeth you’d find on a chainsaw. I further discovered I could audibly grind them whenever Bill gave me that “special” look.

We now have matching Harley’s, our own custom pole cues, and award-winning tattoos — all because you started smoking cigars when you were four-years-old. (You should see how Bill turns pale every time he hears a chainsaw.) And by the way, the two chapters on motorcycles and cigars brought me to tears for their realism and heart-warming conclusions. (Imagine you, crashing you bike in front of a titty bar?) I recently purchased two of your books, at the special rate of $30 for the first one and $15 for the second, so I could share the joy with two of my close personal friends, who are also married to shit heads. They’re now getting motorcycles too. Marge (housewife and bookie) is getting a “Sportster” like mine, and Cheri Pie (exotic dancer with a huge rack) is getting a BMW K1600 and a trained python.

Has anyone else sent you a story like this? Shouldn’t I win a box of Big Jim’s “Insanely Delicious Cookies,” or something?

Yours truly,

Shirley Pinafore
Dago Beach, Ca.

How Can You Own A Copy Of The Book That Improves
At Least One Life* With Every Sale?

* The life most likely improved is the Author's

If you are ordering two books, the first is $30...
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Autographed books increase in value after the author’s death...
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Invest wisely!

The price of a single book is $30, plus $5 S&H

It’s Easy...

A) Email your full name, address, and phone number to:

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D) If the book is a gift to someone else, then tell me something about them., including their first and last name.

E) If ordering the second book to give as a gift:
• Include the gift book’s recipient’s full name, (First and Last), and tell me something about them. (He or she plays golf... He/she rides a motorcycle... He/she hunts,... He/she smokes cheap cigars... Tell me something.)

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