Monday, October 27, 2008

“Leather” Dick Bregstein Rides Again

West Grove, Pa (Oct. 26) -- An air of expectancy settled over this bustling little Pennsylvanian community, as a white garage door went up to reveal a gleaming 2000 BMW R1100R. The limited chrome on the 80-hp motorcycle caught the autumn sun’s rays like a handful of diamonds and the machine was wheeled out into the driveway with quiet ceremony. Five months after being carried away from a devastating accident, Richard Bregstein was again ready to mount another machine that would shortly bear the license plate from his fallen mount.

Dick Bregstein's New 2000 BMW R1100R -- Naked, Classic, Perfect...
Sunday's Inaugural Ride was Bregstein's first day in the saddle, after his 
horrific accident five months ago.
(Photo courtesy of Patty Jacobs -- Click to Enlarge)

The BMW R1100 is a radical departure in style for Bregstein, who has shown a preference for sportier “F” bikes, with final drives drive by chains or belts. Yet it would be hard to define this R1100 as “unsporty.” Virtually naked except for a narrow clear windscreen, this bike is a tasteful confluence of classic Beemer lines and new technology -- especially for a bike that is 8 years old! The style of the seat, the placement of the pegs and a pillion that abruptly ends in a tail light lend this machine a definite stallion attitude.

The rake of the seat, the jaunty oil coolers, and the lines of the tank 
all say "Stallion" on this bike.
(Photo courtesy of Patty Jacobs -- Click to enlarge)

The dated brushed alloy dash, crowned with an analogue clock, chrome riimmed speedo and tach, plus enough lights to decorate the triple tree for Christmas is all classic motorcycle. Yet the eye of the beholder is inevitably drawn below this arrangement to the telelever front end, which looks like art on this bike. The panniers on the back hinted at lengthy trips ahead.

The classic Beemer "R" dash on this bike is all motorcycle. I have admired this 
dash arrangement on other bikes of this type many times before. 
Note the extremely low mileage on this rig, something Bregstein intends to remedy soon.
(Photo by Patty Jacobs -- Click to enlarge)

The paint scheme is tasteful white and pearlescent gray, with yellow trim. The bike looks great and has a sense of mass heightened by the two huge jugs of the classic boxer engine. The generally impression was that this machine is ready to travel.

But was Dick?

Not only was the R1100R Bregstein’s newest acquisition, but it’s inaugural ride home would be Dick’s first real experience on a motorcycle since his incredible accident. Let me remind the gentle reader that Bregstein swerved to avoid an old woman carrying a baby last spring, careened into a huge boulder, and was ejected into the side of a house. His final words on being carried into the ambulance were, “Somebody get some milk for that child.” For his selfless sacrifice, Dick has been the subject of ceaseless emails and conversation, as his peers struggle to understand what happened.

Rumor had it that Dick was going to buy a Suzuki V-Strom, though close friends refused to comment on a possible marque defection to another theater of the Axis. And others saw him looking at an F650GS at Hermy’s, but his color of choice, plaid, was unavailable. It was Clyde Jacob who brokered the sale of the R1100R to Bregstein for a third party, after first showing him the bike and plying him with cheap Scotch. Bregstein regained consciousness in a Chinatown back alley, thousands of dollars poorer, and said, “I’m an Oilhead now.” (For those who do not know BMW's and who are sick of reading about them in this blog, the "R" bikes are oil and air-cooled; hence the name "Oihead." When Dick had his old F650 with the chaindrive, he was a member of the "Chain Gang.")

Last minute adjustments were executed with quiet precision, and Clyde went through each of the bike’s features as the final epic moment drew near. At the stroke of 1:45pm, Dick Bregstein emerged from the garage encased in black leather from head to toe. He has held a number of endearing nicknames over the past couple of years, ranging from “Bundt Cake” Bregstein to “Bermuda Triangle” Bregstein. At present, he is known as “Stone Mason” Bregstein, and I couldn't help but think the time had come to lay that moniker to rest.

"Leather" Dick Bregstein about to take his inaugural ride on the R1100R
The bike is a classic and so is Dick in many regards.
I was honored to be asked to participate in this event. I have covered more 
miles with Dick Bregstein in the past three years than with anyone else.
(Great photo courtesy of Patty Jacobs, at the direction of his wife Patty -- Click to enlarge)

He was now “Leather” Dick Bregstein. A name that will endure for the ages, or until I find a better one.

Dick threw his leg over the seat, made himself comfortable, and pressed the starter. The bike caught in a second or two with that reassuring sound so distinctive to boxer engines whether they are brand new or 50 years old. It is an understatement of class and reliability.

"Leather" Dick is all smiles as he is about to recapture the last two months of
the 2008 Riding Season.
(Photo courtesy of Patty Jacobs -- Click to enlarge)

We were on US-1 five minutes later. Bregstein put the bike through its paces conservatively at first, playing with the throttle and checking out the handling at 55mph. I watched him try a little dancing to see how well the machine could swerve, then laughed as he changed lanes a few times, opening the throttle to pass slower moving cages. I knew he was about to scratch the "itch." We followed Route 10 up to Gap (or thereabouts), where Bregstein shouted, “This is great,” when stopped at a light.

Traffic was light on the Rt. 30 by-pass and Dick picked up the pace, eventually passing through 80mph. The R100R growled in compliance, and sounded like a classic flying machine -- a zeppelin, perhaps -- in a power climb.

More than 70 tons of wet leaves covered Dick’s street like the aftermath of a natural ticker-tape parade. Bregstein deftly maneuvered his new bike through the tree scum and detritus, shot up the driveway, and blew into his garage. He jumped off the bike and gave me a high-five that I will long remember.

I was honored that Dick asked me to accompany him on this historic personal milestone of a ride, and look forward to many more in the future. As many of you are aware, a staggering percentage of my adventures have been with Dick over the past three years. I have discovered that Dick adds a special dimension to any ride. Dick's response to just about any suggestion is, "Okay. That sounds good."

"Leather" Dick Bregstein rides again!

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2008
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


John said...

Jack, nice write up of a good occasion. Great to have Dick back in the saddle. Dick was part of the 4 man group that went exploring Vermont during the rally there, one of my best riding days, ever.

Just so people do not beat on you. What Dick bought is an "oilhead". The Airhead name is reserved for the older style R engines produced before 1986. The newer R bikes are called Oilheads to avoid confusion.

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
It was so kind of you to chauffeur me to Clyde and Patty's house to pick up my new 8-year-old bike and to keep an eye on me as I took the inaugural run.
The real reason I bought this bike is that Clyde threatened to vote the full Democratic ticket if I didn't. Okay, the real story is that for just about five months I've felt incomplete without a bike. This one will serve us well on our many future riding adventures. It's relatively new (less than 5000 miles on the odometer) and runs smooth and sturdy with that distinctive BMW "clunk" into gear. It handles well, and I think it will be a safer alternative for me than my now deceased F800ST, BMW's attempt at a crotch rocket.
Looking forward to racking up lots of miles with you.
Your riding buddy. . .

Unknown said...

My best wishes to you, Dick.

I think you can eliminate that "clunk" when you shift by pre-loading the shift lever with your toe before you release the clutch and shift. Works for me on my beemer...

Anonymous said...

Dick, Congratulations on your new bike and hurray for getting back in the saddle. Maybe we need to organize a ride of only folks who have crashed recently.

So what I love about hanging around Riders is this. After my crash and broken bones this summer I got calls from both rider and non-rider friends as I am sure you did. The non-rider friends would cringe when I told them about my injuries. My rider friends would just tell me their crash story and give a laugh since we knew we both survived.
Enjoy your new ride and I'll see you on the road.
Jack, Thanks for a great story. This one actually seems true.

Anonymous said...

Dick has not only get back in the saddle, but to have the Lindbergh Baby as escort. I hope he has many more happy miles this year and in the future.

Joe S.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John:

I can't believe I got the "Airhead" designation wrong. I'll have to change the text immediately. Thank you for pointing this out to me.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

I am dieting like mad for the next two weeks and exercising to get that knee bent. I bet we can do a short run sometime this week.

Good luck on your new bike!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

Thank you for your kind advice and experise. Dick is also have trouble calibrating his iambic pentameter.

Fondest regards,

MackBeemer said...


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jack (Weiss):

Thank you for your kind remarks about this story, and your congratulatory statement regarding Dick's triumph. As one who has crashed, I agree with your assessment of the situation. The riders laugh and the "the souless" cringe.

By the way, interesting comment on the veracity of my stories. Are you good at word games? Can you figure this one out: KMA. Your name has been mentioned in the monthly reader's meals contest.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Sestrich:

Your confidence in me is exceeded only by your ability to ride a dirt bike in a barren field and get pulled off by the only vine in 5 square miles.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mack:

I have warned you about your verbose responses to issues presented on this blog. Could you try to be more concise in your next reply?

Bregstein looked like hot shit on this new rig yesterday.

Fondest regards,

Unknown said...

Dick, I can't believe you risked a ride in Jack's Suburban. Man, you got balls. :D

Great looking bike, I'm sure it'll like being ridden more than a couple hundred miles a year. Congrats.

Dave Misevich
Dexter, MI

Anonymous said...

If you are going to leave this world you may as well do it in style. Enjoy and don't forget to tell Mom where we can find a copy of your will!

ps Jack - Thanks for the update

MattPie said...

On R-bike naming: and to be pedantic, the newest R-bikes (the R1200s) are 'hex-head', since the cylinders heads are 6-sided.

Congrats, Dick. The R1100R is a fine looking bike, and I love the silver paint and yellow accent.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Matt:

Is there any way that Dick's R1100R could be unique? That way it could be called a "Dick" head.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Alison:

Your dad is leaving everything to the two cats. I'd be pissed if I were you.

Fondest regards,

Michael Evans said...


Another Dick riding around on a Beemer...

...did I say that out loud?

Great to have Breg back, and in a way I'm delighted that he did not cross over to the land of reasonable bike repair part & labor rates - the clique of MAC-PACrs that don't ride beemers aren't terribly welcoming to new members. It is a dangerous bunch that lives life in the oncoming lane and does well at getting others to pay for their meals. Hmmm....on second thought Dick fits both of those criteria.

Anyway...if the R-bike doesn't start - I"m so NOT pushing it up a hill for you.

Mike Evans

redlegsrides said...


great writeup on Dick's new bike, you could sell snow to eskimos with that writing....

always good to read/hear of a rider who's back in the saddle after a bad accident! Many thousands of safe riding miles to you guys.


irondad said...

Airheads, oilheads? Nobody wants to be called an airhead no matter what kind of bike it is.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike (Evans)

"Great... Another Dick riding around on a Beemer!"

I realize how much of a disappointment this story must have been to you. I understand that you were looking forward to riding side by side with another Mac-Pac member on a Suzy... Sharing little mechanical tips and private jokes about sushi... And slyly making fun of the kraut bikes all around you.

Fate bites like a snake, doesn't it. And you probably won't win the riders' meal contest either.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dave (Misevich):

What is it today? Get the fat guy in a circle and kick the hell out of him day?

Thank you for your kind comment.

As ever, you have been entered into the readers' meals contest.

Fondest regards,

Woody said...

Congrats Dick! I put 15,000 very enjoyable miles on the same year/model/color :-)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Thank you for your kind note. Riding with Dick Bregstein is one of the most fun things I have ever done. And now it looks like the fun is about to start over again.

Fondest regards,

Bloom said...

Dear Jack,
Thanks for capturing the memories... next time get the photo credits right.
Congrats, again, to Dick. He looked fit as a fiddle, and so happy with his new ride.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Patty:

I thought Clyde took the pictures. No? And Dick looked like a varsity football player about to get the MVP award on Sunday.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Dear Dick,

Even though this says anonymous, you will know the source.....

As a former K bike owner who now rides a Harley because the wife couldn't see in the rearview mirrors when we were 2 up (Could anyone have less balls...), it is GREAT to see "Leather" Dick complete with a set settling into such a GREAT looking ride....

If I weren't on my way to St. Maarteen to see the French half of the island complete with many nubile females sans clothes, I would be on the landline to you with my heartfelt congrats and wishes of fair winds and smooth riding on that silvery beast.

I can only imagine what I could rangle out of you with a threat of ME voting democrat.

Our door is always open, and the firearms are at the ready for playtime.

Ride safe and often. I'll bet Jane and Allison are plotting against the cats to have that will changed.

Ride safe and often my great friend!

From the Carribean,

Bruce (Monica too...)

DC said...

Congratulations. Your new bike is THE model BMW I lusted after when it first came out. I love the colour scheme. Only 4k miles, too! I won't make Jack's Nov 2 ride due to a commitment, but enjoy the ride.
Dave Case
(oh yeah..."hi, Jack")

DC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Dear Mr Bregstein --

I am certain that I am not alone among this crowd in looking forward to the unique thrill of riding with a Leather Dick in the near future.

Seriously Dick, glad to see you back in the saddle and best of luck with your new mount.

Charlie S

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bruce and Monica:

I'm sure Dick read your heartfelt note about his return to motorcycling on Sunday. I am personally gratified to see that a friend of his, outside our mutual circle, is now also calling him "Leather" Dick.

It's nice to know that others see the same things in Bregstein that I do.

Thank you for your comment. Now would you mind sending me the story of how your wife brow best you into getting a Harley?

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear DC (Dave Case):

It's always a pleasure to hear from you. You should have seen Dick go on Sunday. I wondered if he'd find the new riding configuration a challenge at first, but he took to it like a duck to a belt sander.

Too bad we won't see you on Sunday.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Irondad:

The "Airhead" wears that designation proudly. If you scan back a few of these stories, you will come to one about a vintage ride organized by Todd Trumbore. All of the Beemer riders were "Airheads," and you should have seen their bikes, ranging in age from 55 to 35 years old. All are ridden on the street routinely... Some of these guys ride these bikes to rallies hundreds of miles away.

So being called an "Airhead" under these circumstances is something of an honor. Now being called "Fatass" is something else. That is the name I have come to mean me at many of these functions.

Your name has been entered into the monthy readers meals contest.

Fondest regards,

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie S.

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Your name has been entered into the monthly readers' meals contest.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Jack, one look at the smile on Dick's face says it all.
Beautiful ride, love the color scheme also.
Glad that you both were able once again, to ride together.

Grandad 43
PS 14

Jack Riepe said...

Hey Grandad43:

Are you up for a local ride out through Lancaster to an authentic British Pub on Sunday? If so, shoot me a line on the e-mail at the upper right on this blog.

See you on Sunday.


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Dick,

Nice motorbike. You had me worried there for a moment. I thought you were about to change allegence and start to plan rides with that fellow of questionable character, Mike Evans.

Terrific write-up as usual Jack although I was just as dissappointed as Dick was when I didn't get to hear your new theme song "Wicked Twisted Roads" when I signed on to your blog....Oh well maybe next time.

Before you venture to far from home, you better have Jack assist you in checking all your fluid levels.

All the best with your new ride,Dick. It's a beauty, and I can't wait to see it on the road.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Todd:

Believe it or not... You and Laura were the first to sign up for 'The Dick Bregstein Resurrection Ride on Sunday.

This is going to be a short ride without surprises, probably about 100 miles, ending up at a great place for lunch.

This is going to be fun.

Fondest regards,

Sojourner's Moto Tales said...

Oh boy...did this give me great pleasure to read. Wonderful review of the bike too! To see Dick looking so good after his recuperation bring a smile to me. And, his smile--that says it all --it made me feel as if I were there with him/you. Nice to know that you were able to be there for the joyous coming out celebration!

That's a mighty fine looking bike! Gosh I envy him!

Anonymous said...

Just spent an enjoyable few minutes reading back a few months. I just got my own bike back from Hermys after several weeks without it, and I'm young again.