Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In The Beginning... There Was Whistler

Whistler is a wilderness ski area in British Columbia like Manhattan is a remote borough of New York City . If glittzy hotels, shoulder-to-shoulder theme bars, restaurants representing the cuisine of the world (provided you don’t travel much), and high speed chairlifts running like the assembly lines from hell could be converted into armor plate, Whistler would be a battleship. (To see pictures of Whistler, go to my friend Bob Scoot’s blog. Titled, bobskoots: wetcoastscootin, it has been among my destinations list for a long time now.) Whistler is heaven if you look like Brad or Angelina, ski like an automaton, and hump like a jackhammer. I only qualified in one of these categories and I can do that in the back of my truck.

Yet the love of my life -- Leslie -- was a champion downhill racer in high school and her dad (the troll) is a skiing aficionado as well. No one was less delighted than I to learn these two had purchased a condo on the slopes of Whistler “Village,” and that they planned on spending six weeks there every winter. It was like discovering that a winter wonderland would be shoved up your ass part of January, February, and March. However, my late Irish grandfather, Patrick “Nitro” O’Riepe was something of a philosopher and he used to say, “It’s an ill wind that doesn’t blow somebody.” Little did I know that person would be me.

One or two seasons of bad snow (it happens there too), family vacations that didn’t materialize (You can get to France faster than Whistler from the east coast.) and the lure of the Olympics caused the two real estate mavericks to unload the condo, making an obscene profit. They sold in the summer, loaded what impedimenta they kept into a rental truck, and drove home across the country. They got stuck in a small, nondescript South Dakota town in the middle of a bizarre festival. The town was “Sturgis.” The festival was “The Rally.”

Leslie was entranced by thousands of leather-clad women jazzing Harleys, stretching out on Harleys, burning up the tires on Harleys, drinking beer on Harleys, and (some) even riding Harleys. She described the women as tattooed, jeweled, and wearing leather like other women wore perfume: barely on their skin. They were statuesque Amazons and Viking goddesses. It is my understanding that her dad thought some kind of leather, sex circus was in town. He found it less funny when the first hotel with a couple of rooms for the night was 200 miles away.

Leslie called me from her cell phone as they crawled through traffic on Main Street. “What’s going on,” she asked. “There’s a guy holding up a sign that says, ‘Show us your ticks.’ Why are they looking for ticks?”

“Sweetie, look at the sign again. The nice man doesn’t give a shit about ticks. And if he comes up to the truck, kick your old man out into the street. They’ll tear him apart,” I said. I then explained to her the religious significance of Sturgis to iron mined in Milwaukee. I advised her not to get out of the truck

“It’s a great place,” I said, “if you look like Sonny Barger, ride like Cochise, and like Jello.”

“They eat Jello,” asked Leslie.

“No, they like their women to roll around in it.”

Leslie told me that she saw that Kevin Costner was supposed to be leading a ride someplace. “Go on line and see what events are listed for today,” she asked.

“There are several,” I replied, looking at the computer. “There is a chicken choking contest at 12:30pm, a pickle sucking contest at 2pm, and a wet tee shirt contest at 5pm. The ladies open invitational lime jello booby trap removal event is slated for 8pm tonight, provided the authorities can’t beat the location out of a captured drunk.”

“Are you making this up?”

“Believe me, babe,” I said. “I wish I was there.”

The upshot of this whole adventure was that Leslie informed me that we would be getting motorcycles upon her return. My girlfriend had just driven through Sturgis, and ordered me to get a motorcycle. Had I died at that moment, I would have been in heaven.

Two months later we were enrolled in a motorcycle safety course with about a dozen other adventurers and free-booters. Leslie never waited beyond the first night of the course. She wandered into a Harley dealership in Delaware, where the vampire in charge sat her on five different models, letting her start three of the more expensive ones in the showroom! (You read those last three words correctly. This viper was the smartest salesperson I ever met.) He wanted her to feel the bikes come alive and vibrate! I started to say something at one point, but he nodded, and two goons threw me out in the alley.

But all his bikes were black.

The winner was discovered at a Honda dealership two days later. This dealer had exactly what Stiffie/Leslie wanted: a pearlescent white and silver Aero Shadow (retro Harley looking) with the extra lighting package, a windscreen, crash bars, saddle bags (with studs) and a Mustang aftermarket saddle. Leslie/Stiffie whipped out the old American Express card, took the bike, and bought some riding gear that was being modeled by an Elvis impersonator. The card wasn’t even warm when she put it back in her wallet. The dealer, a pimp if I ever saw one, then said, “And we have a large support group of riders, a great bunch of guys, who’d be happy to go out with you.”

The Winner -- Leslie's 2005 Honda Aero Shadow
A reliable, comfortable, classic-looking motorcycle
(Photo courtesy Leslie Marsh -- Click to enlarge)

“You miserable, fuck,” I thought, taking a fast look around to see where they kept the goons in this place. My reflex action was stake this bastard down in his coffin.

It became apparent to me that I had to get a bike quickly. But Leslie and I move in very different social and financial circles. Most of our neighbors explain my presence as the mentally disturbed handiman she hired to do some simple thing, who then refused to leave. The local grammar school runs a history tour for the second grade through our driveway. The teachers tell the kids, “See! There’s a truck that’s older than you. Does anyone know the name of that brown stuff on the metal? It eats paint like you eat peanut butter.” The last time they showed up I turned the garden hose on them.

As a professional writer, I had to buy a motorcycle with what little I could scrape up in tips from under the tables of publishers. Nobody can skin a nickel like a publisher. Even in good years, tips are scanty. I would be buying a used bike. Just how used I had no idea.

It had been 25 years since I last owned a motorcycle. That bike was a Kawasaki S2 750, the fastest production motorcycle of its day, a vicious two-stroke street bike, with the most primitive appointments and a nasty habit of exterminating its rider. It was known as the “Widow Maker.”

Motorcycles have changed since then. They now come in three flavors -- plus one. The flavors are Harleys, cruisers, sportbikes, and something else. Harley’s are simply the sexiest motorcycles ever built. I knew a lot of guys who had Harleys. All of their clothes were stained with oil. They carried wrenches like they were a fashion statement. But these guys claimed their girlfriends could unwrap condoms and install them using only their teeth. I didn’t think I could pull this off.

I started looking at used cruisers. It was the summer, and there were no bargains. The cheap ones looked like shit and the decent ones were priced like chrome gold. I didn’t like what I could afford. And to be quite honest, I didn’t like the feel of the expensive ones I couldn’t afford either. One dealer suggested that this feeling might be linked to my huge gut. I told him that life was full of compromises and that I was as thin as Mahatma Ghandi when I got a hard-on.

I had no interest in sportbikes.

Time was running out. Some asshole named Brett was calling from the Honda dealer’s with ride suggestions.

I mentioned my dilemma to a couple of friends of mine. To my utter amazement, both were riders and members of a highly secretive religious order of Teutonic Knights. This was the “plus one” among the flavors. I had no idea that either of these guys had any interest in motorcycles. One had three BMW motorcycles. The other had nine of the same marque. I visited with one who brought me into his garage. It was dark in there. He hit a switch and concealed lighting revealed each of the nine bikes, and a small covered table in the center of the room. Some of the bikes had an odd sideways jugged appearance to them. Several others looked like they had to take a shit. I had never seen motorcycles like these before.

“Are you feeling nervous,” said my friend Lee. “Relax. This is my garage... My temple... My inner sanctum.” Yet as he said these things, I noticed he had started to roll his R’s.

“It is a warm day. Please... Drink this Kool-Aid,” said Lee.
He removed the cloth cover to reveal a smiling pitcher with eyes for roundels. “It is very refreshing.” I awoke in my bed at home, with a burning desire for sauerbraten.

Then my other pal, Pete, called me. He had just sold a great bike to a guy who had proven unworthy... That if I acted fast, I could probably get this bike for a good price... But that I must not debase myself by haggling... And that I should pay the money without question. For good luck, Pete sent me a huge seed pod, telling me I should put it alongside my bed as soon as I got it.

My pal Pete Buchheit in his inner sanctum sanctorum. Pete likes to dress up in leather and take his own picture two or three times a month. Then he sends them to strangers.
(Photo courtesy of Pete B. -- Click to enlarge)

The bike was an 18-year-old BMW K75. It looked brand new. The unworthy man wanted $5,000. I laughed in his face. That kind of money would have bought me ten 18-year-old Japanese motorcycles.

“Will you be found unworthy as was I,” asked the seller. “The gods of Siegfried only ask once.”

I offered him $4600, knowing that this sum was absurdly extravagant too. My thought was to insult him into ending the conversation.

“I’ll take forty-seven hundred dollars,” was his reply!

I hesitated, looking at the ugliest and oldest motorcycle with the strangest fairing that I had ever seen.

“Are you so poor a man that you do not have an extra hundred dollars to meet your destiny,” said the seller. “I did not think you were the type who would rather have the world think you had a small dick rather than pay the extra $100 bucks.”

I threw the $4700 in his face.

“Ride it over to my house,” I said. I did not want him to think I could not get on this motorcycle. So I did not attempt it to avoid confirming his suspicions. The seat was three inches higher than my crotch. And so I bought an 18-year-old-motorcycle that I had never sat on, for more money than I would have spent over a lifetime in the pleasure palaces of Phuket.

"Blue Balls" had the most incredible curved lines of any K75. Yar Seever's white K75 is just beyond at "Buckingham Lumber," a legendary merchantile fixture in these parts. I remember this day well. I met Yar for the first time at a "firehouse breakfast" on a Sunday morning. It was the first time in 25 years that I rode a motorcycle on the Turnpike. I told Yar that I was wary of the curves. He showed me the right way to take 'em. Ten minutes later, I watched him dodge a car and go right through a ditch full of water. He did not drop the bike. No injuries.
(Photo Courtesy of Yar Seevers -- Click to enlarge)

Leslie looked at the bike like it was part giraffe and part emu. She framed me with those beautiful (though penetrating) eyes and said, “You bought this piece of modern art because the guy said it would mean you had a small dick if you didn’t, right?”

I nodded.

“Well, I’m glad you didn’t trade the family cow for a pocket of magic beans,” she added.

“How does the seat feel?” asked Leslie.

“Good,” I said, looking at the ground.

“You didn’t sit on it, did you?”

My silence would have lied but Leslie was already onto me.

“How much did you pay for this?” she asked.

“He got it all.”

“Honestly, Jack.” And that was all she said.

Later that day, she would read aloud to me from a book titled, “Motorcycle Riding For Assholes and Morons,” stating that BMW’s were specifically not recommended for re-entry riders owing to their top-heavy nature. (The bikes, not the riders.)

The Sprint Fairing gave my 1986 K75 a one-of-a-kind look. I am seen here with Tony Luna (Vulcan Al) on the Delaware River, parked between Mack Harrell's new BMW GS on the left, and Tony's BMW K1200R on the right. Tony had done a track day the week before. 
His GPS still recorded his top speed of 147 mph. This was the day that Perditions Socks named Walter Kern "A Fellow Of The Road." It was my first ride of the season that year. 
(Photo courtesy of Mack Harrell -- Click to enlarge)

Three days later I moved the K75 out of the garage. It was like shoving a block of iron. I thrust myself up into the seat, hit the “choke” lever (on the handlebars, where it logically belongs), and tapped the starter button. The motorcycle whined into life. The tach needle jumped and a series of warning lights came on and off as each system checked in. A yellow dash light remained on to tell me the choke was still engaged. (It isn’t really a choke but an idle advance with two settings as the 18-year-old BMW K75 was fuel injected, a detail the new Honda lacked.) I jockeyed the Beemer around between my legs. It was like sitting on the top of a flagpole, trying to lever a block of concrete across a muddy field.

“This blows,” I thought. “How could I have been so stupid. Well, fuck it. Into the breech.”

I pulled in the clutch and snicked the bike into gear. This automatically raised the side stand: another feature of the 18-year-old BMW.

It was the oddest sensation. Imagine sitting in a lifeguard’s chair with power tilt. It felt as if I were 40 feet off the ground. But the slightest pressure on the handlebars would lean this sucker over under a hint of power. It became weightless after rolling only an inch or too... And amazingly enough, so did I. Unlike the cruisers I had been sitting on, the seating arrangement leaned me a trifle forward and down. The handlebars were the “S” bars for this bike, which were really narrow. This translated into some really tight steering.

Still, Leslie’s heart was breaking for me. (Actually, it was. She simply said, "Sell it, if you can, and get another one. No big deal.")

Here was my first bike as a deteriorating adult, and I had bought a freak with all my money. She let me ride her Aero Shadow so my feelings wouldn’t be hurt. This gave me an interesting running comparison. Adding to my depression, I had just failed the motorcycle safety course. This was the only driving test I had ever botched. I celebrated by telling the instructor he was “a little shit.” This guaranteed my bridges vaporized as they burned. Fortunately, Leslie passed the course and was able to tell me what it felt like to have a motorcycle endorsement -- all the way home in the car.

(It should be noted here that Leslie never hesitated. She retook the course again -- without any need other than to encourage me -- to make sure I didn't blow a fuse, wet my pants, or run away. And once again, she got a higher score than I did.) 

Pete Buchheit's R/7 and my 1986 K75 among the falling leaves at Elkneck State Park in Maryland. The park was shutting down for the season and it was barely warm enough to sit outside without a coat. Nothing adds to the atmosphere like woodsmoke. I lit a cigar.
Photo courtesy of Pete Buccheit -- Click to enlarge)

But the damnedest thing was happening. I started to really like this K75. Granted, this was out of necessity at first. But I could carve a turn on the Beemer with less effort and faster than the longer, heavier Shadow. Despite the fact that they were both 750’s, the K75 had a lot more get up and go. The Honda started to seriously catch its breath at 82 mph. At 103 mph, the K75 still had a grand to go before hitting the red line. I was amazed. After each ride, the Honda had to have the bugs wiped off its chrome. A narrow forked tongue flicked out of the BMW’s headlight and it ate the bugs.

The turning point came on the day I got confused by the automatic retracting side stand, and dropped the bike. Fortunately, it fell on me. The adrenalin surged through my body like an electric current. With strength I didn’t know I had, I righted the machine. A crowd gathered to jeer. I killed them with flaming Godzilla vapor from my mouth.

Raw sentiment poured from my lips. I called the slightly wounded bike “My darling... The spirit of the Rhine... My Bavarian Bitch... The ecstacy between my legs...”

And I told it I loved her.

I loved her self-canceling turn signals. I loved her emergency flashers that could be activated from either the turn signals or a button on the dash. I loved her fuel injection and the resulting 71 horsepower (a statistic that you must hire a detective to learn about many other bikes). I loved her dual disk front brakes (another item missing from the Honda). I loved the powerlet electrical socket under the seat. And I loved that all of these things were standard on this bike in 1986 (before many of today’s SQUIDs were even born) .

I got the bike back to the garage and took a long sip of the Kool-Aid. Actually, it was rum and coke. Leslie was doing something in the kitchen. “Did you have an okay ride on your strange motorcycle?” she asked, over her shoulder. Not getting an answer, she turned... And gasped.

I was standing there, wearing chain mail and winged helmet. In my hand was a brilliant sword, marked with a radiant circle divided by quarters, crowned by three letters. “The jackhammer wiener schnitzel is on me,” I said, rolling my R’s. My trasmagorification was almost complete. I was becoming a Teutonic Knight.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA The Mighty Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)


Mr. Cupcake said...

Dear Jack

The new color scheme is much easier on the eyes, so thank you for that.

I swear I can see someone with a shotgun and a mean look in the doorway of the Harley dealer. Of course, it could be my eyesight hasn't fully recovered from the old color scheme.

Unknown said...

The good ol' Jack Riepe style remains in good form. I knew your Blog looked different, but it was easy to read. The more words I devour, the more I want. I am always fascinated in the way your words flow. I particularly like your automatic retracting side stand and factory installed tachometer which comes with your model of bike as standard equipment.
Very entertaining story tonight and thank you again, for your kind words

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

sgsidekick said...

Miss all the purty colors, but it is easier to read. Thanks!

My minds' eye could actually picture everything you wrote about, which explains why everything is now fuzzy and my head hurts.

Very entertaining!

Baron's Life said...

Jack, well written story, very entertaing. The K75 has always been considered an excellent machine as is the K100...Bavarian excellence...Didn't know you were familiar with Phuket or Patpong in
The acceleration on these babes is jut can leave a lot of people in the dust..They look ugly to some but theyperform and in the end beauty is the the eye of the beholder as they say..A Beemer ride...yes any time.
Keep well

RichardM said...

That is a great story. You described what I felt like when I came home with a 25 year old R100RT. Kind of like "what have I done?" The Kool Aid is very refreshing ...

redlegsrides said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
redlegsrides said...

A great yarn Mr Riepe.

Not only is the kool-aid refreshing, it's highly addictive.

I've mentioned before that my first motorcycle and your Leslie's were twins right? LINK

Your remark about the Honda running out of breath at 82pmh reminded me of a ride on my own Honda 750 where it couldn't hold 70mph, on the I-70 slab, during a strong headwind.....ah memories.

in the end, I proved too tall for this motorcycle, much adjustments and riding later and after a "remark" from my wife while she was following me in the minivan, led to my owning my first BMW about 24 hrs later....

You do paint such vivid pictures with your words.

Unknown said...

Love it, Jack. I took your hint and added another post to my Mayberryesque blog. And I'm starting to figure out what kool aid is.

Unknown said...


I'm rubbing my eyes in disbelief, It's as if I read your article last night, and this morning all the pictures have changed. My eyes must be playing tricks on me, or it's my memory gooooinng . . .

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Cupcake (Bugser):

I am told that the old color scheme varied in quality and clarity from screen to screen. It would stand to reason that the nature of reverse type is somewhat "fuzzy," and tiring to the eyes. So the current swith seems justifie, and likely permanent.

The Harley dealer picture dropped out after I had a huge screw-up and eliminate 7 paragraphs of text. This happened at 2am, and Stiffie had to take charge.

I hope you got to read the entire original story.

Thank you again, you old baked confection you, for reading and writing in.

Fondest regards,

sgsidekick said...

Man, I THOUGHT something was screwy with your story when I went back into it this morning! It DID seem a bit longer! I'll make sure Mr. Cupcake takes another gander at it. The story is longer, and there's more pictures! I tell you, I've learned more swear words dealing with modern technology than from Ron, who is a truck driver!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Reply #1 -- Thank you for the nice note you sent me regardimg my new blog text. You always know the right thing to say. From it's inception, the BMW K75 line (1986 to 1995) were build with retracting side stands as a safety measure. A linkage to the clutch mechanism retracts the kick stand as the clutch lever is pulled in. It makes that first pull somewhat stiff. There is no resistance on the lever after the stand is up, or if the stand is retracted manually.

All modern motorcycles today use a micro switch to kill the motor if a gear is selected with the stand down. I prefer this system because I can't always move my leg that easily. What I really regret is that there is no way to LOWER the kickstand from the handlebars.

There have been days where I could barely bring my foot up to the peg, let along flip that stand down.

Thank you reading and commenting.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tena:

Thank you you for taking the time to read this crap and to comment like it actually added something to your day! The sad truth is that with very little exception, all of ths stuff happened like I described it. My life is a magnet for the absurd.

Did I buy a motorcycle without sitting on it?


Why did I buy it?

Your friends will never screw you. Pete Buchheit and Lee Kazanas told me to shut up, pay the absurd amount of money, and get the bike.

They said I'd never regret it. I never did.

Isn't that just the craziest thing?

I can always count on you, Tena.
Fondest regards,

Conchscooter said...

Still isn't a Triumph. Even though it is easier to read which may be a disadvantage as more people get sucked in and have their brains reduced to jello and go out and buy retracting sidestand motorcycles in the fond hope of also becoming Teutonic Knights. But only certain bards have the words to do that, 71 whorespower or no.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Baron's Life:

I noted that your response was received at 11:50pm EST. On or about that time, I had a technical glitch with this episode, and lost 7 paragrahs of the original text. Attempts to correct the problem had me screaming like a madman. And then I screwed up the pictures too.

I started over around 1am, and had to begin from scratch. So I wonder if you just read some typo-ridden stuff that had some very abrupt transitions in it.

Then again, you may have thought it was an improvement.

Initially, I rode the Beemer like the Honda. My pal Lee Kazanas told me straight out, "Keep the RPMs up around 4 grand, especially in 4th gear."

What a difference that made! This will never be a record setter or a SQUID runner, but she gets out into traffic just fine, and will pass in the 65 - 85mph range like nobody's business.

And that 1986 with the Sprint fairing was just beautiful. (A bitch to work on, however.)

Thank you for writing in. Once again, I hope you got to see the whole story.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard Machida:

I had to laugh when I read your comments. Ain't it the truth? And now I'm over it. If I had the money, I'd have four K75's (in different configurations) and a K1300GT. There reaches a point where some peole het it, and others, well... Screw 'em.

Thanks for wrirting in, Rich.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom);

The Honda was everything I described. It was reliable, sound, comfortable, and very stable. But the K75, itself regarded by many as somewhat staid, could ride rings around it.

And at the end of a relatively easy 250-mile ride, you weren't fatigued from vibration (built into the Honda) or from the extra effort getting it through the curves.

I used to maintain that it was softer on the ass, but even that maybe subject to change, with my new seat.

Thank you again for the kind comments regarding my blog. Just as the color scheme has changed, look for some philosophical changes in the text too. I will be writing a lot more straight stories as of next week.

It is your influence on me.

Thanks for being such a loyal reader and a good friend.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Rogers:

You and Val have been out with me and Leslie. You know this story was all true!

I like reading your stuff. But I bet you have enough material to split your blog into "Mushroom Topics" and "Motorcycle Topics."

I suspect you have some great riding stories... And I'm planning on joining you for some new ones! The Delaware shore beckons.

Thanks for reading my stuff and contributing.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bob Skoot:

I had a vicious technical problem and had to start all over again around 1am. I couldn't find all the pictures I used the first time, and used a few others.

This is my busy time of the year and I get shot out of cannon for work this weekend. Still, it is the excitement of PR and all that.

That's why the work looked all different in the light of day!

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

Your comfort is a primary consideration here at Twisted Roads. I am now carrying a stolen hotel towel in my bike's tail piece so it will be easier on your knees when you kneel in fron of my K75, and tremble when unseen forces raise the kickstand at my bidding.

Fondest regards,

Grandad 43 said...

Jack, another great narrative. Yes, your k75 was ahead of its' time with the standard features.
I also, fondly recall the day when Walt was honored at Bucks Bounty.

Grandad 43
PS 14

cpa3485 said...

Talking about buyer's remorse!

It was on a Saturday afternoon when I bought the scooter. I had driven it a little bit in a big parking lot before I signed the papers. The dealer was careful to show me where all the controls and features were including the turn signals, kill switch, brakes, etc.

Mind you I had done what I thought was an extensive amount of research about what type of scooter I wanted and had narrowed the decision down to about 3 or 4 brands and configurations. I ruled out Vespas early in the process because frankly, the dealer here in our town is an asshole! Vespas are great machines, my daughter has one, but I just don't particularly like the way they look, and didn't want to use the dealer.

Anyway, I rode the scooter home from the dealership and my wife followed me home in our car. I parked in our driveway and used the kill switch to turn it off. Many of you now know where this story is headed. I went into the kitchen, got a drink of water, and proudly announced to my wife that I was "going for a ride".

Got on the scooter,
Hit the starter,
Nothing happened,
Tried again,
Nothing, not even a noise,
Hmmmm' I thought, this isn't good,
Maybe it needs to cool off a bit,
Tried again,
Cuss words start flowing,
I am known for not always being very patient,
Tried the starter again,
You know the answer by now,
More colorful language,
My lovely wife, as she has known to do in these moments says "calm down, and call the dealer".
By this time I am thinking that I just spent $4,000 on a piece of crap. I am thinking about taking it back. Maybe I should have looked closer at the Kymco.
When the dealer answered the phone, the first thing out of my mouth was, "I got home okay, but now the friggin thing won't start! (only I didn't say friggin)
He of course knew right away that by using the kill switch to turn it off, that I had forgotten to turn it back on again.

And of course it fired right up the next time.

Boy did I feel like a jerk! The resulting ride was fantastic. The scoter has never failed to start since.

And I have never touched the kill switch since then!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

That happens to a lot of people... And certainly not just the scooter crowd... And certainly not just new riders. I have no idea why people shut off the bike by hitting the kill switch, other than an emergency.

But I tell you this, on the rare occasions when I have not gotten an immediate start, that's thre first thing I look for.

Thank you for reading my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

fasthair said...

Mr. Jack: As always another great vivid read. Sorry I haven't been around just to much going on. Haven't even had time to do much on my blog either. Got to admit the new seat is sure nice looking. How is it on the ass? Like the new look to the site too. I hate black web sites, just too hard to read for me.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Fasthair:

Your note caught up with me at a major travel event in Washington, D.C. Basically, I'm off the road for the next week, while I pursue a living.

I switched to the black-on-white site because so many people had complained that they couldn't read the text. That must have been true as many more have since claimed they liked it better this way.

The seat will not get a real workout unil the third week in April. My bike is still apart as I fool around with alternatives to get all the chrome converted to black.

But you can bet it will factor into my next ride report.

Thanls for reading and for writing in... Also thanks for the great recommendation you gave my column on your blog. Can I add yoir quote to the list on the right? (What readers are saying?)

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Grandad 43 (Dave):

I was ahead of my time too! But do I ever get any credit for it? Nope... Just torn apart by women who've come to hate me, politicians who fear me, and riders of English motorcycles who envy me.

Dave I'll be on the road in about 10 days. We need to start thinking about lunch on the Delaware again.

Thanks for being a loyal reader and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

fasthair said...

Mr. Jack: Sure you can quote me anytime you like. But I got to ask. What the hell did I say that was worth quoting?


Cantwell said...

Jack wrote ... I have no idea why people shut off the bike by hitting the kill switch, other than an emergency.

See page 19 at the following link

Remember F.I.N.E-C. and Thumb/Key/Valve......

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Fasthair:

In one of your most recent posts, you cited my blog as one of your favorites, and did so with a very generous statement. In fact, I had another question I wanted to ask you and was wondering if I could ask you to just zap me at

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike:

I made the mistake of killing the engine with the kill switc once before. I never did it again.

Buddy,you and I will be riding together in less than 10 days.


Breakfast VP said...

Brings back memories of the first ride on my K75S. Early April about 10 years ago. Right arm so weak from 6 weeks in a cast that I could hardly twist the throttle but I loved all the same things you did - AND the turbine like response of the engine. Some fun healed well over on the BRP with the turbine drive and that heavy drive shaft. Oh Gosh, that blows the day.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Breakfast VP:

Riding a K75 is like letting the Genie out of an ordinary looking bottle. I wish is was on mine right now, as opposed to sitting in this meeting.

Thanks for reading my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,

T. Shawn said...

I just blasted hot coffee out of my nose and I think I pissed myself a little! Thanks for making my day. I'm a Shadow owner, but the more I read about these strange bikes, the more I wish I had known about them before I bought my bike...but maybe next year...

Jack Riepe said...

Dear T. Shawn:

The Shadow is an elegat and comfortable riding bike with classic lines. That engine is as reliable as damn it and holds its own in traffic very well. The K75 is like sitting on a sawhorse. But it runs like a quarter horse and turns like a polo pony. Regretably, in its pure state it looks like the back end of a horse.

It is an acquired taste. But it will run all day at 7 grand (which you can check on the tach which the Shadow did not come with) without burning an ounce of oil or getting hot. Low mileage ones are hand to find and they are not cheap when it comes to repairs Then again, what is?

Thank you for reading my blog and for writing in. I hope our paths cross somewhere.

Fondest regards,

DC said...

Dear Jack,

Though I've owned Beemers since 1986, they have been the opposed twin engine. I've never ridden a K-bike. I did look for a K75 to buy a while back (word on the street is that they are bulletproof, as well as smoother, run cooler, and lighter than the K100s).

Look forward to riding with you soon. Keep losing the weight, Sir Bloggschmidt.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear DC (Dave Case);

I'm planning on doing at least two rides next weekend.
Are you free on Saturday?

I am planning on leaving here (Dunkin Donuts) on Rt. 30 and heading down to Delaware to ride Route 9. Where Rt. 9 ends, I was then going to head to North Bowers Beach for Lunch. I was then thinking of cutting across Delaware and coming Maryland's Eastern Shore.

Fondest regards,

DC said...

Dear Jack,

I'll be at the tire room putting new skins on my RS's wheels. Though I liked the Metzler Z6's, I am trying the new dual compound Michelin Pilot Road2 tires. Harder center compound for longer life is the claim. I'm meeting Rick S. there at 9 or so. I won't even be back home 'til after 11am.

Your run sounds like good fun. Enjoy yourself. Be sure to wait for Dick at the stops. I'll catch you next time.