Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Sequel To The Story I Posted Four Days Ago...

This story will make no sense unless you read the previous posting... (Written four days ago.)
Thank you...

I got an email from my Uncle Bill yesterday, telling me he had come across an obituary for a Scott Volk in the Asbury Park Press and that he was wondering if my life-long friend had died. My blood ran cold for a bit as I scrambled with the link. It wasn’t him. But I started to think about the sequel to the previous blog, because the truth is lessened without it.

Scott Volk and I have been getting into trouble together since the 5th grade. At a time when most kids were playing with toy soldiers and cap guns, Scott and I had learned to extract oxygen from peroxide and mix it with acetylene gas derived from crystals taken from an old miners lamp. The experiment ended with a small explosion in his basement. I think we were 11-years-old at the time. His mother was really pissed.

As city kids with limited access to even more limited amounts of cash, we rode bicycles that started out as new once, and quickly accumulated the battle scars of pedaled machinery that went far beyond initial expectation. The earliest models were “three speeds” of the “English Racer” variety, that ultimately suffered gearing peculiarities associated with a complex rear drive hub. The limitations of this dignified two-wheeled conveyance would become obvious over longer stretches of road, with far more challenging hills.

The “three speeds” were replaced by “ten speeds,” with handlebars that curved down and around like the horns of some two-wheeled ram. Scott had a paper route, and channeled this modest income into a serious bicycle, made in France and purchased from a specialty shop. It was a kind of sports car.

My bike came from Sears. Sears was selling multi-grade products at the time and this one was the top of the line. I didn’t know that many Sears products, then as now, were made by other companies and simply carried the store’s trademark. I bought mine second hand -- with an income that was largely derived by saving cash gifts accrued through passing youth. It had a rear dereileur made of “fiberglass” that weighed nothing, rims drilled with a million little holes so the brakes would work when wet, and gear shifters mounted high up on the handlebar stem.

I was told that these innovations were not seriously regarded by those in the bicycling sport and I learned to suffer with gears that changed reliably and smoothly 100% of the time; brakes that stopped the bike (until all the little holes on the rims were filled with scraped off rubber); and shift levers that did not require me to assume the shape of a hoop every time I wanted to downshift. Uncharacteristically, I suffered in silence (preparing for my marriages far into the future).

But I got sick of pedaling long before Scott did.. Arriving at exotic destinations soaked in sweat and smelling like a draft horse had its limitations in the constricted social circles I moved in then. Scott and I never knew that we were pioneers in the “extreme” bicycle movement, and quite frankly, I was ready to jump ship as I saw no possible connection with riding a bicycle and getting laid. (This was long before cycling became a fad and led to the great bicycle clubs for men and women, who could see each other’s bodies in Spandex prior to investing in meaningful conversation, such as “What sign are you? Or “How would you like to put a lip lock on this?”)

The Kawasaki H2 ended my interest in bicycles as adventure generating transportation forever. Nothing compared with the wind whistling in my ears as I piloted my bicycle down a long sweeping hill. With the Kawasaki and an open faced helmet, that experience could be recreated right out of the driveway. It took six hours to pedal a bike up to Bear Mountain State Park in New York. It took 90 minutes to cover the same territory (in traffic) on the motorcycle.

But Scott didn’t have one. None of my friends did. I ended up riding alone all the time. Yet somehow the thoughts that dogged me for hours on end when pedaling had less time to work on me. I felt like Lindbergh on every ride out of the city.

Then there came the day when I left the house before 7am on a summer Saturday. As I anticipated, Scott was loading up his ten speed for a ride north. Water bottles were filled. Sandwiches were tucked into panniers that also held cookies and a banana, as well as tools, inner tubes, and other gear. He was dressed in little shorts and shoes that had a mechanism on the toe for locking his feet to the pedals. I was wearing jeans, a tee shirt that read, “Makin’ Bacon’” over two humping pigs, and an army fatigue jacket (my dad’s from World War II).

He looked over the Kawasaki with amazement. “For the first time in my life, I’m jealous,” he said with a smile.

I looked at him and laughed. “Don’t be. This bike isn’t taken seriously by those in motorcycle circles. Meet me in the Cub Room at the Bear Mountain Inn.”

The Bear Mountain Inn at Bear Mountain State Park... The "Cub Room" had a great painting of Rip Van Winkle over the fireplace, in which the Andirons were bear cubs. (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia -- Click to enlarge)

Scott mounted up and started pedaling with purpose. I rode off and had breakfast in a diner. While he headed straight north, I followed the Hudson River and missed him at some point. I got up onto Rt. 9W, crossed the State Line, and had a wild idea! Why not pull over at the same place where I seen my first set of hooters and wait for him to come by!

I had no trouble at all in finding that spot and in pulling off he road. Despite the fact it was broad daylight, I was amazed to discover that the bog had spread in the 7 years that I had last seen it. The Kawasaki rolled into the ooze the same way that other guy’s Harley did, but only up to the front tire.

Dismounted and with my feet now covered in muck, I couldn’t budge the damn thing. Attempting to rock it back and forth only made the situation worse. Like a jerk, I stood by the side of the road for 45 minutes, until my pal rode by. We were bigger now, and got the bike out in no time. Scott grabbed a water bottle and took a huge gulp.

“Want some,” he offered. Naturally, I wasn’t carrying a water bottle.

“You know, Reep,” Scott said. “Your preoccupation with tits is going to get you in trouble every time.”

Truer words were never spoken.

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


Woody said...

I prefer "fascination" rather than "preoccupation"; it sounds so much nicer, don't you agree, tit-man?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Woody:

Does fascination mean your hands form cup shapes when you sleep?

Fondest regaerds,
Jack • reep • Toad

Conchscooter said...

I have difficulty understanding how you survived riding an H2 as your first motorcycle a reckless machine in and of itself, while at the same time fueling your inexperience with daydreams of women's breasts.
I suppose this story is evidence that Devil really does exist and looks after his own?

Conchscooter said...

PS I wish you hadn't prefaced this story with the word's "yesterday's story." those of us of a literal cast thought we had missed something as the prveious episode was published four days ago.I spent some considerable amount of time looking for the missing episode.
Feel free to make corrections and eliminate this comment at your convenience. Thank yous aren't necessary between friends of course.
The socialist badger.

Unknown said...

Jack "r":

I also remember using my bicycle to go on day trips over to the north shore (over the Lions gate bridge) back in the ole days. Much better to use your own wheels than the bus. It gave you independence to explore. But unlike yourself and surprisingly Irondad, I never had any Tit encounters but I did fantasize about them and drooled over those centrefold pictures where you had to turn to portrait mode.
After I got my first car, '56 Chevy I never looked back, it came with a back seat

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

As a surprise to the motorcycle community at large, and to my friends, I am writing a book on motorcycles. The story of how I came to own a Kawasaki H2 as my first bike defies description. It is the first chapter in the book.

In its day, it was the equivalent of owning a Hayabusa, though nowhere near as fast. You could snap your neck in three gears. The level of stupidity at the time was virtually unfathomable.

Yet it was a full two years before I had my first accident... And then I had three of them. Twice hit by cars, and unhorsed once by a guardrail. Never injured. I had the bike for almost five years.

If it wasn't for the fact that I may be selling apples on Main Street for a living soon -- and that I am in no position to jump up and down on the kick starter -- I'd look into buying a restored version of that bike. It had the same horsepower output of my K75: 71hp.

By the way, on straight road sections and gentle curves, the H2 was very pleasant and comfy with that upright straight seat -- though I do recall occassionally going all the back the sissy bar on it, especially on long rides. It did not do well in sudden curvesor abrupt maneuvering.

Everry time I tried to avoid something, like a car or a guard rail, I went down.

The devil was my senior year English teacher, a lay person, who explained, "Foreplay begins with the pen you hold in your hand." The man knew what he was talking about.

Thank you reading my tripe and for advising me of my literary shortcomings. Changes wil be made... Both in the copy you were kind enough to point out, and in the personnel around here.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I went through half my life as an innocent bystander. And when I went out looking for a little action, it was like I had a sign on my head that said, "Hopeless Douche."

I remember driving over the Lion's Gate Bridge to get to Whistler. As I recall, the traffic on that bridge was pretty heavy. Was therea walkway on it as well? I guess there must have been.

Fondest regards,
Jaxk • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

redlegsrides said...

great finish to the previous posting Mr Riepe....of course, had you run into the same woman as'd have been labeled a mcguffies stalker.

Lance said...

Jack, I enjoyed the sequel just as much as the story 4 days ago! So, did you offer Scott a shot of tequila or cash?

Unknown said...

Mr Jack "r":

Isn't it amazing how a great literary published author of substance had to bow to the wishes of an outspoken, imigrant Italian who resides somewhere where it is hot and sweaty ? Such is the American way, unless of course, you are President of a Bank or President of the land of the free

bobskoot: wet coast scootin

ps to Lance: I think Jack "flashed" him

cpa3485 said...

I bet Scott's bike was a Motobecane. Your tale brings back lots of similar memories. My first bike was a Sears Spyfre' similar to the Schwinn Sting Ray. I saved up forever for it. We used to ride on motorcycle trails trying to execute jumps that only the motorized 2 wheelera could really do. Beat the crap out of that bike.
Then in high school a friend had a Kawasaki 125cc dirt bike and we rode all over hall and gone on that thing. Wasn't on any kind of motorcycle until I bought the scooter.
Great story!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Domingo):

Had I run into the same woman at that same place, I would have known exactly what to do. At the time, I was using the battered baby Norwegian rat look, but there were still some takers.

Scott wasn't one to mince words. The first one's out of his mouth were, "You fucking jerk."

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lance:

I thanked him for his effort and lifted up my shirt. He was unimpressed. And I thank you for the kind note.

Fondest regaerds,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

I don't understand this line:

"Isn't it amazing how a great literary published author of substance had to bow to the wishes of an outspoken, imigrant Italian who resides somewhere where it is hot and sweaty ?"

I think you meant to say, "Weren't you kind to humor the crazy man who yells at the television and talks to the limes growing in his garden.!" And my response would be and is, "Yes, it was."

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear cpa3485 (Jimbo):

Scott's bike was an "Orly," and it cost some buck in those days. He bought it at the SDS bike Shop on Franklin St, in Jersey City. The place was run by an Italian gentleman, whose passion was bicycles.

My Kawasaki H2 was sold to me by the "King of the Gypsies," who is still laughing.

Thank you for reading my tripe and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

irondad said...

I was kind of shocked to find out a few years ago ( ok, maybe two decades ago ) that there were bicycle snobs. I bought a mountain bike from Montgomery Wards. One season I took it to a bicycle shop to have it "tuned up". The guy at the counter looked down his nose at me and told me they didn't work on "department store bikes".

He'd probably never seen a pair in real life. I've found that the harder you chase something, the more it runs. Guys like me have adventure and sin finding me all on their own.

Can you imagine us now, riding bikes with those curved down handlebars? Yikes!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

Nowadays, that guy would kiss your ass to get a little business, regardless of where the bike came from.

I actually joined a bicycle club with something of a reputation in this area. I found the majority of the people I met in this organization to be pure assholes. I left after sticking it out for a year, and volunteering for a couple of things, because I thought their approach to cycling eiminated the fun aspect, which is why I do anything in the first place.

Thank you for reading my post today, and for commenting.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

kathy said...

I wonder if there's a connection between riding bicycles as a kid and riding motorcycles later? My bicycle was pure freedom as a kid. Now my motorcycle is that freedom.

You know, we women use all of our assets to our advantage and tits are right up there at the top. I laughed all the way through this post because I could see it playing out. The front wheel sinking in the muck and the memories of your first glimpse of paradise flashing before your eyes. Good thing you had a reliable friend to bail you out of your mess.

As to your first motorcycle...
Anxiously awaiting the book to explain.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Kathy:

I was never able to draw a sufficient number of parallels beyween riding a bicycle and riding a motorcycle. While both provided freedom for me, that measure of freedom was way in favor of the motorcycle. Yet with that freedom came the realization that one false step led to a painful reintroduction to gravity and the emergency room.

One thing I have to acknowledge is that riding a bicycle on the major thoroughfares and highways of the time gave me an intimate knowledge of hundreds of byways, in a 70-mile radius of where I lived, to the extent that I was far more familiar with them then if I had been riding in a car.

And as I was never afraid to swing a bicycle out into traffic on a 50mph sweeping downhill, such as one finds in Peekskill, NY, I didn't think twice about doing it with a much heavier motorcycle on a hiil or a level stretch either.

Thank you for reading my tripe, and for commenting. I hope I see you here again.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Anonymous said...

I always figured there was a progression from bicycle to motorcycle, but mostly as a need for speed and/or laziness. Bikes are faster than walking, motorcycles are faster than bikes. A motorcycle is certainly less exercise than a bicycle.

Of course, most people skip motorcycle and go straight to cars.

- Mattpie (post isn't working right today)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Matt:

I was reading your posts on the Mac Pac list at dawn today. I am taking Fire Balls out for a run at noon. I have a yen to run down to the Lin Villa orchards and get one of their apple pies. (Fat people have no shame.) Or, I might just get a bag of their right off the tree Macintoshs.

There is nothing like a ripe Macintosh just off the tree, or a shiny new one right out of the box.
What are you doing Sunday? Meet Dick and me for the run over to Yar's place.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

sgsidekick said...

Nice tag to the last story. Shows us you never change: priorities back then remain the same (hooters!).

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sgsidekick (Tena):

I never really do change, but I do get worse.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

MackBeemer said...

Another good'n.

mq01 said...

im late to the party, crap!! :) hope you dont mind more tits stopping by jack. lol!

im with kathy, in my childhood my huffy was BLISS, then a schwinn. and now, i dont see myself ever being without a bike (meaning mc now)... i just dont see it...