Thursday, April 7, 2011

German Containers Unsuitable For Chinese Food...

I originally wrote this piece for the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America’s publication —the Owner’s News — back in 2005. It was my first motorcycle story to published in a legitimate moto-magazine. While my colleagues and critics in the Mac-Pac (southeastern Pennsylvania’s chartered BMW riding club) have all seen this story, many Twisted Roads readers have not. So I decided to catch up on my publishing schedule by releasing my Thursday blog at 12:01am, and to get the most mileage out of this story by running it on my blog. Please note, my usual riding partner Dick Bregstein is not tortured in this story.

The standard BMW top case for the K75 motorcycle is strong, holds quite a bit, and pops on or off in an instant. It will easily take a container of fried rice and General Tso's Chicken, but it's German design does not lend itself for carrying an extended Chinese dinner. I found this out the hard way.

The saga began on a recent Sunday evening, when a noticeable lack of activity in the kitchen prompted me to ask the haus-frau "what had become of dinner?" A hunting knife hissed through the air and came to rest in the wall an inch or so from my head. Riding pillion on the blade was a menu from the local Chinese eatery. The lady of the house is not one to waste words.

"Never mind," I yelled down the darkened hall that had just spewed the knife. "I think I'll order Chinese."

These are the kind of heartwarming dialogues that inspire me to get on my bike and take a little ride. I fired up the K75 and roared into town. Actually, this town was about 80 miles distant and a place I had never been to before. There were much closer towns with Chinese take-out places (like the one we live in), but the day was coming to a glorious close and I thought I'd make the most of the opportunity.

At one point, I was passed by a stunning Asian beauty on a tricked out BMW GS. "She must know a great place for dumplings," I thought, noting how the tailored look of her Aerostitch outer skin complimented the gentle curve of her butt. (Actually, I was thinking, "Those are curves I could easily lean into.") So I rode behind her for an hour hoping she was headed to a take-out place of distinction. A BMW GS rider might be headed for the local post office, but by the same token, they could just as easily be headed for Tierra Del Fuego. So I pulled alongside and jazzed my engine, making as much noise as a hamster shredding a newspaper. When I finally got her attention, I made an exaggerated chewing motion with my jaw while pointing down toward my stomach. It was my intention to indicate I was hungry, but since my shape is ill-defined, it could have looked like I was pointing toward my crotch. This must mean something else in an Asia culture, as she flipped me the bird and took off.

Great Chinese cuisine is well worth driving for and everybody has a favorite place. Mine is in a memory from 1975, when a smoking-hot brunette rode pillion into Manhattan on the back of my long-gone Kawasaki, and introduced me to chop sticks. My K75 is like a time machine. Twisting the throttle turns back the years. The effect is temporary, but good enough. When BMW Motorrad comes up with a way to make it stick, everybody will ride a Beemer. In the meantime, I rode until hunger reminded me that a knife-throwing woman was waiting for dinner back home.

Every strip mall in America has a storefront Chinese restaurant. It's now required by many building codes. (But shouldn't a strip mall be the kind of place where one goes to find strippers? I can't imagine anyone fighting a developer looking to push a concept like that.)

The restaurant I went into had a sign outside with a dragon eating a child. My common mistake in a place like this is ordering a little of this and a little of that, eventually resulting in a bale of Chinese food. By discarding the plastic sack and individually fitting each item in the top case like a puzzle piece, I was able to accommodate everything.

Unbeknown to me, however, closing the lid had the effect of compacting the containers, and opening their lids.

"Where the hell did you go?" asked the love of my life as I pulled into the driveway. "Honestly Jack, you go out the door and either get lost or come home with amnesia."

I was tempted to ask, "Was I supposed to bring something back?" But I noticed she was boiling water with laser beams coming out of her eyes, and I didn't want the lady to redirect her aim.

"Wait until you see what I got, " I said, opening the top case. It was then I discovered three of the containers had discharged their contents directly into the bottom of the case. While it was still possible to pick out individual dumplings, stray pieces of beef, and the odd water chestnut, it was obvious we'd be eating a huge "combo" dinner in the garage.

Above: Anything is possible when you ride a K75, especially one with a "Sprint Fairing," like the late and lamented "Blueballs." Here I lured the nice Asian hottie back to garage to have dinner with me. Circumstances made it necessary to eat right from the top case. (Note, the author is no longer this huge, but is still a load and a half.) Photo by Leslie Marsh, who is very open-minded about who follows me home and what goes on in the garage.

German engineering thoughtfully provided a sectionalized bottom to this top case, which allows Chinese sauces of various viscosity to run into a little drainage channel, preventing them from oozing out through the connecting pin device. This clever arrangement seems almost made for this occurrence, which makes me wonder if German engineers think all Americans are as dopey as I am.

Above: The combo dinner from hell: Happy Friggin' Phoenix and Dysfunctional Dragon, alá Munich. The perfectly balanced meal... It had to be, as it leaned with the bike in every curve. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

Above: What setting could possibly be more elegant or more romantic? Dinner for two in a K75 top case. Photo by Leslie Marsh.

Thinking quickly, I dropped a couple of handfuls of white rice on two plates. I then used an oil funnel from the work bench as a scoop to bail a pint of hell’s combo onto the rice. Rushing into the kitchen, I said, "This is something new. It's called Friggin' Dragon, Phoenix, and Tiger... Three flavors in a delightful culinary menage á tois."

"So while you were out riding around for four hours, the lids came off in the top case," sighed my gentle beauty, with the implication that one of us was a horse's ass and that it wasn't her.

"Well, yes," I stammered. "But I intend to complain directly to the top people at BMW, " And I did too.

Author's note: The beautiful model in the photograph is "Kim." If Leslie had ever once said "yes" to the highly romantic marriage proposals I make every Thursday at 2pm, Kim would be my daughter-in-law, as she is married to one of Leslie's sons. The look of askance that Kim is giving me was not rehearsed nor simulated. This is how Kim looks at me all the time. And now her kids look at me the same way. It's nice to know I haven't lost my touch.

Copyright Jack Riepe 2005 — All rights reserved.


Nikos said...


That's quite a Banquette you have there.

Yours as ever "eat as much as you can", N

Allen Madding said...

Mmm topcase duck and dumplings.

When I rode the lil Sportster, a few friends were amazed I could put a complete Big Mac combo including a coke in a side leather bag and ride 15 miles w no spills.

Bon appetite

Conchscooter said...

You know how to live jackie. There you are with stiffie, an asian hottie and peking duck all on a bmw in the romantic gloom of the garage. Too bad bmw shafts are known for their consistent inability to perform. Better a bonneville and a hot a yellow lab in my opinion on a steaming tropical island.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

Therre isn't anything I would do to please a good-looking woman... And that includes rushing out to get Chinese food and coming back 4 hours later, with a sodden mess in my top case. There is a reason why women continue to love me with reckless abandon.

I apologize if you have read this one before. I checked the archive date, and was amazed to discover I had written this one 6 years ago! I just wanted to share it with the growing number of readers I have amoing the BMW MOA, and with the new readers who join Twisted Roads each week.

Thanks for reading my tripe Nikos, and for writing in.

Fondest rregards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Madding (Allen):

I was on a ride three or four years ago with Pete Buchheit, Dick Bregstein, and Clyde Jacobs (the usual suspects). We pulled up to the house we had rented for the week, and Clyde said, "I thought we'd never get here. I hope the stuff in my side-bag didn't go bad." And then he pulled a mini-keg of beer out of it.

That set the tone for the rest of the trip. Riding on a motorcycle teaxhes one how to improvise on the packing and how to get the most out of a small space.

Thank you for readng Twisted Roads, and lending your credibility to the proceedings.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conscooter:

A man who rides a bike without a tach has simply admitted to all that he has no revs worth measuring. And even if the splines on that K75 were bad — which they were not — the machine still had the power and charisma to fill the garage with good-looking women.
I rest my case.

The hottie with the chop sticks is Kim, the wife of Leslie's son Jordan. The active ingredient behind those beautiful eyes and that incredible smile is a rare combination of Vietnamese and Irish genes.

The look of askance she is giving me did not have to be rehearsed. I have learned to live with it.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for making my blog the standard to which you own — Key West Diary — aspires.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

redlegsrides said...

Jack, this was the second story I ever read from you, on the BMWMOA magazine as you mentioned. The first one was the ride to that town with the fire underneath....little did I know the "twisted path" all these great stories would lead me.


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Chartlie6 (Dom):

This is still one of my favorite pieces... And certainly one that happened as presented. This story, and the Centrala one, were the literary events that got me thinking that I should take writing lessons and draft the occasional moto story.

Thank you for being one of my most dedicatrd readers.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Cantwell said...

I was wondering why I kept finding rice in the nooks and crannies. I pretty sure I found some shrimp as well.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mike:

I forgot you were the final recipient of that top case.

How's it holding up?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Cantwell said...

The top case is holding up quite well. I might actually get to use it this spring if it'd only stop frecking snowing. Maybe when we get back from Denver.


Unknown said...


Whether the food stays separated in individual containers or not, the result is the same mush in your stomach

I always wrap the containers into separate plastic bags to catch the gravy and keep the revs below 5K RPM, hard for tachless riders to understand

Riding the Wet Coast

The Armed Christian said...

German engineering and ingenuity? Hah!

The Tartars (Mongols) would place raw meat between their saddle blankets and the horse's back before setting of on a day of pillaging, conquering and other fun pastimes. By the end of the day the sweat from the horse would season, tenderize and (chemically) cook the steak which could then be savored by the campfire. The result, I am told smelled a lot like a rider who has been baking in an Aerostitch on a hot steamy Texas afternoon. It could also explain why they had such a bad attitude and like conquering everyone they came across and then looking for more.

Hang in there


Tri-ump Chuck said...

I once hauled a wedding cake 125 miles in a top case. Can you say "scrampled cake" ? Tri-ump Chuck

RichardM said...

I've always wondered what people carried in their top boxes. Now I know...

My bike came with one but I was told not to install it unless I really needed the space. And if I did, I probably had too much junk. Some very opinionated riders around here. (BTW, I bought my bike from George whom I mentioned in my post.)

The "pile of Chinese food" actually looks pretty good.


Ken said...

I love eating Oriental!

Lady R (Di) said...

Chinese casserole! Me love it... long time! =D

32 years ago I lived in New Orleans for 18 months while serving at the Naval Station on the west bank. My boyfriend (who is now my hubby) used to come down from the Naval Air Station in Meridian, MS about once a month for a much needed "visit". (It's hard work keeping a long distance relationship on the up side.) But anyway, I digress...

We used to hang out down on Bourbon Street drinking ourselves into a smilin' stupor and working up a ferocious appetite for some Chinese food.
Our favorite thing to do was stand around (btw... people watching in the French Quarter at midnight is awesome!) with... cat on a stick in one hand and the best friggin' egg rolls I've ever had in the other, from a little chain called "The Takie-Outie". I kid you not... the shit was f*%kin' delicious!

Years later, upon a reunion type return to the ol' Jazz Capital of the world, I couldn't wait to return to my favorite little grease spot and dine on some good ol' Takie-Outie. Boy, was I disappointed. I then realized that when your a drunken smilin' fool... you'd be surprised what tastes good.

Thanks for rerunning this... a good tale is always worth a repeat.

Have a good day, Mr. Riepe.

Reaching, (for the menu)
Lady R

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Lady Ridesalot:

I regert to report that Chinese food is now on my list of banned commodities. Whatever the secret ingredients are, they go straight to my ass and inflate to three times their normal size. I am restricted to Japanese cusine in its purest form, which is sushi. Fortunately, I have developed a real appreciation for raw fish.

And as deceptive as the dimensions look, you can cram quite a bit into a BMW topcase. Mine will no longer accomoodate the General Tso's chicken, as it now carries a step, so I can get on and off the damnb thing.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for commenting.

Twisted Roads is the biker bog that elevates disillusionment to the status of a virtue.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

Consideing one of the pictures I ran, I wouldn't touch your comment woth a ten-foot pole. But you are an astute judge of cuisine. I tyhink it comes from ridiong a bike.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and boosting my credibility by leaving a comment.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M.:

My top case now carries a portable step, that I use to get my leg (and gimpy hip) over the seat. It has become an essential part of my boarding process. (Seriously.) And I am thrilled that the OEM BMW top case opens from the front! Otherwise, I'd be screwed.

Ther Chinese food joint is less than a two-minute ride from here — the Oriental Pearl — which partially explains why I am as fat as I appear to be.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads — The Motorcycle Blog That Really Seems To Give A Shit.

Fondest Regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Steve Williams said...

Mr. Riepe: I really hate to rain on an otherwise outstanding piece of writing but my commitment to truth, justice and the American way demand I speak up.

The time machine effect of the throttle is not a quantum effect resultant only with a BMW. It is available to almost any rider on any machine. The only trait you can ascribe to the BMW that makes it unique is the relative expense incurred on your family of mechanization.

As I read along I kept silently cheering you on as you followed the GS rider. I hope my positive thoughts and energy will one day allow you to bring the story to the conclusion we all expect of you....

And last, Leslie must have the patience of Job. Especially if you are always running around the house with that grin.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on TWITTER

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tri-ump Chuck:

I once fled from a wedding cake at 125-miles-per hour. It caught up to me in a lawyer's office.

We probably have a lot in common. Thank you for reading Twisted Roads — The motorcycle blog that makes women take their tops off.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Steve Williams said...

I forgot to add -- my Kim often gets the same look on her face as your Kim does when I read your posts out loud. Eventually though you manage to get to her and she cracks up.

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
One would think that the fact that I had nothing to do with this adventure would spare me from being savaged in your telling of the tale even though that has seldom slowed you down in the past.
The truth is that ever since you sprinkled Metamucil on my beef with oyster sauce on our Blue Ridge Parkway trip I've avoided eating Chinese food with you.
Good story.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Shannon Baker (My Illegitimate Son):

My friend and wingman Dick Bregstein has successfullly stuffed hot dogs into the fingers of his heated gloves, and has grilled a cheese sandwich in his heated vest. He once baked a bundt cake in his heatrd pants, but struck a note of horror when folks realized how he carried it.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, and for leaving a comment, to comfort me in my old age and infirmity.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Somehow, I have no problem envisioning you riding around with a roll of large plastic, zip-loc bags in one of your side cases. As a BMW rider and a certified Visagoth, however, I can attest that eating out of the top case is an established foreplay ritual that helps identify real hot women, who appreciate a cultural challenge.

That top case is once again on the kitchen counter, to be cleaned, have the hinge oiled and the lock tightened, and to have the protectve pin-lock collar reglued to the interior after my step knocked it loose.

Thank you for being a dedicated Twisted Roads reader. Your support has helped make this blog the leading source of relationship advice in the biking community.

Fondest Regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Cantwell:

My last exchange with Carl Boler indicated that he was coming down here for the Mac-Pac Breakfast in May, and that you were coming with him. I wabnt to set up a ride that week-end, eith down the Maryland shore, or the New Jersey Shore, or both.

Get your top case ready.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Williams:

Once again I find your name inscribed on the burr in my shorts. I am quickly reaching the point where I am going to have to send your name and address to the folks in Munich.

While I do not doubt that every two-wheeled vehicle has the ability to turn back the clock, in some regard, for every rider, I suspect the Vespa brings you back to the stage of the Ed Sullivan Show, in the early '60s, to join a singing nun in her homage to Saint Domenic.

Regarding the expense of a maintaining a BMW (and a $1,000 per night call girl), some things require no explanation among the cognoscenti, as there is no substitute for the sensation of a particular order. You cannot put a price on heaven.

In truth, the day is coming when I will meet a hottie on a GS... Hopefully, her bike will have the knobbies on the rims, and I will have new Metzler highway rubber on mine. She will be caught up in the vortex of the K75 are carried to my suite in the Holiday Inn Express, with the handicapped accessible bathroom.

If I showed your note to "Kim" in my blog photographs, where you have referred to her as "my Kim," she would commit seppuko on the spot, after killing me. Leslie refers to that grin as "the mark of the true idiot savant."

The reason why your "Kim" laughs at my stuff is that she realizes I am one of those few men who can read the dark souls of women through their eyes... While side-stepping the venom.

Thank you for reading Twisted Roads, the blog where red-hot women always get their man, when he is out on his red 1995 BMW K75.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Bluekat said...

We like our Chinese meals all mixed up anyway, but mixing it up in the top case, well, that's classic! Looks good btw.

I thought the look was more of exasperation than askance, but I"ll take your word for it. :)

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BlueKat:

Exasperation works too. Leslie and I were once entertaining in a house we rented on the Outer Banks. She sent me out to the store, which could only be reached after riding the SUV through eight miles of unpaved sand dunes and some seawater.

I was supposed to get a bunch of avocados for something, and I came back with mangoes. Leslie looked at me and said, "What the fuck is wrong with you?" I'm used to it now.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads and for commenting.

Jack • reep • Toad

Unknown said...

Oil funnel? Adds delicious carcinogens!

Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

Doc Rogers said...

Dear Jack,
What can I say, but please keep writing these great stories!

BeemerGirl said...

An ingenious way to turn lemons into lemonade. Or this and that into "Friggin' Dragon, Phoenix and Tiger."

As Bluekat says, it still looks good. What does that say about the caliber of women reading this blog?? :)

Trying to catch up on your stories. Great article!

-Steel Cupcake