Monday, April 11, 2011

"Slippery" Dick Becomes "Bundt Cake" Bregstein...

This story was initially written in January of 2007, long before I started my blog. It was my third season as a legally endorsed rider, and I was still taking my turns in a fairly upright and stiff manner. That would soon be remedied. This piece has yet to surface on this blog, and I present it here today for your edification and personal enlightenment — author’s note.

Every ride begins with a little preparation. If that’s the case, then I began the 20-mile journey from West Chester, Pa. to the Pottsdown Family Diner (the site of the December 2007 monthly Mac-Pac breakfast) the night before, and almost didn’t make it. I laid out my riding clothes, my boots, and my helmet in anticipation of an 8am Sunday departure. I set the alarm for 7am, and primed the coffee maker to spew caffeine at the touch of a button.

Then I went out to an Amish bachelor party.

The details of the evening are a bit fuzzy. I seem to recall a naked woman wearing a bonnet, and a bunch of Abe Lincoln look-a-likes yelling, “Take it off! Take it off! Take it all off.” Someone put the first of 52 drinks in my hand. At drink #26, an Amish hottie led me into the back room to “Churn der love butter.”

I awakened on Sunday morning with a case of the horrors. The horrors begin with a kind of numbing amnesia. You’re not quite sure where you are, where you’ve been, nor the circumstances that brought you to the current impasse.

“What the hell did I do last night?” I thought.

My eyes had been focusing independently until this point, but zeroed in on the alarm clock at precisely 6:59:58. Two seconds later, the screaming alarm touched off a nuclear reaction in my head, which subsequently exploded.

Suddenly it all came back to me. Every sordid detail punched me in the stomach. It took twenty minutes to get upright, and then I remembered I was supposed to meet the Mac-Pac for breakfast. I let the dogs out, and took a leak with them in the garden. It looked like someone had tied a square knot in my John Henry.

Getting dressed was an ordeal. The dogs had found my pile of clean clothes and were fighting over a pair of briefs. They had them stretched out a full eight feet. I activated the coffee maker and realized shortly thereafter I’d neglected to put a cup underneath it. It’s amazing how a mere eight ounces of coffee can spread out over most of the kitchen floor.

It was about 35 degrees outside (not the coldest of mornings in the past two months), but between the bite of the breeze and the pounding in my head, I considered taking the truck. But I was supposed to ride to Maryland with my sidekick, “Slippery” Dick Bregstein, after breakfast. Those plans would change if I pulled up in my cabin cruiser-like Suburban.

“Bregstein won’t care if I ride up in the truck. The other guys won’t bust my balls too badly either,” I thought. Who was I kidding? If I showed up in the truck, my balls would be fragmented into dust and cast to the winds. The guys would torture me relentlessly.

It was 8:55am by the time I straddled my BMW K75. I can’t recall the exact minute that I discovered that I’d left all my cash in the cream separator of some Amish beanpole dancer the night before, but I needed to make a fast stop at the drive-up ATM. Every little thing conspired to make me late, including the 9 traffic lights between East Goshen and Spread Eagle, Pa. It was 9:40 by the time I wandered into the diner.

The response from the rabid wolf-pack was predictable.

“Who are you?”
“Can we help you?”
“Who are you looking for?”
“There were some BMW guys here earlier, but they left.”
“We were going to stick you for breakfast. Now we’ll have to stick you for lunch.”
“No seats at this table.”

The only one who understood the extent of my suffering was my riding partner, “Slippery” Dick.

“Want some coffee, Jack?” he asked, in a soothingly low voice.

“Yes, I do,” I said gratefully.

“Me too,” said “Slippery.” “So bring me back a fresh cup from the kitchen before you sit down, will you, Fat Ass?”

It was then I learned that all 25 riders seated at this table told the waitress their names were “Jack,” so there’d be no mistake when the separate checks were presented. I wanted to explain my circumstances and why I was late, but there is no need for apologies with the Mac-Pac.

“Chack. How are you?” asked Horst Oberst, in his rich German acent. “Eat your breakfast... Don’t vaste time explaining nothing... You look like der bird schei├čel anyvay.”

And so the day began.

Dick informed me that Gerry Cavanaugh and Horst Oberst would be joining us on the Maryland ride. We had initially planned to meet a mutual friend, Pete Buchheit, at the Tidewater Grille, in Havre De Grace, but Pete begged out as he’d been afflicted with house guests. We then decided to ride over to Woody’s in North East instead. The change of destination allowed Gerry to lead, freeing me up to concentrate on my lean-less turns.

Woody’s Crab House in North East, Maryland (that’s the town’s name) is a well-known destination for this crowd. (Woody's was a once highly popular "crab shack" type restaurant that got trendy to the point of utter touristy bullshit. We switched to the Tidewater Grille in Havre de Grace, but that became a useless tourist trend spot too.) Gerry triangulated the route in his head and we were off like a shot. I was afraid my “leaning” disability would delay the ride.

“Nonsense,” said Horst. “Ve haff vays of making you lean.” He withdrew a taser from a pocket and showed me the brilliant flash when he hit the actuating button. “I vill be right behind you. Ven you go too slow, I’ll zap you in der grosse ass mit dis ting.”

Above: Horst Oberst, 106, remembers the days when he taught Bismark how to ride a motorcycle in Germany. Photo by the author. (This was taken at "Crawdaddy's," before that Cajun restaurant went belly up.)

We stopped at a light less than a mile from our destination, when Jerry gave the strangest set of hand signals. He pointed at Dick, gave the thumbs down, and drew a finger across his throat.

Lifting up my face-shield, I yelled to Horst, “Gerry wants us to kill Dick.”

“Yah, Yah,” shouted Horst. “I haf been exschpecting dis for a long time now. I’ll hold Dick and you can kick him.”

As it turns out, Gerry was trying to tell us that Dick’s BMW F650 had just died. Dick duck-walked it off to the shoulder and the boys attempted to perform an autopsy. It was determined that Dick’s electric clothing had drained his battery. As the gentle reader will recall from my last ride report, Dick had been experimenting with cooking certain dishes using his Gerbings heated gear. On this occasion, he’d been attempting to bake a bundt cake in his pants and had everything turned up high.

“Why a bundt cake,” I asked.

“Because the hole in the center makes it easier to carry,” said Dick. “And if you write a story about this, I insist you call it, ‘The Little Alternator That Tried.’”

“It would be better if you called it, ‘The Little Battery That Died,’” replied Gerry.

A gaggle of Harley riders swept around the corner at that very moment. In a flash, Horst pulled off his leather jacket and draped it over the BMW roundels on Dick’s bike.

“Everyvun, quickly. Stand over here und make like ve are taking der piss.”

The four us ran to the bushes at the edge of the road and appeared preoccupied. “Why are we doing this?” I asked Horst.

“I could not bear for das Harley riders to see us standing dere mit das broken BMW scooter.”

Having diagnosed the problem, the next challenge was to give the bike a jump start from another vehicle. Dick flagged down the first one that came along. It turned out to be an Amish buggy.

“Goot morgan,” said the driver, who looked like a traveling log cabin salesman. “Ist das Englander das sheistkoff vanten to yump das horse?”

“What did he say,” asked Dick.

“He said you are a fine fellow,” translated Horst.

The woman in the buggy with the driver winked at me, making an up and down motion with her closed hand, and I realized she was the butter churner from the Amish bachelor party the night before. Dick lifted up the horse’s tail in search of a battery connection, and not finding one, waved the Amish couple on.

Above: "Slippery" Dick Bregstein demonstrates the proper way to carry a bundt cake in your heated pants. The cake will bake nicely at the highest setting, on an hour and 40-minute ride to Maryland. To the right in the foreground, Clyde Jacobs waits to slice the cake. Gerry Cavanaugh struggles to get into the picture from the rear. Photo by the author.

I pulled a set of cables out of my topcase, Gerry Cavanaugh exposed his posts, and Horst had current running through Dick’s alternator (which said Schwinn on it) in a second. Five minutes later, we were sipping chowder at Woody’s.

“Save room for desert,” said Dick. “I brought fresh bundt cake.”


I received a call last Friday morning from a distraught Dick Bregstein, who was at that moment sobbing uncontrollably in the showroom of Hermy’s, the local BMW dealer of preference in Hamburg, Pa. According to Bregstein, he sauntered into the shop with Gerry Cavanaugh, only to be approached by a member of the staff and introduced to a total stranger as “Jack Riepe’s sidekick,” made famous in my monthly column (found in the BMW Motorcycles Owners of America' Owners News) and in this blog.

Above: Legendary sidekick "Gabby" Hayes (left) with Roy Rogers. Photo from Wikipedia.

Above: Jack Riepe (left) with legendary sidekick "All Wool and A Yard Wide" Dick Bregstein. The photo was taken on Sunday, April 10th, 2011, the last day when the author expects to show up for a breakfast run in a truck (owing to arthritis). Photo by that other turncoat Ron Yee, who at least managed to show how the author lost weight in a photograph depicting him as the sole individual to show up in a cage on a BMW dominated bike run.

“You fat son of a bitch,” blubbered Bregstein. “To think that the sum total of my life is reduced to being your sidekick... I used to be be known as ‘Mr. Bregstein... My opinion was sought with respect... My presence was afforded dignity. And now I am known as ‘Slippery’ Dick... ‘Leather” Dick... And ‘Bundtcake’ Dick... There can be no greater insult than to be recognized as your sidekick. I can’t believe I have finally been reduced to playing ‘Gabby Hayes’ to the Curley Howard of BMW motorcycle riding.”

“Yeah, that’s tough,” I sympathized. “Wanna take a run up to Strasburg for lunch next week?”

“Sure,” said Dick. “What day?”

“The hottest one,” I replied.

“Cool,” said Dick. ‘It would be neat to wear mesh in April. Think women on the sides of the road will lift their shirts as you go by?”

“They did last year.”


Twelve BMW riders from the Mac-Pac (and one radical on a Triumph) assembled at the Starbuck's in Exton for an impromptu breakfast run through Amish country on April 10, 2011. The route was a straight shot up the US-30 bypass, to accommodate the strained joints of the author, who arrived in a cage anyway. The return run was down Rt. 370 to Rt. 82, and then Rt. 82 to the bypass. Cardiologist/rider Peter Frechie said he did not mind taking the bypass for Riepe as he expects to install one for him some day.

Above: "Mike" rode this snazzy Triumph cruiser to a BMW ride. Everyone pretty much acted like they didn't notice. According to "Mike," this sucker gets 25 miles to the gallon. Photo by the author.

Above: Thunder at Starbucks in the morning... (From Left) Gordon Till, Mack KirkPatrick, Dick Bregstein, Buzz Davis, and Peter Frechie take a vote to see if I can still attend breakfast. Photo by the author. The vote is "No."

Above: Mac-Pac member Jim Robinson fills out his BMW MOA mileage contest form on the seat of Gerry Cavanaugh's GS. Cavanaugh is seen here spelling: "R-O-B-I-N-S-O..." Photo by the author.

Above (From Left): Ron Yee, David Hardgrove, Ken Bruce, Gordon Till, and Mack Kirkpatrick in the parking lot at the Hersey's Resort at Strasburg. David Hardgrove hit a top speed of 38 mph on this ride. Photo by the author, who did not ride his bike and who was made to eat breakfast by himself, at a table by the men's room door.

© Copyright Jack Riepe 2007


No dessert for me, Ihor said...

but I'll have a look at the beer menu again. Thanks!

ADK said...

Dear Jack, Bregstein's pseudonyms not withstanding, you'll always be Big Dick to me.

Still waiting for your treatise on "Does Size Really Matter"?

Unknown said...


Too bad you didn't ride your K75 to Breakfast. I'm sure you could have gone faster than 38 MPH. You mean, you did the whole ride in the Truck ? , after they changed to the slower route just for you ?

Riding the Wet Coast

Reserve your disdain, Ihor said...

Being a sidekick is all in the mind, Dick.
Bertie Wooster thought Jeeves was HIS sidekick. Dislexia in perception manifests itself in the oddest places.
I think cage is too elevated a term for John's mode of travel. Pet carrier is more accurate.
Hope the John'spain is lightened and migrates to his ass where it belongs.

Steve Williams said...

I can understand Mr. Bregstein's consternation at having his entire existence reduced to being your sidekick. Living beneath the shadow of a mythic character has just got to be hell.

But be careful Jack. I hear those sidekicks can turn on you in a hurry if they see the right opportunity. Fame and celebrity come with a price. Perhaps it is time you consider a celebrity bodyguard to make sure you and that K75 remain safe.

Amish love butter. That's not a good image.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on TWITTER

RichardM said...

And here I thought that Dick Bergstein's seemed to enjoy sidekick role as is reflected in the title of his blog Riding With Riepe And Other Indiscretions. Or maybe I had that backwards and he considered you to be the sidekick...


redlegsrides said...

Jack, a great recounting with vivid details as we've come to enjoy.

So, as your sidekick, does Mr Bregstein get dibs on your K75 and the apparent plethora of blouse-raising women lining the roads of Pennsylvania?


Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Steve Williams said...

Charlie6: I bought one of those Twisted Roads t-shirts. I've made a flag out of it which I will fly on a long pole at the rear of the Vespa. As soon as I get a GoPro camera I will head out and record the plethora of blouse raising that I'm certain will happen.

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks
Follow me on Twitter

Ken said...

I'll never look at Amish women the same way I used to...

Nikos said...


We almost had spotted Dick there.

Best wishes from sun drenched Britain

Conchscooter said...

I'd be honored to be the side kick to the side kick. I still treasure my foot peg from Hermy's and when I put my foot on it I imagine it's your ass, O master.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor,

You were not the only person to pass on dessert. Others thought the expression "fresh out of the pants" lost something in translation.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (alias Chris Wolfe):

You being British and all, I am constantly reminded of the Monty Python episode in which ancient Rome was being discussed. The character on center stage was "Dickus Lickus." He too rode a piss yellow motorcycle, apparently.

Has the snow melted on the mountains and your soul yet?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep ┬¬• Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

These guys have a habit of leaving on time. Even if I had been inclined to head back to the house to switch vehicles, they'd have left and been halfway back by the time I had my helmet on.

The real Mac-Pac philosophy is that people count more than machines. Part of the purpose of threse rides is just to get together.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

How I wish I was Bertie Wooster, and that Bregstein were Jeeves.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Williams:

I have always wanted a sidekick, and I can hardly believe circumstances have given me one of the best. Riding with Bregstein is like being out with the word "okay."

Should we ride to Maryland today?


Should we stop for lunch, even though it is only 10:30am?


Should we ride out toward State College and terrorize the scooter crowd?


Everybody should have a sidekick like Bregstein. But Dick is not at all like Gabby Hayes. Bregstein is more like Henry Fonda in the role of "Harley," where he was Jimmy Stewart's sidekick in the "Cheyenne Social Club."

Fondest regards,
Jsck • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

To show you the kind of guy he is, Bregstein called me today and said, "No self-respectimg sidekick is going to chase around after you in the car. Get your ass on the bike and let's go have a few adventures. "

That's a real sidekick for you... Looking out for the future.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Bregstein would be at the front door, ringing the doorbell before my body was cold, to stake his claim to my bike. (There is a stipulation in my will leaving it to the Barber Museum, as part of a "hands-on" display, so lovelorn riders can improve their luck.)

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Scoter in the Sticks (Steve Williams):

Thank you for rallying to my banner. I suggest you lean out the fuel mixture on your Vespa, to simulate the legendary "K" bike whine, and to actually wear the shirt for best results. Is it too small? I'll emt you a larger one from the next shipment, gratis.

Fondest regqrds,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twiated Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ken:

Why? How did you look at them before?

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

Dick can usually be found six inches to the right of my back tire, doing about 85 miles per hour, when we ride.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conchscooter:

If you really revere that foot-peg from Hermey's, and envision it as my ass (which was a funny line, to be sure), then feel free to kiss it.

Fondest regards,
Jackl • reep • Toad

Doc Rogers said...

Hey Jack,
Does your sidekick have special names for you like Tonto did for the Lone Ranger? Will we ever know what "Kimosabe" truly meant ... :-)
Great story! Take care, Doc Rogers

The Armed Christian said...


Go beyond a sidekick, a man of your stature needs minions!

(See Despicable Me if you are unsure of the reference.)

Backroads Buddha

Horst is too young, Ihor said...

Otto Eduard Leopold von Bismarck
(1 April 1815 – 30 July 1898)

It must have been a comic opera Bismarck impersonator. Recognition and homage is tricky.Having stuff named for one can be neither.

"Napoleon got a pastry and a brandy, Bismarck got a herring and Hitlaer will get a piece of cheese." to quote a line from a Jack Benny movie, remade by Mel Brooks.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Shannon Baker (My Bastard Son):

Contact me via e-mail. I'm auditioning for minions and lackeys. My sidekick was caught geasing my seat yesterday.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Ihor:

Hors remembers taking Bismark's lunch money and beating the shit out of him.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

Now you've ruined Butter, the Amish and Bundt Cake for me. Is there no end ?

BeemerGirl said...

I always knew there was a reason that I didn't care for Bundt cake. Classic line though "a hole in the center making it easier to carry."

Enjoy the sidekick while you can. They quickly go off to have lives of their owns and hanging their stars higher if underappreciated!

-Steel Cupcake