Thursday, October 27, 2011

My Recent Crash and Burn... And Regaining Consciousness In New Jersey

The recent crash and burn of the longest-running relationship of my life has brought me to a new address. Contrary to published reports that I was headed to Upstate New York, I am now living in a battered, empty appliance carton, under the ramp for Exit 6, on the New Jersey Turnpike. Altered jumping cables connect this computer with the battery on my 1995, BMW K75, whose red-hot exhaust is currently frying a couple of eggs. (Here’s a tip: crack the eggs in a discarded bean can or something metal before applying them to the heat of muffler. Attempting to fry eggs on the bare muffler will not yield the expected results, especially if the unit is equipped with a heat shield. Be advised the muffler has one heat setting at idle: 1200º.)

The truth is that I am composing this blog from the sun porch of a restored 1920's cottage, less than 5 minutes from the beach at Cape May, New Jersey’s last great seaside resort. The house is furnished with period pieces in the impeccable taste of Helen C., it’s owner, a friend of mine for over 33 years. Helen is the cherished significant other of Ihor S., who occasionally comments on this blog. (The only thing that prevents Helen from commenting on this blog is that she wouldn’t read it under threat of the Inquisition.) The house reflects Ihor’s mastery of woodworking and Helen’s flare for a decor that is both soothing and dramatic. The corner of the sun porch where my desk has been relocated is shaded by Norwegian spruce trees, so it is both bright and secluded — just like my soul.

Before she tossed me the keys, Helen (who is a statuesque redhead with penetrating green eyes) said to me, “Jack, no one is going to bother you here. Write two of the best books to ever make the world laugh from this house. But I want you to know that if any of the characters in your stories are statuesque redheads with penetrating green eyes, I’ll kill you... With my bare hands.”

Ihor was standing behind her at this moment, and silently drew his forefinger across his throat in mutual emphasis. While Helen secretly admires me, she regards my personality as something between the wheat blight and athlete’s foot.

Helen turned to go, then paused and asked the fateful question: “You’re not going to traipse topless, tattooed biker dollies through here, are you?”

“When would I have the time for that?” I replied, glancing up at the clock, as I began to sketch out this blog.

While Upstate New York is savagely beautiful, working from South Jersey offers a greater number of short-term logistical advantages for existing and new business contacts. I was born and raised in New Jersey, and I never thought I’d be returning. Well, “never” is seldom the last word. And that goes for a lot of things. Word of my changing circumstances also filtered into “FaceBook,” which I regard as the “devil’s media.” I began to receive a significant number of encouraging letters from folks all over — many of whom I hadn’t heard from in years.

One was from a woman who stole my soul when I was 17-years-old. She is also one of a handful of women who rode pillion on my 1975 Kawasaki H2, and lived to tell about it. I always thought it would be cool to hear from one of those women.

“Dear Man of Steel,” she wrote:

“A casual FaceBook search caught your name in the short net. A number of links led me to ‘Twisted Roads,’ where I was surprised to discover you are still riding a motorcycle, and not so surprised to read you are still peddling an elegant line of bullshit. It appears that you and Peter Pan have found a way to avoid growing up.

“It seems another woman in your life has recently yanked your ejection handle. While you’re at the age where wounds like these take a long time to heal, and heal badly, I suspect you will land on your feet. If not, I’m confident you’ll find a way to the nearest paved road, and the shortest distance to a sympathetic barmaid. (Only this time, the barmaid will be 52 and not 27.)

“I have been reading a lot of nonsense on your blog about this “battered baby seal look.” I remember that look before it had a name. I even found a number of pictures of you, in old scrapbooks, where you are sporting that look as “casual wear.” Either that, or you were just firing into the crowd. It is hard to think of you as an adult, in your 50’s, shamelessly striking killer facial poses, alleged to give you power over women. When I first read of the ‘battered baby seal look,’ I busted out laughing, as the only image in my mind was the totally malicious expression on the face of Malcolm McDowell in ‘A Clockwork Orange.’ I have no difficulty imagining you tossing that look around.

Above) This is how "Maizy" envisions my "battered baby seal look," as demonstrated by Malcolm
McDowell, in the movie classic, "A Clockwork Orange." Photo from the internet.

“I remember riding on the back of your Kawasaki in 1975.

“We started out on a summer night, just outside of Journal Square. You were leaning against the bike, with long hair not quite to your shoulders. There was no ‘battered baby seal look’ that night. You had an easy smile and looked like you were kicking life.

“I had never been on a bike before. You told me I could lean against the seat rest, but that I should hang onto you if you tapped my leg. We hadn’t gone 30 feet when you tapped it and started slicing through traffic. You took us to China Town, in Manhattan, where I taught you how to use chopsticks. Art Garfunkel, of Simon and Garfunkel was sitting at the next table. I told you not to stare at him. So you stared at me instead.

“Then you wrapped your napkin around your fist, and stuck both chopstricks behind your thumb, adding legs to what was in effect a talking hand puppet. You told me this was Kabuki’s finest hour, and that your hand was about to sing ‘The Sounds Of Silence,’ but with muddled “r’s” to suit the location.

“I was mortified at the time, but the folks in the restaurant seemed to know you well, as you’d given similar performances there before.

“Then you took me up to the George Washington Bridge, cutting through Friday night traffic in Nw York City. It was dark by then, and we left the bike at the beginning of a bridge walkway in Fort Lee. We walked out to the balcony on the New Jersey tower, facing lower Manhattan. The Hudson River was mirror of diamonds, reflecting millions of lights from New York City. The view was absolutely beautiful.

“That’s when you told me about how you’d climbed into the bridgework as a kid, eight years earlier, to write your name on a girder, and that it was still there the last time you checked.

“I laughed.

“You sprang onto the balcony’s rail and pulled yourself into the girders, balancing on a thin bar, 50-stories above the Hudson River.

“I found it,” I heard you say. And then you were there a minute or two, adding something to it.

“You climbed back to the balcony, and wiped the dry bridge grime on your jeans.

“What did you write tonight,” I asked, amazed at what had just transpired.

“Your name,” you replied. But I knew there was more to it.

“I felt like I was Becky Thatcher out with Tom Sawyer. But Tom Sawyer got kissed by Becky Thatcher. And I think you would rather have jumped from the bridge than have tried to kiss me just then. And that had incredible appeal too. Playing hard to get never works. Being hard to get works well.

“The rest of that night was a mad motorcycle run along the cliffs of the Palisades Interstate Parkway. You showed me something of yourself that not many ever got to see. I’d have ridden with you anywhere.

“I regret the motorcycle was incidental to the evening. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to work though?”


Not all of my fan mail is peculiar.

My memory of that night is a little different, however. I’d met “Maizy” four years earlier.

My family committed me as an inmate to a Jesuit prep school when I graduated from the 8th grade (in a local parish Catholic School). Now well over a century old, Saint Peter’s College Preparatory in Jersey City always had the reputation of being a cross between Parris Island and Devil’s Island. The Jesuits would briefly tolerate stupidity, but undisciplined independence, without the background of a thorough education and an appreciation for the arts, was mercilessly crushed. Despite learning this the hard way, I came to love Saint Peter’s and friendships forged there have lasted forever. I do not have one friend from college (which was where I went to get laid). I have 15 or 20 high school friendships that endure to this day. Ihor S. is one of them.

Saint Peter’s was a prep school for boys. (That was the primary reason I didn’t get laid there.) We were supposed to be a cut above the Jersey City gutter (never far from my fate) and expected to associate with girls from the local “all girls” academies. There were three of these in Hudson County: Saint Aloysius, Saint Dominic’s, and Holy Family. Of these, my favorite was the place with the brown uniforms: St. Dom’s. Some of the prettiest girls in the world went here. Beside, Holy Family was in friggin’ Bayonne (NJ) and the girls at St. Al’s (where my sister went) had formed a union, and passed my picture around, labeling me a hopeless douche.

“Maizy” was one of the girls in the “brown” uniforms. She was one of the most erudite, well-read, artistic, sophisticated and fashionable women I have ever met. She was (and is, I suspect) breathtakingly pretty. She was always surrounded by the really cool assholes (rock band members, guys with hot cars, and intellectual artist types), and I could never get close. Then there was this party, and I held court. (There are times when “really cool” gets its ass kicked, and kicked good, by “really funny.”) I would have a handful of interesting dates with “Maizy”, but the Kawasaki gave me an edge just once in my life. (She didn’t know the H2 “Widow-Maker” was hated by real bikers.) This was the night I could take her out without taking Alka Seltzer for two days in advance.

Maizy may be surprised to read that I already knew how to use chopsticks... I just liked having her manipulate them in my hand. The owner of the restaurant, a guy named Wing Po Ping (who went by ‘Kevin’), said to me, “This woman numba 4 who teach you chopsticks. Ha-Ha.”

The Kawasaki ran like total shit that night.

I swear the fucking thing knew when I had a woman on the back. I revved it up at stop lights to keep the plugs from fouling. I kept tapping Maizy’s leg to make her lean into me so I could smell her perfume, or her hair. All I got was hot two-stroke oil fresh off the grill instead. Still the look in her eyes when I climbed into the girders on the George Washington Bridge was worth the threat of falling 50 stories. (I routinely fall that far for women.)

But I am not ready to tell Maizy what I wrote under her name on the bridge that night.

The gentle ‘Twisted Roads’ reader is invited to guess, however.

Copyright Jack Riepe 2011

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Would A Beautiful European Woman Do Something Peculiar For A Rider On The First Date?

I found myself in Ireland a number of years ago, headed for the single pub on the outskirts of a small town. Most people think of rural Ireland as a land of compact, peat-smoked, white-washed stone buildings with thatched roofs. And in truth, you can find more than a few of these around; yet their price — in excess of $750,000.00 (USD) — leaves the inquiring tourist with sticker shock. This pub was a modest wooden beam and stone building, the foundations of which probably predated the first trans-Atlantic cruise of Christopher Columbus. It was on the edge of a field, where the meadow (filled with cows) was bordered by something of a tree-line (also a rarity in Ireland).

I remember thinking the building had a distinct “New England-ish” look about it, for the exception of the sign, which hung above the door, and which may have swung in the early autumn breeze, had there been one. The sign had a distinctly Irish look about about it, suggestive of hospitality, benign neglect, and good stuff to drink. But what really caught my eye was a line of late model Triumph motorcycles parked outside, with a couple of vintage beauties dating back to the ‘70s. “Aaaahhh,” I thought to myself, “The local boys are riding the British stuff.” As a 1995 BMW K75 rider, which has virtually nothing in common with any British bike, I thought I’d join the two-wheeled brotherhood at the bar...

While there is nothing as cozy as an Irish pub, these neighborhood gin mills are like saloons the world over. They’ll welcome you at the bar, but hesitate to roll out the red carpet until they determine whether you’re a sport or a douche. And believe me, it can be a fine distinction in some of these places. I decided to delay the verdict by keeping my mouth shut as long as possible.

The barmaid was about 30-years-old and one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She had shoulder-length red hair, a peaches and cream complexion, full lips, and a svelte body cleverly detailed by a charcoal gray sweater that disappeared into jeans just made for her perfect ass. Though she had no rings on her hand, I found it hard to believe this incredible beauty wasn’t the wearing the favor of some local stud.

The bar was “L” shaped and I was on the short edge of the mahogany counter, closest to smoldering peat in a smokey fireplace. Seven guys, all wearing leather or ballistic riding pants, coagulated on the long arm, and politely halted their conversation to look at me like I was about to steal something. I looked back with a slight smile that any other K75 rider would have instantly interpreted as “Kiss my ass.”

“What can I get for you?” asked the barmaid, through the tops of Emerald green eyes that could have acquired my soul for half price.

“A double shot of Jameson’s,” I said, with a Jersey City accent that has caused hundreds of beautiful women to wince, the moment I speak.

“You’re not from around here,” she said, pouring the amber fluid into a rocks glass, sans the ice.

“I was born and raised in the next village,” I said, looking her right in the eye, fighting to keep a straight face.

“In Drom?”

“The very same.”

“You were born and raised in Drom, County Tipperary?


“There aren’t 99 people in Drom and I think I know all of them.”

“Well, there’s a hundred,” I said, extending my hand. “My name is Jack.”

“And how is it I’ve never seen you before, Jack?” asked the prettiest barmaid I have ever seen in my life, whose name was Chavonne.

“My mother raised me in a barrel in the attic.”

“And why would she do that?”

“To keep the women off me,” I replied.

“Well I bet she was successful,” chimed in one of the riders, to laughter of his friends.

I simply looked at him, raised my glass, and smiled the genuine Riepe article.

“My mother taught many useful things,” I said, sipping my whiskey.

“And what would they be,” said the rider in the black leather pants.

“Well for one thing, she taught me how to thoroughly intrigue a pretty red-headed woman to the exclusion of everyone else in a bar.”

Now it was the barmaid who laughed, as she topped off my glass.

It was no secret I was an American... And Chavonne plied me with a hundred questions. Where did I live? What was I doing in Ireland? Where was I staying? Who did I know locally? What was I writing? Plus dozens more.

I didn’t care. I love talking with pretty women. But then it was my turn... And I said:

“Chavonne, you now know everything there is to know about me. And I know nothing about you. May I ask you four questions?”

“Four questions?” she asked back.

“Just four.”

“Ask away,” she said.

“What’s your favorite color?”

The simplicity of this question threw her for a bit, and she hesitated in telling me, “Blue.” (I think she suspected some sort of trick.)

“What’s your favorite book?’

She blinked on this one... But said, “Ulysses, by James Joyce.”

“What’s your favorite perfume?”

“L’Aire du Temps...”

“By Nina Ricci,” I added.

“No Irish man has ever asked me questions like this,” said Chavonne.

“There’s only one more,” I said. “But... It’s personel.”

“Personel, as in ‘sexual’,” she asked.

I shrugged.

“Go ahead,” she dared.

I took a long sip of my drink, nearly draining the glass. Then I said:

“If you were out with a biker for the first time, and you really liked him, and he asked you to do something peculiar, would you do it?”

It got so quiet in that damn bar, you could hear the grass growing outside. Half of the other riders were staring at me in amazement; the other half were staring at her, mute with anticipation.

I watched as a hint of color tinted her cheeks, and our eyes locked on each other.

“If he asked me to do something peculiar,” she repeated. “How peculiar?”

I took another sip of the whiskey, and did drain the glass, before asking:

“Well, if you were out with a biker for the first time, and you really liked him, and he asked you to tune-up his 1995, BMW K75, would you do it?”

The silence lasted another 5 seconds before the riders at the bar exploded in laughter from their souls.

“I can’t tune up a motorcycle,” said Chavonne, with the most incredible smile I have seen on two continents.

“Ooooooooooh,” I exclaimed, clutching my heart. Then I held up my thumb and forefinger about an inch apart and said, “I was this close to meeting the perfect woman." Then to the bar:"What did you people think I was talking about?”

Seven guys bought me drinks that afternoon. And Chavonne bought me two. I have had very good times in France... I have riotous good times in Germany... I have had extraordinary times in Great Britain... But I do recommend Ireland for beautiful women and legendary good times. It is the nation that invented laughter.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011

Monday, October 10, 2011

Motorcycle “Cool” And Naked Women...

The element of “motorcycle cool” is something that most riders (and non-riders) take for granted. It is assumed that a motorcycle will impart to the average individual some super-human dimension of coolness that can easily be parlayed into street “cred” (credibility), or more specifically, sexual desirability. This assumption was foremost in my mind when I purchased my first bike, a 1975 Kawasaki H2. While it cannot be denied that the average biker enjoys highly aggressive sexual activity with a frequency that would tire a male mink on a fur breeding farm, it can be argued that the motorcycle may only be channeling existing character traits.

Yet at age 19, at the alleged peak of my potential as a casual and willing sperm donor, I was fairly convinced that I didn’t have any existing character traits that identified me as preferred breeding stock. The painful truth was that most women I met back then seemed to instantly know that they were never going to have sex with me — throughout their entire lives. Reversing these conclusions became a painful preoccupation with me.

A careful study of other men, who routinely got their horn honked by blonde bar hotties, revealed they:
a) wore animal hides;
b) had a body mass that was 120% muscle
c) had 98% of that body mass covered by tattoos
d) largely communicated by grunting and eye contact
e) bought their footwear in a shop that once supplied Storm Troopers
f) rode motorcycles

After a brief consultation with an unscrupulous Japanese motorcycle dealer (who may have been the King of the Gypsies), I came away secure in the knowledge that if you took care of the last point, all of the others would come gradually. So I put my faith in Japanese cutting-edge technology of the time and bought a green two-wheeled powerhouse with a two-stroke engine modeled after a three-cylinder nuclear reactor. To put a real curse on things, I also bought two candy-apple green metallic helmets too.

Now I did this in an era when the preferred color of a motorcycle was “black;” when the preferred color of a motorcycle helmet was “black;” and when the preferred sound of a motorcycle was distant thunder (but if sound had a color, it would have been black too). I left the dealer’s like a cheap Las Vegas act called “The Flying Unfuckable Douche.” Some men can go through life secure in the knowledge that they are setting trends. I just made impulsively questionable decisions.

But a motorcycle is a motorcycle... And nearly all can function as talismans. Despite its stupid color, its wretched sound, and marginal handling (read “dangerous”), the Kawasaki was fast, somewhat loud, and to the point — it always started. This was not something riders of more popular two-wheeled sex generators could always say. In fact, many were the occasions when their pillion candy sat at curbside, smoking a Marlboro, while these clowns jumped up and down on kick starters that barely produced a series of dull thuds.

Every man has something to help guarantee the propagation of the species. Some guys have muscles... Other guys have great tans... I have the “Battered Baby Seal” look, and a line of bullshit like the extended runway at Newark Airport. My motorcycle, the Kawasaki, gave me enough of a sense of identity to sit at some dangerous thug bars in Jersey City, and peddle my shit with confidence.

Since I couldn’t really grunt with authority... And since my riding leathers were nothing more than a WWII army fatigue jacket... And since my footwear came from the boot department at Sears... And since I drank Irish whiskey straight (the drinking age in New Jersey then was 18)... And since I smoked a cigar (really odd for a kid my age)... I emerged as that rare individual — the “original.” And as an “original,” I told stories. And when “Angie” turned up at the bar one night, I watched her from the corner of my eye, and told a story or two an octave or so higher, and got everyone around me laughing. And I did this keeping a straight face, without cracking a smile myself, carefully watching her reaction.

I did this three of four times over a two week interval, until the evening came when she was suddenly standing next to me. I had just peeled off a pretty good story about something that had happened to my pal “Cretin” (a personality well-known to the inmates of this saloon and to my dedicated readers), when she looked me right in the eye and asked, “Want to buy me a drink?”

“Is this a trick question?” I asked in reply, gesturing to Vinnie the bartender to refill her glass.

“You’re really a funny guy,” she said. “Can you say something funny now?”

Naturally, I couldn’t.

So I tried grunting with purpose and gave her a point blank blast of the “Battered Baby Seal” look for good measure. For those just tuning in to Twisted Roads for the first time, I have discovered that by manipulating my smile to the side a bit, while maneuvering my eyes downward, I can assume the facial properties of a battered baby seal. These are harp seal pups that are mercilessly beaten into mittens, hats, and fur collars for coats by highly-sophisticated Canadians, who never miss an opportunity to criticize their gun-toting neighbors to the south. The sympathy element this gets from women is unbelievable.

Angie touched my cheek and squealed with delight. “I love it when you make that face,” she said. “You’ve been making it at me all week.”

I clutched my helmet under my arm and played my trump card. Smiling, I told her it had been a real pleasure but that I had to go... Something about an early fall ride I did every year... Up the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the dark... To the Bear Mountain Inn, where I’d spend the weekend. I explained how I would ride around the upper Hudson Valley, over the next day or so, taking in the last warm weekend of the season.

“You’re leaving now?” she asked.


“Can I come?” she asked.

I said nothing for a full four or five seconds, but looked into her eyes, commanding every muscle in my face and groin to remain frozen.

“Okay,” I said.

Angie slipped into that other stupid, metallic-green helmet I had, and climbed on the back of the H2. Our first stop was her place. Her neighborhood was in one of Jersey City’s seedier parts of the “Heights,” where some of the streets still ended in cobblestones and abandoned factories. She was in and out in 5 minutes, without having gained anything in apparent baggage. (Angie’d grabbed a couple of changes of panties and her toothbrush; all of which were jammed into her purse.)

I kicked the Kawasaki into a growl and we headed north.

The first 15 or 20 miles were the northern end of Hudson County and the eastern end of Bergen County, NJ. I skirted a half-dozen communities that were simply a continuation of city streets (the primary difference being the flat roofs of the blue-collar middle class gradually yielding to the peaked roofs of the more affluent Bergen County residents) by taking Kennedy Boulevard to US-1. The Palisades Interstate Parkway starts (or ends) at the George Washington Bridge, and runs along the cliff tops on the west side of the Hudson River. The road is recessed from the cliff tops so the spectacular views cannot be seen from the highway. This is just as well as the PIP was engineered and built in the ‘30s, when the average speed of a car was 45 miles per hour. The entrances and exits for this major artery are still about 25-feet long... But traffic routinely rockets around at 70 mph now. The fatalities would be staggering if motorists could be distracted by the view.

The Kawasaki ran as well as it ever did that night, with the speedo pegged around 75 mph. It was past 10 o’clock and the night air was cool for the denim jacket and jeans she was wearing. I could feel her tits on my back as she inched herself into me for warmth. I pulled over to get her a sweatshirt from the pack I had on my sissy bar, as soon as I could see a gravel-free spot on the shoulder. (The shoulder used to be grass on the Palisades Interstate Parkway and I’d be damned if I’d pull onto that in the dark.)

“I have to pee,” she said, skipping outside the headlamp’s cone of illumination. “Don’t look.”

For once, I didn’t. What was the point? I’d be seeing her sugar scoop up close in less than an hour.

The focal point of Bear Mountain State Park (in the town of the same name), the Bear Mountain Inn, was 65-miles to the north. This imposing log and fieldstone structure is six stories tall, and was built of native materials as a works project in the height of The Great Depression. (I mean the Great Depression of the 1930’s... Not the current one.) The place housed three mediocre restaurants, a really mediocre state park-administered hotel, and the coolest bar in the Hudson Valley. “The Cub Room” was centered around a stone fireplace that could accommodate logs 18 inches in diameter and six feet long. The andirons were cast iron cub bears four feet tall. Above the fireplace was a four-foot by eight-foot oil painting that depicted an old man with a beard waking up in a field... And in blending in with the borders of the artwork were scenes depicting the entire story of Rip Va Winkle, by Washington Irving.

It was a Saturday night, and only the locals were drinking in the Cub Room that night. We’d pulled in, checked in, and still made last call. Checking in had been a trip. I was nineteen, and assumed she was about the same. The desk clerk looked at me like I was stealing something... But in the end the guy flipped me the key with a fast look at my driver’s license.

We had a couple of snorts at the bar (18 was the age for drinking in New York that year too), then called it a night. The Bear Mountain Inn was alleged to have been renovated a few times, but the designer must have trained at the Turkish Penal system. The rooms were small, spartan, and fully reminiscent of the Depression. But they were clean and warm. In fact, the first thing I did was to turn up the thermostat. (This can assist in making a blanket superfluous.)

I tossed my gear on the floor, unlaced my boots, and stretched out on the bed. There is something about watching a woman take off her clothes for the first time that still utterly fascinates me. I was certainly mesmerized that night. She took off her earrings, washed her face, and brushed her teeth. She took off her blouse and undid her bra with a single hook in the front.

Her breasts were the size of grapefruit with dark brown nipples... And like all nineteen year old breasts (that I can remember) were perfect, especially as they were aimed at me. She stepped out of thong panties, revealing a dark swirl of pubic hair, and laid down alongside me, with her head on my shoulder.

She put her fingertips under the tops of my jeans and said, “Don’t I get a peek?”

Once again, I grunted. (I had no choice at this point in time as I had swallowed my own tongue.)

And so began one of the most incredible nights — and there would be two of them this weekend — that I ever had on a motorcycle. Yet nothing is ever really perfect. Ninety minutes later, I felt like a spent shell fired by distant artillery, when this naked beauty nuzzled my neck and said, “Say something funny.”

The god of Motorcycle Cool giveth... And the god of Motorcycle Cool taketh away.

Twisted Roads Readers — How would you like to see the final version of Jack Riepe's new motorcycle book? As a traditional paperback? Or as an e-book? Please take the poll on the upper right hand column of this blog page. The book, The Biker's Guide To Eternal Youth and Jackhammer Sex, will be out next year.

Jack Riepe's Farewell To Pennsylvania Ride...
Saturday, October 15th, 8am
The Frazer Diner
US-30 (Westbound) Frazer, PA
Just west of RT. 401 and US-30

• Plans for Jack Riepe's "Farewell To Pennsylvania" Ride are in the final stage. The 6-day advance weather forecast is slated to be "partly sunny" with temperatures an ideal 66º (F).
• The ride is slated to begin at the Frazer Diner, on US-30, in Frazer, Pa (Westbound), with breakfast at 8am. It's "Kickstands Up" at 9am, with a 60-mile ride through rural Pennsylvania, To Port Clinton, Pa, where a hot German, Oktoberfest, lunch will be served to all who participate.

• Ride your own ride, or stick with one or two other riders...

• The Oktoberfest Lunch — with door prizes — will be provided by Hermy's BMW and Triumph.
• Riepe is leaving Pennsylvania as part of a strategic retreat, following the equivalent of his third divorce. (The man is a tower of strength, or something.)

If you are planning to attend: Please drop us a line so we know to look or wait for you. Send an email to

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

“Toto” Introduces Butt-Powered Trike With Strong Implications For US Market

Japan is a nation known for industrial innovation and bold design leadership, often creating the product first and then developing the market afterwards. Toto — the leading Japanese manufacturer of commodes — recently entered the moto industry with the development and release of a trike powered by biogas, that is collected from the rider via an onboard toilet. Billed as “Toilet Bike Neo,” the machine will soon depart on a month-long tour of Japan, to highlight the green initiatives of the Toto corporation.

The implications for the US moto market are staggering.

For example, competitive long-distance riders (like those who run against the clock and each other in Iron Butt events) would find a certain advantage in never having to stop for fuel, other than grabbing a quick burger and fries at the drive-in windows of popular fast-food restaurants. While details of the machine are sketchy at the moment, it does seem that the rider would have his, or her, ass hanging in the breeze (quite literally) at least once each day.

Then there is the question of “regular” versus “high test.”

Will riders who routinely fill up on Indian cuisine or Mexican food become more prolific sources of combustible gas, or gas of a more explosive nature, converting the simple machinery of this trike into a rocket-powered dyno sled? While biogas motors are not new, the collection and conversion processes of this trike appear to transcend innovative. And if morphed into a typical US conversion, with sound being a critical factor in the machine’s selling point, can we expect to hear, “Loud farts save lives” from the leather and chrome segment?

“Farkle” (expensive motorcycle accessories) is not only a big part of a rider’s self-expression, but represents billions of dollars in annual expenditures in the moto industry, which has stalled in the sales of super-bikes owing to a global economy that has found a toilet of its own. Yet Toto’s machine for the discerningly effluent comes equipped with LEDs that write messages in Japanese, as well as a sound system that plays music. (Toto currently manufactures deluxe commodes that provide stock quotes, tell stories, or otherwise chat with system users, during anal transactions. They are easily converted to transmit campaign debates as well, which some users find inspiring.)

Above) Toto's Neo Bike uses an on-board commode to generate biogas for the engine. Social engineers claim this adds a new dimension to "hanging your ass in the breeze." Photo from internet press release.

Yet the real impact for US motorists concerns other vehicles that might incorporate similar biogas applications. There is talk that municipal buses might have seats replaced by toilets, enabling commuters to save 15 or 20 minutes each day by incorporating a morning ritual into a process that is not only easy on the environment, but which could also lower weekly transportation costs. There might also be a advantage to seeing the asses of hot-looking commuters (both male and female), removing the suspense that can build up over the course of a ride to work. (This, of course, is a double-edged sword as the US populace has a growing reputation for huge, ugly, fat asses too.)

There would be no limit to the size of the machines that could be powered by similar applications. Airliners and cruise ships could become self-propelled. Secretive bathroom rituals would then become a source of social celebration, with many travelers competing in generating both sound effects and volume of content — especially in exchange for lower fares. Established stationary institutions could also become “fueling” stations. The US Capitol Building — the home of Congress — is one of the largest sources of shit in the country. Replacing the desks of Congressmen and Senators with commodes, wired to also recycle speeches and public positions, could provide endless free power for generations of Americans.

So none of us should be too quick to dismiss this trike as a typical Japanese prototype announcement.

Twisted Roads Exclusive:
• Jack Riepe's "Farewell To Pennsylvania Ride" will meet at the Frazer Diner (Westbound US-30, Frazer, Pa, about a quarter mile west of Rt. 4o1 and US-30) at 8am, for breakfast, on Saturday, October 15th, 2011.
• It's kickstands up at 9am, for an exhilerating ride through parts of Pennsylvania settled by Hessian deserters, to an authentic German Oktoberfest celebration at Hermy's BMW and Triumph, in Port Clinton, Pa.

• German Sausages and Bavarian Specialties For All Who Make The Ride!
• Door Prizes
• Ride is open to any Twisted Roads Reader • Any Marque
• While Jack Riepe is relocating, there will be no changes to his blog nor to his hardcopy monthly column.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2011