Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Getting The Ton Pulled By Someone Else... A Reader Strikes Back!

I’m always delighted when Twisted Roads proves to be a lightning rod for readers responding to stories I’ve written. Paul P. Savagattis (not his real name) is a rider from New Jersey who was so deeply moved by my last blog episode — which detailed the first (and last) time I took a Kawasaki H2 750cc Death Bike over 100 mph — that he was compelled to share a similar experience. The tipping point for Paul was that the stretch of Interstate-80 (I-80) on which I choose to pull the ton (35 years ago) runs right through the town he called home as a kid. He pulled his stunt on US-46, which parallels the interstate, though under slightly different circumstances. And his machine was a BMW “R” Bike.

“Everything Leaves Fingerprints In A Small Town”
By Paul Savagattis (Not His Real Name)

Just west of Willowbrook Mall, on US-46, is my home town of Fairfield, NJ. Once a bucolic, almost rural New Jersey community, Fairfield today is barely on the edge of the great urban sprawl that surrounds the mega-tropolis that is New York City, about 25 miles to the east. Still, it has managed to retain much of its charm and appeal of bygone years, and I do not now live much farther away.

I occasionally rode with a few of my brother's police buddies, who liked my motorcycle cop leather, which consisted of 70 pounds of cow hide, adorned with epaulets. They thought less kindly of the BMW motorcycle I straddled, however, marking it as a symbol of the Third Reich. Their preference was for the Harley Davidson of the period, or just about anything else — including Japanese marques.

There is a one-mile stretch of road on the eastbound side of US-46 that had no highway entries and all cross-roads were on overpasses. It was a great place to open the throttle without fear of drunks entering the roadway. It should also be noted that the local whitetail deer (rats on stilts) had been hunted almost to extermination back then
and were extremely rare. (This is no longer the case.)

Returning from late night dates, I often let the “R” bike run on this stretch... And while never hitting the red line on the tach, I could get an indicated reading of 107 mph on the speedo. Bikes weren’t made the same way they are today, including Beemers, and mine vibrated more than a “Vic Tanny” ass-shaker.

One night, I was ripping along at the speed of light and passed a police car tucked away beneath the concrete pylon of an overpass.

“Fuck me,” I shouted into my helmet, predicting what was likely to be the next step. At the time, Fairfield had many dedicated officers who fell into the category of being total pricks. The fact that this guy was hidden on the median at 1:30am was a good indication that he was taking scalps and mine was next to be hanging from his belt. There could be no explaining 52 miles per hour over the posted speed limit. And a speeding ticket was likely to double my $69 insurance. (Remember he days when $69 bought anything?)

The next exit was mine, and my house was close to the ramp.

I took the turn at the maximum speed possible and ripped into the open garage, coming to a halt next to my brother Tommy’s Triumph Trident. I sat on the bike in total darkness for a minute or two, and noted there were no red and blue flashing lights in my wake. Could the cop have been sleeping? Taking a piss? Reading a book on personality improvement?

I went into the kitchen with the intent of raiding the fridge. My mom kept a police scanner there because her “number two son: Thomas” was a police special volunteer, and because she had been planning a local bank heist for years. The scanner was still droning at 1:30am, and I heard:

(Dispatch) “202.”

(Police car) “202.”

(Dispatch) “What’s going on out there, 202?”

(Police car) “Not much, kind of quiet.... Tommy’s brother just went by here doing over 100 mph, but not much else going on.”

I started laughing my ass off. And then it occurred to me: Black bike... German jugs... Windjammer fairing... and Gestapo riding gear equals “Tommy’s brother.” I decided to limit my life of crime to fewer of these 35-second rides.

Respectfully submitted,

Paul Savagattis (Not his real name)

Twisted Roads does not advocate the irresponsible operation of motorcycles, excessive speeding, nor unlawful activity with a motor vehicle. Yet we were all kids once... And once was enough. The publisher defies anyone who has owned a hot-running bike in the past to say they never had a little "bad boy" fun with it. Speaking to the graduating class at the College of Cardinals, Twisted Roads Publisher Jack Riepe once said, "Show me a biker who never passed an RV or a slow moving farm vehicle over double yellow lines, and I'll show you a real douche."

The Rites Of Spring...

Dear Mr. Riepe:

The warm April sun is falling on bunches of daffodils that are scattered about the yard like random crowds at an old-fashioned outdoor concert. They bob in a kind of agreement to each rumor of the gentle breeze, and seem to be waiting expectantly for something... Maybe for the music to start... Actually, they are waiting for the neighbor’s cat to again move among them.

I never had much luck with plants, and was advised that I should talk to those struggling for survival in the garden. (My garden looked like last summer’s yam crop in Uganda, where it rains once every 37 years.) What does one say to plants?

Casual conversation... Motivational thoughts... And personal entreaties to grow all fell upon deaf ears. These plants were resigned to a brief, withering existence. And then, as a last resort, I started reading your book —
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists — from the deck each day. The daffodils began to perk up in less than a week. I noticed they would even turn away from the sun to follow my voice around the yard, as long as I was reading your book aloud. Finally (around chapter 16), I realized the daffodils had developed an apparent collectively aggressive personality.

This became evident one morning, when my neighbor’s cat —Miss Tuffet — came over to take her daily piss in my yard. Cats have a very mediocre sense of smell and their urine is scented so that others of their kind can sense the feline presence. (I can assure you there is not another cat within 20 miles of the yard.) Miss Tuffet went among the daffodils, and let out a wail as they attached themselves to her like lampreys. She jumped the fence to the neighbor’s driveway doing about 60 miles-per-hour. (I think that is very fast for an animal with a fat, furry, useless ass like hers.)

As a neighborly gesture, I cut a dozen of these flowers, put them in water, and gave them to the old bitch next door. I haven’t seen her, nor the cat, in a week.

I bought the book as part of your last promotion, in which you offered one for the price of $30, and a second for the original cover price of $15. I gave the second book to my riding buddy, Irv, who’s been reading it to his mother-in-law’s parakeet. (This objectionable old witch makes the bird take a sunflower seed from her lips for a treat.) I understand the little parakeet ripped the old lady’s tongue out yesterday.

These results are probably not typical, and undoubtedly not worth mentioning. But I though you’d be interested anyway.

Dewey Simko
Amish Curse, Pa

Teeth Like A Chainsaw...

Dear Mr. Riepe:

I found a copy of your book —
Politically Correct Cigar Smoking For Social Terrorists — on a table at the place where I go to get my nails done. I was having having a bad day, following an argument with “Bill,” my husband of 12 years. Bill is your average guy. He plays golf, cuts the grass, yells at the television, and keeps a nice coat of wax on the car. In his spare time, he is a prick.

I decided I wanted some fun n my life, and opted to get a nice Harley-Davidson for Saturday afternoon rides to a place with a pool table and guys who communicate through animated tattoos. Naturally, Bill raised an objection and said, “No.” I was crushed that he felt this way, and mortified that he thought he could tell me “No.”

That was when I found your book. I started reading it in the bathroom, where I discovered its natural properties as a laxative. Then I found myself reading it in bed at night. Within three weeks, I was amazed to learn my vagina had grown a set of teeth. They were the sort of teeth you’d find on a chainsaw. I further discovered I could audibly grind them whenever Bill gave me that “special” look.

We now have matching Harley’s, our own custom pole cues, and award-winning tattoos — all because you started smoking cigars when you were four-years-old. (You should see how Bill turns pale every time he hears a chainsaw.) And by the way, the two chapters on motorcycles and cigars brought me to tears for their realism and heart-warming conclusions. (Imagine you, crashing you bike in front of a titty bar?) I recently purchased two of your books, at the special rate of $30 for the first one and $15 for the second, so I could share the joy with two of my close personal friends, who are also married to shit heads. They’re now getting motorcycles too. Marge (housewife and bookie) is getting a “Sportster” like mine, and Cheri Pie (exotic dancer with a huge rack) is getting a BMW K1600 and a trained python.

Has anyone else sent you a story like this? Shouldn’t I win a box of Big Jim’s “Insanely Delicious Cookies,” or something?

Yours truly,

Shirley Pinafore
Dago Beach, Ca.

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• Include the gift book’s recipient’s full name, (First and Last), and tell me something about them. (He or she plays golf... He/she rides a motorcycle... He/she hunts,... He/she smokes cheap cigars... Tell me something.)

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RichardM said...

Back in the early 80's when my airhead was made, coal must've been in short supply as the speedo only goes up to 85 mph. If BMW says that's how fast it'll go, who am I to argue with the all knowing designers....

Unknown said...


being Canadian, it would never occur to us to break the law by travelling faster than the legal posted speed limit.

Riding the Wet Coast

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard:

I never argue with readers, either in the story or in the comments section. My experience with "R" bikes is extremely limited, as I have aleways preferred my motorcycles to have a proper cooling system.

I am positive I will hear from the author of this piece who will set the make and model of this "R" bike to rights. I had a 1986 K75, and the speedo went well above the ton, even the bike barely did.

Thank you for writing in and for reading Twisted Roads.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Here in the US, a country founded on dissent, there are times when the posted speed limit is the first basis of negotiation.

Happy Easter!

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Dear Jack:

I started reading Twisted Roads about six months ago, when I found the blog's URL at the end of your column in the BMW MOA's magazine.

Your writing style is indicative of mental illness or lead paint chips in your baby formula.

Your column in the April magazine threw me, and probably others. Instead of the Benny Hill-type gags and and sledge hammer subtlety, there was a serious piece on your induction to motorcycling.

The change was dramatic to say the least. Does this signify a major content deviation in your style, and is the upcoming motorcycle book more serious than funny.

Personally, I liked the change. I don't think anyone realizes you can write a serious story or say anything without a punchline. I also like the laughs though. It would be a shame to get one at the expense of the other.

Bill Stevens

Anonymous said...

The name Savagattis sound like some kind of venerial disease. I'd be willing to bet that crazy sucker is half Dutch, sure sounds like it anyway. I'll bet there was an Irishman who knew this tale before you and didn't post out of deference to your sensitivities. By the way the gas is $.25 per shot, ask the chef.

Steve Williams said...

Mr. Savagattis's story is an object lesson on the downside of becoming an identifiable character on two wheels in a small town. My own yellow and black riding costume has been noticed enough in the snow and sleet and dark of night that the locals know where I live.

So I try and keep the Vespa under 100mph.

I'm always amazed at the heroic, athletic, mythic level riders you attract you Twisted Roads. And here I thought you were an anti-hero...

Steve Williams
Scooter in the Sticks

Flimsky said...

Bobskoot is typically Canadian. They are so polite and law abiding.

My favorite Canadian joke is, How do get 200 Canadians out of the pool?

Say, "Please get out of the pool."

Michelle said...


Loved the story as always.

Just read your first chapter in BMWON about your first "bike". Actually took me a second to realize that you were talking about a bicycle, lol. First bike at 14, huh?!? Surprising, for the first time I got you beat. Got my first set of wheels, at age 5, a big wheel. Wore the shit off several of them on the hills near my home. My parents eventually got tired of seeing the hole in the wheels from skidding my way at the bottom of some hill and got me my first two wheel. Not as impressive as yours perhaps, only one gear but being that it was my first taste of true freedom I was in love. It was the first thing that truly was mine as it was the usual girly colors of pink and white and my brother would not be caught dead on it. Thus at the age of 8, I was off and running. My parents knowing only about 50% of the time where I was going. I remember vividly the feeling of freedom, the wind on my face, and the adrenaline rush of a down hill run. After a while of riding even those could not quench my thirst for excitement. My friend and I began taking chances. There was one particular hill we had lovingly called dead man's hill. One would be look out and the other would take the hill. Lookouts were required because that particular hill ended at a cross street and thus we were supposed to stop at the bottom, but we had learned that if one took lookout then we could take the hill and the next hill back to back and gain enough speed to coast the uphill climb that was accompanying the second hill. Again this was fun, but being the daredevil I was I started again pushing the boundaries and began to serpentine the bike down the hills which oddly enough gave me even more fun and speed to boot. This was a daily occurrence for me. Oddly, not knowing much about mechanics, I did not realize that continuous twists did damage to my bike which I inevitably learned the day before 4th grade. Took dead man's hill by myself as my friend was busy. About 1/2 way down the stress of having done this numerous times before took it's toll. Who knew that each sharp turn of the handlebars in the past would slowly loosen the bolt holding the handlebars and the wheels together. That day, the toll bell rang. All of a sudden my handlebars gave way and went one way, the wheel went another, and I went face first into the street. Broke out my two front teeth, had to have two root canals for the damage, and was fitted with porcelains that I still wear today. On top of that for the first part of that school year my nick name was "horny" because my front two teeth resembled a bulls horns upside down. Now you would think I would have sworn off bikes after this, but not me. After much whining and swearing to never do twist turns again, I too got my 10 speed, which I rode everywhere until I was blessed with a driver's license. It seems that now I have come full circle and that two wheeled excitement has returned to my life. albeit attached to a motor. I am looking forward to the day when I feel confident enough to hit the open road and remember the feeling of long ago days of being completely free and in control of my two wheeler. God bless the open road, the roar of a motor between your legs, and the intoxicating feeling that it alone seems to give some of us.

PS. Am loving your cigar book. I usually pour thru a book in a matter of hours, but not this one. First because I have to stop every few pages to catch my breath from laughing at your stories, and secondly, the stories are too good to plow thru. They need to be savored and reread to gain perspective and reflection, rethought and revered, smile.

Nikos said...


I agree with Bob, it is not wise for a Canadian to exceed a ton

Best wishes for the coming festive season from all over Europe and from soem palces where a ton seems like standing still (German Autobahn A66 is an example from personal experience), N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bill:

My column in the April issue of the BMW MOA Owners News (ON) is actually the prologue chapter to my motorcycle book. I wrote the motorcycle book as a a kind of sequel to the iconic "Zen And The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

It explains how I became indoctrinated as a "biker," coming from a family that had no previous experience with motorcycles. And it takes three chapters to explain how I succumbed to the madness.

Technically speaking, there was the wind, the seed, and the circumstances. I also had certain expectations as a new rider, that were absolutely ridiculous... But that was also true of my career, my marriages, and my interpretation of life.

I can assure you that there is plenty of humor in the moto-book... How could it be otherwise. But there is also a lot of truth that scores of riders will relate to. Furthemore, it will make a good read for anyone thinking about getting a bike for the first time.

Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff and for writing in. Welcome to the Twisted Roads network of riders.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

Why is it those who seem to comment with inside knowledge do so from the dark edges of the room? You gave enough hints in these few sentences to identify yourself as a sniper from my inner circle.

I look forward to having lunch or dinner with you guys in the immediate future.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve:

Those in the know claim you ride through town with a cape attached to your yellow and black riding gear, posing as that little known superhero, "Vespa Man."

Quite frankly, I think the cape s a big improvement over the bunch of balloons you used to have tied to the handlebars.

And while you may pose as one of the scooter-bound "innocents," I suspect you have taken some of the big bikes from Kissell's on a few record-breaking spurts.

How could you not?

God, how I love to go fast on a motorcycle. And yes, there have been times on my old K75 that I twisted it wide open and white-line danced to the strains of Wagner's Flight of the Valkyrie.

I call that heroic, to a kind of degree.

Happy Easter to you and yours, Steve.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

Jack, I assure you a properly sorted R-bike will hit the ton. Most recently, on the turnpike to meet up with a hot-patootie riding buddy and her boyfriend. The strangest place was Delaware Ave on Philly on a Tuesday night.

Anonymous said...

Paul P. Savagattis speaks: Thanks for the notoriety Jack, there’s been two black SUV’s parked at my trailer park entrance since you blew my WPB cover. I’m surprised that /6 Airhead Owners have not blogged in my defense. The 1976 R75/6 top speed was officially 177 Kph / 110 Mph. The speedo face indicated up to 140 Mph even though the top speed of the R90S was only 127 Mph ( was there anything else ‘stock’ doing 127 Mph in 1976? ).
Two things were misinterpreted slightly in the story. There were no red AND blue Police lights in the 1970’s, only red. Blue was strictly for Firemen. (Remember the Fireman’s Maltese Cross with the blue light in the center for their personal vehicles? Those things are highly prized antiques today ).
And, I never actually stopped those 35 second High speed rides late at night. Probably should have, but when you’re 27 years old? No way. Almost lastly, most Mac-Pac’ers will be happy to learn that I never wore womens outer garments in dark garages. And let’s not forget our ghost rider and Friend Mack Harrell who is riding the Savagattis Highway in the sky. Great Guy.
Paul P. Savagattis, Rimfire Trailer Park - Choconut Pa.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Flimsky:

I have it on good authority that Bobskoot once went 89 kph in an 88 kph zone, in pursuit of a fresh "beavertail," up around Whistler.

And doesn't that sound naughty.

Thanks for reading Twisted Roads, and for writing in.

Happy Easter!

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Michelle:

It is surprising how a bicycle very often provided a rider their first brush with death. The only time I ever sustained a serious injury that kept me in the hospital for any length of time, was when I was riding a bicycle.

Naturally, it was a concussion.

I am thrilled that you find the cigar book to be compelling and motivational. Hopefully, you'll have the same reaction to the motorcycle book.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

If we are thinking about the same hot pattootie, I'd chase her over the 100-mph mark on the speedo myself.

I'd be dipped in shit if I'd try it in Philly, however.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

There is a hard-to-explain release of the soul that occurs when you take a motorcycle over the 100-mile-per-hour mark — and hold it there for a bit. I have never ridden a bike on the Autobahn... But I have taken a shit-hot Mercedes on those phenomenal German roads, and had a pisser of a good time.

Have a great Easter!

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Paul P. Savagattis:

It was my pleasure to convey your story to the masses... In fact, I was delighted to even highlight the fact it was an "R" bike. (There were no "K" bikes back then.)

I found your comment to be both reassuring and educational, when it came to detailing the top speed and the speedo appointments on the bike.

I'm also glad you didn't give the impression that this machine was getting you laid anyplace, because there are limits to what people will believe.

Happy Easter, Paul. I deeply regret I will not be going to West Virginia with you guys this year.

Fondest regards,

Anonymous said...

"I'm also glad you didn't give the impression that this machine was getting you laid anyplace, because there are limits to what people will believe"
Paul P. Savagattis replys: Yes Jack, the R-Bike was far from being a 'chick magnet'. As a matter of fact it was a damned obstacle. Most women felt I was obsessed with horizontal jugs, and few believed me when I said: 'BMW' meant 'Be my Wife'. To bad you can't come on the W VA ride, because there I'll tell the many times I charmed my way around these obstacles. Clearly not the equal of the sweet talking 'Grin Rieper' but a few instances where I had to park it in the back yard.
And no Power Ranger, I didn't get
the dreaded Sagavattis infection either.......PPS

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. PPS:

I rather imagine you might get lock-jaw trying to sweet talk someone out of their pants, if you were doing it from the lofty seat of an "R" Bike.

Actually, I'm hearing from quite few of the cognoscenti that an "R" biuke would give me a lower center of gravity, less weight under the tank, and lower pegs. It nmay very well be something for me to consider.

The fact that I will not be able to make the West Virginia ride this year has me almost despondent.

Fondest regards,

Shango said...

"an "R" bike... may very well be something for me to consider."

Please let me know before you buy... I'll need to divest myself of certain investments... what with hell freezing over and all.

And I assume you realize that you'll lose all credibility if you buy an R bike. Then again... that's no great loss...