Thursday, November 29, 2012

Che Guevara And I Have Two Things In Common...

I deeply regret the long absence from this blog. The hurricane thrust me into a week of darkness that seemed to last long after the lights came back on. Quite frankly, the life and the laughter just went out of me. Hundreds of thousands of people had it much worse than I did, with homes and businesses smashed. Hurricane Sandy put a dramatic dent in the distribution of my new book — Conversations With A Motorcycle — but I have managed to get a handle on it. 

All book orders taken prior to October 15th will be filled within a week or so. Most folks have their books now. Some got two. Orders taken after that will be filled before December 18th. I thank all of you for your patience and support.  

I remember a sentiment expressed in the Revolutionary Spirit of the workers who rose up against the Czar: "That which does not destroy me makes me stronger." Many shouted this as they were cut down by Cossacks, proving the point. In that spirit, I now commence the publication of this blog with the following story about socialist moto- love. 

The woman had a reputation for tedious discussions on the politics of protest, the enslavement of the worker class, and the benefits of the collective. Her life was dedicated to exposing whatever the hell it was that kept the proletariat in their accustomed chains. Lithe, with unrestrained breasts that bounced beneath tee shirts that were always a couple of days past clean, she had an an urban earthiness that was anything but urbane. Her name was Louise Enwright but she called herself Lenochka Lyubov. She wore a beret and an expression that permanently indicated her disdain for make-up, deodorant, mouth wash and other excesses of western thinking.

She was a genuine red... a real pinko... a Communist — from Long Island. Her mother was a doctor and her father was a stock broker. They had so much money that her maid was a Republican.

I met her in my last year of college, in a class called “The Literature of Revolution.” She was always reading “the Russians.” These were authors ranging from Tolstoy to Dostoyevsky, who understood life to be a pointless endeavor suffered in frozen, desolate train stations while waiting to be arrested by the czar’s secret police. (For comic relief, key characters occasionally fell in front of the train or froze to death. They were envied by those characters who survived.)  According to the word around campus, Lenochka liked two things: criticizing the bourgeois and a good straight hump.

I generally overlooked belligerent proletariat ladies, whose pubic hair extended to the tops of their knee socks. Yet I was going through a self-inflicted romantic dry spell, largely caused by annoying every female within 400 miles. I had heard that the women of the local fifth column were the least discerning on campus, and most likely to respond to vodka-flavored paint thinner and the promise of breakfast.

I wandered into a Soviet-friendly poetry reading wearing a tee shirt that sported a red star on the front. (It was an advertisement for a brewery.) Most of the shirt’s details were concealed under a green G.I. field jacket that I wore when on my bike. The motorcycle was an insidious 1975 Kawasaki H2. Under my arm was a green (metal flake) helmet, with black trim. When the ensemble was complete, I looked like a militant candy apple. Lenochka had been hitting the vodka all night. To her, I looked like a Communist super-hero. All I needed was a red cape and hip boots from a plumbing supply store.

But I had the next best thing. I clutched a dog-eared paperback copy of Nikolai Karamzin’s “Poor Liza,” printed in Russian. The pages had yellowed  and some had simply fallen out, only to be stuffed loosely back in. I had liberated it from some obscure shelf in the campus library. At some point, she would ask me to translate a page and I would just make it up.

I was surprised at the number of Communists in the room. The men had that treacherous, beaten-dog look about them. The ladies showed the hard, timeless contempt of women in perpetual revolution, damned to screwing men whose passions were conspiracy and bumming cigarettes.

Lenochka’s preference was for weaselly guys who looked like bomb-throwing anarchists right out of Doctor Zhivago, and who could do push-ups for two straight hours. According to several authorities, if you had a knack for that sort of exercise then you could ride in her sidecar all night. I did not have a knack for doing push-ups, even when I was thin and on the varsity fencing team. I did have a knack for alluding to the fact that I could do push-ups for hours. My thought was that it might be easier to change the game once it got started. After ten or twelve vodkas, served straight up at this campus cultural celebration, I told her I could do push-ups with both hands behind my head.

I thought the night would be easy, as I had a bottle of vodka, the price of breakfast, and a clean shirt. Yet I had competition. Across the room was an exchange student from Tito’s Yugoslavia. This bastard was communist lite, but the closest thing to a real red within 4,000 miles. He was interested in Lenochka, as the other beauties lacked even her minimalist appeal. He spoke with a genuine accent, had genuine rodent eyes, and came from a country that was still in Europe but close enough to Turkey to be suspected of something.

He offered to take her home.

“How,” I asked, thrusting myself into the hushed dialogue. “There is no streetcar to reality from here. I have a motorcycle.”

“Why do you ride a motorcycle?” Lenochka asked. “It’s an expression of rebellion, isn’t it? Is it your way of striking back at the establishment through non-conformity?”

I didn’t answer right away, as nothing piques the feminine revolutionary mind like a dramatic pause. Instead, I gave her the kind of sideways glance used to great effect by Nikita Khrushchev when charming the crowds at the United Nations.

“I ride a motorcycle to be more like Che Guevara.” I had it on good authority that Che rode bikes and proletariat women hard.

The famous Argentinian revolutionary took a 6,000-mile motorcycle ride through South America in 1952. The profound poverty he found forever set the aspirations of Communists everywhere. My suave manner as a Che devotee made Lenochka waver in her initial assessment of me as a sexual opportunist who would say anything to get laid.

Then I applied the clincher.

“Nothing helps me understand the literary weight of the ‘Russians’ like riding a motorcycle,” I said. “From time to time, I pull over and read this book.” I looked down at the floor and pulled the book from my pocket. A dozen pages dropped out.  "It is nothing," I quipped. "I have them memorized." I looked up and smiled. It was the smile that would become known as the Battered Baby Seal look.

Lenochka said we should go to her place. The motorcycle had triumphed over the politburo. The communist from Yugoslavia shrugged, accepting the obvious. He would spend the night with the red version of Madame Defarge, a woman regarded as an enigma considering her demeanor was concealed by facial hair. She was passed out on the floor.

The motorcycle was a challenge for Commissar Lyubov's skirt. Lenochka mounted the pillion and tucked the excess material under her ass. She was wearing the kind of knee socks you’d expect to find on an extra in the Wizard of Oz, but no underwear. I gave her the usual bullshit about tapping her leg when she needed to hang on. At one point, I reached back for a handful of thigh. It felt like she had a ferret in her lap.

“Can we ride around for a bit so I can feel the Russians too,” she yelled.

I took her hand from my waist and put it in my lap. “That’s Peter The Great,” I shouted.

She asked me to pull over and read from "Poor Liza." I did, under a streetlight. Or I appeared to. I basically ran through a few scenes from Poe's "The Pit and The Pendulum." That's cheery enough to be Russian. We were sitting on the bike together as I slithered through this travesty, and she began to touch herself. Or maybe she was just taking the ferret's pulse. I told her to get off so I could restart the bike. And then I started to laugh, because that's exactly what she was doing. 

My college was located in a highly fashionable New Jersey suburb that oozed money. The streets were lined with trees that all spoke two or three languages and the houses were Tudor homes that no Tudor could afford. Lenochka didn’t live near there. She directed me across the tracks to an industrial hell, where she had an apartment between a salmon cannery and a steel mill. Now one might think the aroma of fish from one direction or the scent of sulphur from the other could be a bit overwhelming. Both were nothing compared to the reek of cat piss which came a litter box that got changed with every Presidential election. (The cat apparently pissed dioxin.)

The place was decorated with unwashed clothing and the sink choked on porcelain dishes that were slowly being etched by bacteria. Rutting microbes stampeded in the bathroom. But such was the heat of my desperation that I was willing to bonk the ferret with the hammer of Thor anyway. Lenochka offered me a glass of white wine that fizzed when the cork was pulled. I declined.

The spirit of the house was a Siamese cat named “Akula.”  It was sleek with a smooth chocolate coat that didn’t seem to bother my allergies, as long as I didn’t touch it. Plus, all the booze that I had chugged earlier in the night seemed to forestall my allergic reaction.

Lenochka dragged me further into this soviet sty, the center of which was a sacrificial futon. A candle bathed the room in a dingy Communist light and I realized this woman was a manifesto with breasts. She wasn’t big on kissing and wanted a good straight hump in the tradition of the push-up.

I was prepared for about 12 thrusts before the inning change and moving to the bottom.  At thrust #10, I cleared my throat in anticipation of making a suggestion when the fucking cat attacked my bare ass and dug its claws into my skin. I screamed, arched my back, and thrust downward causing Lenochka to clamp onto me like a bear trap, pinning my arms. I yelled again and started convulsing to get the cat off my ass.

Lenochka gasped and lie there quivering.

I delivered a backhand across my ass that launched the cat like a tennis ball. My butt was bleeding and the only clean thing I could find to wipe the blood was my own undershirt.

“Do you want me to do something for you?” asked Lenochka.

“Yes,” I said. “Get moose and squirrel.” **

The ride back to my place stung at every bump, but the worst was yet to come. Showering after the next fencing meet, two of the guys had ‘the red badge of passion’ on their backs: the fingernail scratch marks of appreciative women.

I had similar chevrons... but mine were  smaller and engraved on my ass.

“Did you nail a ferret or something?” asked one of my teammates.

** Anyone looking for an explanation of "moose and squirrel" in connection with a communist theme isn't really hip enough to read this blog, and should click here.

Who reads Twisted Roads:
These are actual pictures, submitted by actual readers, unafraid to actually admit they read Twisted Roads...

Above: This is Mark Jones, the head honcho of Air Ambulance Worldwide, Inc., posing in front of his yellow Goldwing (which is a Honda, for our German riders who don't get out much). He is coveting the R1200RT in the foreground, which is owned by Mal Clingan (Florida). Air Ambulance Worldwide is a fixed-wing evacuation company. (Where they hell were they during my second marriage?) Mal is taking the picture and probably giving Mark the finger. You have to wonder what kind of a rider Mal is if he needs the CEO of an ambulance company to escort him on rides to the Post Office and the proctologist. Note the extra large top case on the "R" bike. This houses the steam boiler and auxiliary whale oil tanks. Nice paint, Mal

Above: Carla Sark rides a Honda 750 Shadow (pearlescent gray and white). Here she is on Thanksgiving Day, stalking wild turkeys as they cross the road in her native Indiana. (What the hell is it with Hondas today?) And where are your gloves, Carla? This Honda is tricked out with the optional light package, the crash bars, and cool saddle bags that actually have Fastex releases under the chrome buckles. Carla likes long walks on the beach (good luck in Indiana) and polishing 56 square yards of motorcycle. 

Above: Twisted Roads Reader David Zmoda sent us this picture of one of his sheep, who I shudder to think may be his current ride. "Z" (as he is known to his friends) claims he hasn't ridden a motorcycle since 1978. Yet there seems to be a strong sheep-riding contingent in his native Maryland. Gangs of sheep-riders have been seen on the highways there.  I am thrilled that the model picture above does not have a BMW logo on it. 

Above: Dedicated Twisted Roads Reader Charles Murphy (Murph to his friends) zapped me yesterday with photos of his shop (Oregon) which is something of a legend in local BMW and Moto Guzzi circles.This will be one of my stops when I head out west next summer.

 Above: Murph's roadside service is handily provided by this immaculate "R" bike, which was rumored to be ridden out to the Oregon area by the Lewis and Clark expedition. The "R" bike design represents one of the purest, engine concepts. The earliest of these designs (known as Airheads, after members of Congress) were cooled by the breeze. Later models (the Oilheads) relied on whale oil, air, and the phases of the moon for cooling. Newer models use a stunning water-cooled technology first employed on "K" bikes during the Regan administration.

Above: This is a cool... Murph developed this test stand to put rebuilt engines through their paces without having to reinstall them in the frame first. "This enables me to test for oil leaks and other things with everything out in open and easy to access," said Murph. "It's also a crowd magnet at local rallies and events.

Above: The control panel allows Murph to test various engine functions on command, as well as determine the efficiency of other engine components.

Are you a Twisted Roads Reader? Then send in a picture of you, your bike, or your girlfriend on your bike. You could win a valuable prize. This month's winner (November) is Dave Zmoda of Maryland. His winning entry — the willing sheep — has earned him an EZ Tire Pressure Gauge. And he might win another prize if he submits a picture taking a reading off "Lamb Chop" with the gauge. Remember — Loud Bleats Save Lives! 

Send Pictures To — Put "Rider's Photo" in the subject line.

* No farm animals were injured, insulted, nor maligned by affiliating them with either political party in this blog. However, I did poke a few "R" bike riders in the eye with a stick. But this only because the BMW "K" bike gets the stink-eye from so many of them. And I did make another swipe at elected officials, only because it is a sin to miss a slow-moving target. Twisted Roads apologizes for not zeroing in on Dick Bregstein lately. That will be rectified shortly. Twisted Roads is not BMW-centric and welcomes photos from riders on Harleys, Ducatis, Moto Guzzis, Hondas, Kawasakis, Yamahas, Suzukis, Triumphs, and Vespas. All bikes (and sheep) actually.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2012
All rights reserved
Photos submitted of hot girlfriends do not automatically receive prizes but I will look at them often.



Unknown said...


Do you still have those ferret scratches ? I want to see them. I also want to visit Murphs. I hope to "bump" into you on the road next year.

In Tom's River, leave your keys under the front mat, thanks

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

redlegsrides said...

It's good to see you back online Sir...and with such a beautifully described story. Truly you must have been desperate, I felt like a needed a shower after reading your description of the commie and her habitat. :)

And please, it was the Reagan Administration.....

Oh, and unlike Bobskoot, no need to show me your ferret scratches and associated body part.


ps: so where's my book? :)

cpa3485 said...

And I thought you were going to say that Ludmilla (or whatever her name was) would eventually become Ayn Rand and you would be "ferreted" out to be known as John (Jack) Galt.

Wonderful essay today!
Cat Pissing Dioxin?
How do you think of crap like that?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BobSkoot:

I do plan to stop at Murph's next year. I was thinking, I'll probably need to get the oil changed by the time I get to Oregon, if not the tires. Actually, I want nothing better than to roll into the Rubber Chicken Racing Garage and have two new tires slapped on whatever I'm riding next year... I want to be with the boys in the bund again.

And there ain't no point in coming to the Jersey Shore next year. It may be years before Seaside Heights is up and running. The damage over there is so bad, I doubt they'll have 10 percent of it rebulit.

Still, I'll meet you at a bar in Deadwood.

Thanks for writing in...


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6:

It's good to be back... Man, I was just all stretched out... With no elastic left. I couldn't write a damn thing.

But I'm in the saddle again... Sort of. The arthritis exploded in my right hand, and two fingers now move with an audible click.

Your book was in the second batch mailed this week. So was Rich Machida's. I lost a lot of these things in that damn storm. Folks are starting to chime in all over now as the mail hits.

You know, thank heavens for those less than discerning ladies. That poor woman was as much of a Communist as I was a Mohawk Indian chief. She wanted something to believe in... And something that would believe in her. This is #2 of my three cart stories.

Thanks for writing in.

And it is hot rats to be back.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

This was strictly a one-shot deal. After this I went back to my policy that I wasn't interested if they couldn't pass the acid test... And the acid test was what my mom would think of them. (Mom would have hosed this one off.)

Jim, nothing causes my flesh to creep like a litter box. Cats and horses head my list of things to visit at the zoo.

Your book should be in your hands today. Although one other is among the missing in Tennessee.

Fondest regards,

Unknown said...


glad to see you are on the mend. I still can't send you $$ but then you got a visit from Sandy so I left you alone.

some of us were worried about you as you had been silent for so long. welcome back

Riding the Wet Coast
My Flickr // My YouTube

Anonymous said...

Glad you got your sense of humor back, Jack. I knew I was missing something. Roddy

Jerry "Bull" Quinn said...

Great read Jack. I hate to bring it up but the line rally is, "Grad Moose and squirrel."

Goes something like this.
"I have plan!"
"You have plan?" "Vot is plan?"
"Grab moose and squirrel!"
"Dots plan?"
Jerry Quinn

Mr Flimsky said...

"maid was a Republican" Killer line. Your "young female editor" would have stopped you at "Peter the Great". But what does she know? Haha.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Bobskoot:

Don't worry about buying one of these books Bob. I have sold out of these as fast as I can get them in. I lost a shipment to the storm. It has taken me longer than a month to catch up anyway.

You should be able to get one of these on Amazon next summer. I expect they will be priced like the existing used cigar book copies currently for sale — running between $90 and $176 bucks. No one is more amazed than me.

Thank you for your concern.

See you next summer.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Jerry Quinn (Bull):

How the hell are you? I shipped your book today. You should have it on Monday. Anything I am mailing now is going "Priority."

There is another "Moose and Squirrel" I will share with you when we speak in person. That one is a pisser too. Did you watch the Rocky and Bullwinkle clip in this blog episode?

Send me a picture of you on your Harley. You are one of the few people who traipse through here who knew me when I was 14. There ought to be a good story in there.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Flimsky:

I was waiting for somebody to sound off on the "maid line." I thought that was pretty good too. It occurred to me at 3am, just when I thought I was done.

Thank God my young female editor (my daughter) doesn't read these blogs. I am more than convinced that she thinks I'm full of shit. And she would have flagged the "Peter The Great" line as too low-brow.

However, I know she was right about the book project. I don't regret the insanity that followed her recommendation. But it did drain the life out of me. And that fucking hurricane was the last straw.

I am delighted you were among the first to read this blog tonight. You caught the Republican line and laughted at Peter the Great. Jerry Quinn caught the moose and squirrel reference

Perfect score tonight.

Fondest regards,

Nikos said...


I'm waiting for the audio version of the book with background Sandy sounds.

Happy Christmas from Stoke on Trent, N

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Nikos:

There will be an audio book in the works, but not for a few months. The sounds of the hurricane were somewhat surprising. I often thought the howling of the wind was a hauntingly romantic thing. It was a pain in the ass after eight solid hours of it.

Fondest regards,

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
I'm glad you're back. Reading Riepe is the second best thing in my life. The first best thing was when I learned you're allergic to cat dander and bought a second cat that drops dander like a Octomom drops implanted eggs. You haven't visited since then.
Hope to see you soon.

Canajun said...

Good to see you back Jack.

Gary France said...

Dear Jack,

I will never again look at ferrets without thinking of Lenochka. This is a good thing as it means I won't need to think of Peter The Great. That is a picture I am happy to erase from my mind.

I have ridden motorcycles in Cuba and worked in Russia and can confirm that pinko's can be friendly enough and not at all like your wannabe commie.

You do realise, I hope, that Akula is Russian for shark. Are you sure it was claws it sunk into your backside, and not its teeth?

By the way, I have a photograph of my niece on one of my bikes. I will try to find it and send it to you.

Good to see you are posting once more.

JZ said...

Glad to have you back in shape for blogging, and excellent story!

Conchscooter said...

Dammit. What size storm is it going to take to keep you down permanently you reactionary capitalist lap dog? We need bigger ferrets apparently.
Unlike the capitalist lackey obskoot I have sent you money so guard the roubles carefully.

trophydan said...

Evening Jack

VERY glad to see you back and posting again.

Your last post was a smile raiser, why do I NEVER meet women like that LOL.

I am glad someone else has the brains and balls to report from the front, even if it is a distant event.

You will be glad to hear that Sprint are still able to supply fairing parts for the BMW K75 lurve machine from stock, at (gulp) reasonable prices!

RichardM said...

Your book came in while I was out of town. My wife wrapped it...

Thank you! I look forward to reading it.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Richard M:

Your wife actually touched this book... With her hands!Oh my God.The Book is selling faster than it can be shipped. I am thrilled. Thank you for your patience Rich.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Trophy Dan:

I am gearing up to resume weekly operations on Twisted Roads. I was worm out after this early fall season, but I am better now. Thanks for reading and posting.

Fondest Regards,
Jack Riepe

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Conch:

BobSkoot ordered three books tonight, which makes him one of my best customers from Canada. I am astounded by the popularity of my work in Canada. I got a great review from a reader up there who snapped my head around. I am, starting to feel like a real writer.

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear JZ:

After a false start, it is good to be back in the literary saddle again. Thanks for reading and writing in.


Jack Riepe said...

Dear Gary France:

There are days when I am delighted that my college romances are behind me. And there are days, well...

I was well aware of the definition of Akula, having briefly had a Russian Mother-In-Law. My mental malaise is now behind me. I'll be posting more often. Did my package every catch up with you?

Fondest regards,

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Canajun:

It's good to be back.

Jack Riepe

Gary France said...

Hi Jack, alas the package and I are yet to be united. It is sitting patiently for me in Seattle, but I am stuck in London due to illness. I am sure the rendezvous will happen soon, one way or the other.


RayW said...

My Angel gave me your book as a Christmas present. I just want to say thank-you for the inscription! You like to come across as a smart-ass but your inscription, (in my copy anyway)was actually very touching. I look forward to warmer weather and hopfully taking a lot more rides with my "Angel".

Thank-you very much, and Merry Christmas!


Classic Velocity said...

Dear Jack,

Glad to see you back in the saddle again.....Sandy was a game changer, but as you quoted, what don't kill you, is writing material....

From the Frozen North, Ihor said...

Did you take December off? Happy New Year from the ADKs!! See you soon
John. -- Ihor

Anonymous said...

Hi Jack! Happy 2013 to you!

I want a signed #007 copy of your book Bro! My agent, Ihor, has failed me!

Michael G

Pirelli Motorcycle Tires said...

Nice book you wrote very interesting read. This is a nice blog and the pictures of bikes are good. Keep up the good work.