Tag Archives: Motorcycles

A Bad Day at the Dragon

There is a little stretch of curvy road on the southwest corner of the Smokey Mountain National Park called The Tail of the Dragon. Riders literally come from all over the world to this little corner of Tennessee to try to tame The Dragon. This little ribbon of asphalt can be a real challenge for even the most skilled rider.

Occasionally someone will try to ride the Dragon like they ride to bike night and the highway is not very forgiving. Traction is everything and your machine is glued to the pavement on two tiny patches of rubber not much bigger than a big footprint. Lose traction, as this bike did, and it’s all over but the crash.

Crash on the Tail of the Dragon

Considering the positioning of the passengers hand and the impending intersection of skin and pavement, I can only guess this didn’t end well. At a minimum there were only broken bones and road rash, picking out little pieces of asphalt for the next three days. Ouch! At worst… well, we won’t even think about the at worst.

Over the last dozen years baby boomers by the thousands have taken to two wheels. Many fancy themselves to be the next Evel Knievel or Peter Fonda. Some people forget motorcycles are inherently dangerous and will put themselves into a situation outside their skill level. Once there the results can be deadly.

Even the most experienced riders can benefit from the occasional skills development program. You may already know how to ride. They will just show you how to ride safer.

For rider courses in your area contact:

Motorcycle Safety Foundation

or Learn to Ride @ Rider’s Edge

**Thank you to my biker friend Michael for passing along the above photo.

Weirdo Wednesday – Jan 12, 2011

I came across a photo last week and the first thought was – This guy has got to be Weirdo of the Week. As the impact of the picture settled in, it occurred to me, this image represented the punch line of at least a dozen jokes I’ve heard through the years. The bad thing – all I got was the photo; nothing  to wrap around the it other than where and when.

So for this week’s Weirdo, I present this guy…. (The one steering)
This photo was posted at MSNBC last week. It was taken on Jan 6, as this man carried a lamb home on his motorcycle in the small municipality of San Antonio de Los Banos, Havana, Cuba.

Oh my, where to begin…

As a motorcyclist myself, the first thing that jumped out at me, besides the lamb not being helmeted, is the logistics of getting on the bike with this passenger.  Imagine trying to get on a bike and roll away down the street with your dog sitting behind you. Yeah, some of you have Little Jack the wonder dog and he just sits there with his tongue flying in the wind, little doggy goggles over his eyes.  But this?  This is wrong in about forty-six different ways.

Note the pad sitting on the back seat underneath the lamb. Is this in case your animal has urinary needs before reaching your destination? You sure can’t trust the bladder operation to chance and mileage. And check out the strange leg lock this lamb has on his biker buddy and the oddly content look on his little lamby face.

They do make a cute couple, don’t they.

Pop quiz, hot shot… A lamb and biker walk into a bar – who buys?

I’m a little surprised this biker is not wearing mutton chops.

Is that a lamb chop in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

His other vehicle is a ‘Lamb’orghini.

And then while readying this post for publishing, I ran across this little gem of a photo.

One is weird…

Two is a trend.

I am detecting a slight smile on the face of this woolly passenger. Let’s assume the sheep is really diggin’ the bike ride. Maybe they are on the way to get sheared, not dinner and a movie.

 



In the sixties, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal. ~Author Unknown

Goose (short fiction)

If quiet had a volume knob, the silence at breakfast was set to eleven. Goose lifted his head to say something to Dan, caught him staring into open space and asked, “Hey dude, where are you?”

Dan looked up and replied, “I was thinkin’ about the first time we went to Daytona with the Rebels.  You remember? It was the night you brawled with Axel over Dixie.”

Goose didn’t respond. He simply got up and went to check the oil in his bike. Dan looked at me as if to ask, What’d I say?  I shook my head and looked over my coffee cup, thoughts drifting back to that Daytona trip.  I remembered like it was yesterday.

* * *

Axel Roberts was the president of the Rebels, a crew of misfits from around the south. He was a mean, unforgiving son-of-a-bitch who ruled the club with an iron fist.  Goose was no different than any of the other guys.  He knew his place in the pecking order. If Axel wanted the girl, she was his – no questions asked – no argument.

We were slamming beers at some dive along Highway 1 when Axel took a liking to the server, a hot blonde named Dixie. She kept looking at Goose as Axel pawed at her through the night. The look in her eyes pleaded, “Help me!”

Goose took all he could stand. His character overtook common sense and he stepped between Axel and Dixie, saying, “That’s enough, Axel.”  The big biker stepped back and rushed Goose head-on like a bull. The fight raged on until Goose finally got the better of the drunken biker. The leader of the Rebels was done. A couple of the other guys helped him stumble outside to cool off.

Sometime during the melee, Dixie quietly slid out the back door. I followed behind to see if she was okay and found her leaning back against an old Buick, trying to light a cigarette. She looked up as I walked over and asked, “How’s your friend?”

I lit her cigarette and replied, “Oh, he’s okay. Personally, I thought Axel would mop the floors with him, but it seems Goose was… inspired.”

She dug in her purse and pulled out a sheet of paper.  She scribbled something and held out the note.  “Would you give this to him, please?”

“Sure.” I took the paper from her outstretched hand. She smiled, climbed into that Buick and drove away.  I looked down at the paper, saw a phone number and her name with the words, Please call, scribbled underneath.

“Frank!” I heard Dan’s voice behind me. Turning around, I saw his head poking out the back door. “Come on, man. We gotta go. When Axel comes to, he’s going to want to put a bullet in Goose.”

As we walked over to the bikes, Goose was already on his machine ready to ride. Axel was still pretty much out of it. I walked over to my friend and shoved the paper into his shirt pocket and said. “You should give her a call.”

The lights of the roadhouse dimmed in the distance as we sped away. A few miles down the road, Goose veered into a gas station. I watched as he walked over to the pay phone. He read the numbers off the paper and dialed. He leaned his head against the side of the booth and talked with someone on the other end of the line.

I looked at Dan and he looked back at me. “What’s that all about?”   I shook my head and replied, “Dixie.”

Goose walked back to where we were parked. “Ya’ll go on. If you don’t see me by Saturday, head back without me.”

I watched the panhead’s red taillight shrink to a small dot before disappearing in the distance. Dan kicked his knuckle to life and we rode back to the campsite. We had to get our stuff out of there before Axel and the rest of the crew returned.

Saturday came and still no sign of Goose. With our gear strapped to the bikes, we headed back to the North Carolina mountains. It was good to be home. Goose showed up three weeks later – a little happier, a little fatter, and a twinkle in his eyes. I didn’t ask and he didn’t offer.

* * *

“Frank!” Goose said. “Where the hell were you?”  I pulled myself out of the memory and smiled. “Back in Daytona.” Not wanting to expand on that any farther, I stood and threw on my leather. “Let’s get some wind in our hair!”

Steel horses screamed through the back roads of South Georgia; my oldest friends, Greasy Dan and Goose McAlister lead the way. We were cowboys of the highway and creatures of the night. But this ride was different; we are on our way to say goodbye to an old friend.

Three hours later, we slowed to the speed limit when our bikes rolled past the city limit sign of the tiny north Florida town. Goose seemed to know his way around pretty good. I saw a small white chapel ahead with a few old cars and a few motorcycles backed up to the curb. We backed in by the other bikes and headed towards the church. Goose walked quickly into the chapel and straight to the front where a shiny black casket rested.

Walking up behind him, I placed my hand on his shoulder and looked at Dixie lying there with a peace she never knew. My friend breezed in and out of her life many times since that night in Daytona. Then came the day they crossed paths with Axel. The bullet that struck Dixie was meant for Goose. The bullet that found Axel was right on target.

 



This is one of my earliest short stories when I started writing again back in 2006. It was somewhat odd that last night I dreamed pretty much this same story. I figured that meant I was supposed to post it here today. Copyright 2011 – All Rights Reserved.

No motorcycling in blizzards

Brrrrrr……

With the bulk of the midwest buried in the white stuff and all bundled up in their snuggies, I’d like to give a shout out to all my biker friends in Chicago, Minneapolis, Toldedo, and the surrounding areas. It sucks to be you.

I’m hearing from people with over twenty inches of snow on the ground. What do you get to do in weather like that? Shovel snow? Make snow angels? Have snowball fights with your riding brothers? Ride your Harley? The answers to those questions are respectively, yes – yes – yes – and, are you out of your ever-loving mind? When you open your garage door and all you see is white, don’t you just get a little weepy? Spring is still three months away and your riding season is officially closed.  Well, it is for those of you in the frozen tundra of the American midwest. The short riding season is a good reason to not live there.

I basically ride year round. Let me qualify that…

There are days I won’t ride because it’s in the thirties or below, but there are days when it’s in the thirties or below that I will. If I have to ride I won’t let low temps stop me.  I like riding in cool weather.  I just don’t like getting ready to ride in cool weather. Layering the clothes, hauling out the big leather, and getting it all on is just a pain in the ass. There may be a few days in the winter when we get snow and on those days I wouldn’t ride even if I thought I could. The biggest need for a safe ride is traction.  Traction is everything and you just get very little of it on the snow and ice.  But thankfully those days are few and far between.

So to my my chosen frozen friends of the north, I say grab a cup of hot cocoa, sit by the crackling fire and think about riding along the beaches of Daytona or Southern California. Me – I’m going for a ride today.



“I’d rather be riding my motorcycle, thinking about God, than sitting in church, thinking about my motorcycle.” ~Anonymous biker

December distractions

I supposed distractions are pretty much the same year round. Between Facebook and keeping up with the latest episode of Fringe or whatever show has my interest, occasionally I will embrace distractions. (It’s all tied into my procrastination mechanism.) I might say something like, “I’ll get to that in a little bit,” or the more deadly, “I can work on that tomorrow.

But there is a distraction in the winter months that always grabs my attention – temperatures above 60°. Now that ties into my favorite pastime – Pearl, my 2003 Harley-Davidson Ultra Classic. When the temps are in that range during the winter months, I can’t always say, I’ll ride tomorrow, because tomorrow might be cold as a Calgary Popsicle. As a matter of fact, tomorrow is going to cap out in the upper forties. Plenty cold enough to stay indoors and write. So, as long as the gauge reads 72°, I’m afraid my heart is in the wind and not the word. It’s a little different during the other seasons because most of the time I can ride tomorrow, or later, or this evening.

Someone asked me recently if I liked to ride in the cold. Actually, I like riding in the cold as long as it’s not too cold. I left the house one January morning a few years back. It was 9°. Did I like riding that day? Hell no! Did I let 9° stop me? Hell no. Would I ride in 9° if I didn’t have to?… Hell no. But if I have to ride I’m not going to let cold air stop me. I will let snow and ice stop me, because of a little thing called traction. Loss of traction is moderately bad in a four-wheeler. On two it’s possibly fatal. Long story short, I won’t hesitate to ride anywhere from 45° on up. Anything below that begs the question… why?

I like riding in the cool temps, 50° to 75°. The bike runs better, the engine heat is not so troublesome, and it just feels better on the body. I don’t mind riding in the cold. What I don’t like is getting ready to ride in the cold. Getting the layers on, getting the leather together, putting on the winter gloves and getting everything zipped up. It adds at least ten minutes to the prep time.

I said all of this to say…. I didn’t get much writing done today. There’s always tomorrow.



People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs. ~Anonymous