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Thread: True Story

  1. #1
    Senior Member Eagle Kammback's Avatar
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    True Story

    I never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential neighborhood could be
    so incredibly dangerous! Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more
    decisions per second, and more sheer data processing than nearly any other
    common activity or sport. The reactions and accurate decision making
    abilities needed have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots! The
    consequences of bad decisions or poor situational awareness are pretty much
    the same for both groups too.

    Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting to make bad or late
    decisions while riding. In flight training, my instructors called this
    being "behind the power curve". It is a mark of experience that when this
    begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation, and more importantly,
    does something about it. A short break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set
    things right again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up.

    Good, accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding a
    motorcycle, at least if you want to remain among the living. In short, the
    brain needs to keep up with the machine.

    I had been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I headed back into
    Dallas, found myself in very heavy, high-speed traffic on the freeways.
    Normally, this is not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but
    suddenly I was nearly run down by a car that decided it needed my lane more
    than I did. This is not normally a big deal either, as it happens around
    here often, but usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not
    paying attention and avoid them before we are even close. This one I missed
    seeing until it was nearly too late, and as I took evasive action I nearly
    broadsided another car that I was not even aware was there!

    Two bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness, all within
    seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to get off the freeway. I hit
    the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty well, headed through a
    few big residential neighborhoods as a new route home. As I turned onto the
    nearly empty streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to help get
    some air. I figured some slow riding through the quiet surface streets
    would give me time to relax, think, and regain that "edge" so frequently
    required when riding. Little did I suspect.

    As I passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out from under it
    and tumbled to a stop immediately in front of me. It was a squirrel, and
    must have been trying to run across the road when it encountered the car. I
    really was not going very fast, but there was no time to brake or avoid
    it-it was that close.

    I hate to run over animals, and I really hate it on a motorcycle, but a
    squirrel should pose no danger to me. I barely had time to brace for the

    Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of themselves!

    Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet. He was standing on
    his hind legs and facing the oncoming Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in
    his little beady eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second,
    he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was squirrel for,
    "Banzai!" or maybe, "Die you gravy-sucking, heathen scum!" as the leap was
    spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted me squarely in the

    Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I would have sworn he
    brought twenty of his little buddies along for the attack. Snarling,
    hissing, and tearing at my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was
    dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves, and jeans this was a
    bit of a cause for concern. This furry little tornado was doing some

    Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans, a
    t-shirt, and leather gloves puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential
    street, and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And losing.

    I grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to snag his tail. With all
    my strength I flung the evil rodent off the left of the bike, almost
    running into the right curb as I recoiled from the throw.

    That should have done it. The matter should have ended right there. It
    really should have. The squirrel could have sailed into one of the
    pristinely kept yards and gone on about his business, and I could have
    headed home. No one would have been the wiser. But this was no ordinary
    squirrel. This was not even an ordinary pissed-off squirrel. This was an
    evil attack squirrel of death!

    Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his little hands, and with
    the force of the throw swung around and with a resounding thump and an
    amazing impact he landed square on my back and resumed his rather
    antisocial and extremely distracting activities. He also managed to take
    my left glove with him!

    The situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His attacks were
    continuing, and now I could not reach him. I was startled to say the least.
    The combination of the force of the throw, only having one hand (the
    throttle hand) on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put a
    healthy twist through my right hand and into the throttle. A healthy twist
    on the throttle of a Valkyrie can only have one result. Torque. This is
    what the Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it. The engine
    roared as the front wheel left the pavement. The squirrel screamed in
    anger. The Valkyrie screamed in ecstasy. I screamed in, well, I just plain

    Now picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in
    jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and only one leather glove roaring
    at maybe 70mph and rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street, on
    one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back. The man and the squirrel
    are both screaming bloody murder.

    With the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other hand back on the
    handlebars and try to get control of the bike. This was leaving the mutant
    squirrel to his own devices, but I really did not want to crash into
    somebody's tree, house, or parked car. Also, I had not yet figured out how
    to release the throttle, my brain was just simply overloaded. I did manage
    to mash the back brake, but it had little affect against the massive power
    of the big cruiser.

    About this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying sufficient
    attention to this very serious battle (maybe he is a Scottish attack
    squirrel of death), and he came around my neck and got IN my full-face
    helmet with me. As the faceplate closed part way and he began hissing in my
    face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone and intensity. It seemed to
    have little affect on the squirrel however. The rpm's on The Dragon maxed
    out (I was not concerned about shifting at the moment) and her front end
    started to drop. Now picture the large man on the huge black and chrome
    cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt, and wearing one
    leather glove, roaring at probably 80mph, still on one wheel, with a large
    puffy squirrel's tail sticking out his mostly closed full-face helmet. By
    now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.

    Finally I got the upper hand, I managed to grab his tail again, pulled him
    out of my helmet, and slung him to the left as hard as I could. This time
    it workless Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.

    Picture the scene. You are a cop. You and your partner have pulled off on a
    quiet residential street and parked with your windows down to do some

    Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser, dressed in jeans,
    a torn t-shirt flapping in the breeze, and wearing one leather glove,
    moving at probably 80mph on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by
    and with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade directly into your
    police car.

    I heard screams. They weren't mine...

    I managed to get the big motorcycle under directional control and dropped
    the front wheel to the ground. I then used maximum braking and skidded to a
    stop in a cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross street.

    I would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove back). I really would
    have. Really. But for two things. First, the cops did not seem interested
    or the slightest bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on
    his back in the front yard of the house they had been parked in front of
    and was rapidly crabbing backwards away from the patrol car. The other was
    standing in the street and was training a riot shotgun on the police

    So the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to "let the
    professionals handle it" anyway. That was one thing. The other? Well, I
    swear I could see the squirrel, standing in the back window of the patrol
    car among shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery, and shaking
    his little fist at me. I think he was shooting me the finger. That is one
    dangerous squirrel.

    And now he has a patrol car.

    I took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made an easy right turn,
    and sedately left the neighborhood. As for my easy and slow drive home?
    Screw it. Faced with a choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers, or the
    evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...I'll take my chances with the
    freeway. Every time. And I'll buy myself a new pair of gloves.

    ~Author Unknown~
    1978 Schwinn Sting-Ray
    Huffy Eldorado
    R/W/B Free Spirit
    1983 AMC Eagle Wagon, hopefully daily driver soon
    1981 AMC Eagle Kammback 300,000 miles, my project
    1995 Ford F150 XLT 302 Auto

  2. #2
    Senoir Membre Rosso Corsa's Avatar
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    Centurion Le Mans, Bianchi Sport, Trek 3500
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    Yes it's long, but it's very well written. That was great, thanks!
    As long as I breathe, I attack.
    Read my Blog!

  3. #3
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Brand New Old Catamount! Schwinn Homegrown, Specialized FSR, Salsa Vaya, Salsa Chile Con Crosso
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    Thanks, what a great laugh.

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