Date: October 14, 2010

Author: JT

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Things That Happen (3)

Welcome Back! (again?)  I enjoyed starting this series discussing a private presentation by John Cleese.  If you haven’t read it, he encouraged us to set aside structured, professional, hare-like thinking.  In it’s place, set aside time for your creative, whimsical, spontaneous, or from the gut, thinking to rise up.

So I tried it.  And  the initial results coming to mind were humorous.  Some of the first things that came to mind were ‘Things That Happen’ while motorcycling.  These have stuck in my brain permanently, some really making me scratch my head…even years later.

If you’re a fellow motorcyclist, I’m sure you can relate to some of them, just one more, tomorrow.

How To Break A Radio

Southeast Michigan, just north west of Toledo (Ohio) some. The land here is flat. Even so, the two-lane country roads and surroundings have a character all their own. Many a motorcyclist would dismiss these long straight things as boring. Go to tortoise mode.

They are very refreshing and engaging in the right mindset. The roads are the tar ‘n gravel variety. The texture varies constantly with shiny patches calling out mild depressions where the road’s normal coarseness has been worn smooth. You are rewarded with constant tactile feedback as the roads tirelessly modulate up and down, exercising the suspension just enough to let you know they’re there.

This is also the area where railroad tracks converge from all corners of Michigan as they approach Toledo. In some areas you can’t go a mile without crossing tracks, many without any traffic control devices. But that’s not what makes them interesting. Most, down here, are about 4 to 6 feet above the surrounding area, almost like King Kong-sized expansion joints.  If you’ve driven north out of Ames, Iowa, you know what I’m talking about.

Well, one day a number of us were out for a Saturday morning jaunt. Riding along, listening to the radio, we enter the rail zone. A number in our pack aren’t sure what to do with these 4’-6’ high humps that are maybe 30’ wide. Myself, I’ve always loved railroad tracks. These have just the right approach angle so you can get your machine a bit light on the backside.

With each track crossing (you can clearly see whether trains are coming or not) I gradually increase my approach speeds getting the machine a bit lighter over the next one. Running in the 50-60 mph range I decide to push it just a little bit more. Of course, as I approach the track I realize this one decided to push me a bit more too. I don’t know, maybe 60-62mph, I hit the approach, the bike gets—really—light this time. Coming down on the other side, literally, the ST touched down hard; enough it made you think about it, not enough you’re worried you damaged anything. A few moments later I realize the radio isn’t working any more. Hmm, tape player must not have liked the jarring.

At the Toledo Marina we finally come to a stop. Dismounting, my buddy walks over to see how I’m doing. He causally informs me that there was at least 18” of air under my wheels after that last track. Now, I knew I’d probably gotten an inch or two of air, but 18”? I didn’t know whether to be impressed with myself or not. Still don’t. I do know the radio never worked properly since. I’ve been fighting those eGremlins for years now.

Check back, there’s one more segment waiting in the wings for tomorrow.  Feel free to share your own stories.  I’m sure there’re some deusy’s out there we can all have a hoot over:).

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