Hot Bike - - Webslinger -

“If you have a dumb head, the rest of your body suf­fers.” That nugget of wis­dom was laid on me by a wise man named Gil­bert Holt, fa­ther of Hot Bike Edi­torin-chief Jeff G. Holt, as we deep­fried some shrimp in his kitchen one night.

Se­nior Holt’s words ran though my mind loud and clear on a re­cent com­mute into the of­fice aboard one of the Hot Bike test mo­tor­cy­cles. As I loped along at a leisurely pace on the free­way, a fa­mil­iar rum­ble of a small-dis­place­ment V-twin ripped by me at triple-digit speeds in a rather wob­bly state. I caught enough of a visual to no­tice the rider was on a new bike with a dealer plate, new boots, new hel­met, new leather jacket, and, well, new ev­ery­thing. Their reck­less rid­ing was the “dumb” part.

A hand­ful of miles down the free­way when traf­fic started to get heavy I pulled off to en­joy the splen­dor that is gassta­tion cof­fee and donuts. I geared up and en­tered the free­way a few min­utes later won­der­ing why I con­tinue to sub­mit my stom­ach to such bru­tal bud­get del­i­ca­cies. That was my “dumb” part.

Traf­fic was stopped. Not the bumperto-bumper 10-mph stuff that is the reg­u­lar dur­ing the morn­ing crunch at this par­tic­u­lar in­ter­change, but it was not mov­ing at all. It was a scene straight out of a zom­bie movie. I fi­nessed my way through the planted autos to where the cause of this melee was. I scoped out highway pa­trol cars spread out, road flares ga­lore, an am­bu­lance, and an 18-wheeler in a nearly jack­knifed po­si­tion. There were some rather lengthy skid marks lead­ing up to where it rested. I then no­ticed two cars in front of it that were smashed up tip to tail like the losers in a de­mo­li­tion derby at a state fair.

I then had a dread­ful feel­ing in my gut, partly be­cause of the Kwik Stop caf­feine but mostly be­cause I sensed the rider who had blazed by me ear­lier in a blur of new chrome, paint, and leather was some­how in­volved.

Painfully, I caught a glimpse of that brand-new ma­chine off to the side of the whole accident scene.

It was laid down on the shoul­der of the free­way with bent forks, var­i­ous parts dan­gling by wires, and some deep gouges on that shiny chrome and paint. I could only hope the rider fared bet­ter. That was their “suf­fer­ing” part.

I don’t ex­actly know what hap­pened. If I had to bet I would say the rider’s overly ex­ces­sive speed for the con­di­tions was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to the out­come re­gard­less if they caused it or were a vic­tim of it. Un­for­tu­nately I have had this same sce­nario play out in front of me a hand­ful of other times the past two to three years on my daily com­mutes. In those other in­stances the rid­ers and bikes looked like vet­er­ans of the road. It’s not just newer rid­ers who can learn rid­ing lessons the hard way.

Af­ter mak­ing sure the rider was be­ing at­tended to by paramedics and check­ing in on their con­di­tion, which wasn’t life threat­en­ing, I made my way into the of­fice.

I got within a few miles of Hot Bike head­quar­ters and had to sud­denly exit to use a re­stroom at a res­tau­rant. That cheap-o cof­fee and donuts had done a num­ber to my in­sides. That was my “suf­fer­ing” part.

As with ev­ery­thing in life, the choices you make have an ef­fect on the out­come of the sit­u­a­tion at hand. I ad­vise that if you are go­ing to be dumb, keep it off of the motorcycle and go more along with my bad de­ci­sions. The suf­fer­ing from overly bit­ter cof­fee and stale donuts goes away in only a few hours. Maybe that’s why I keep on do­ing it to my­self. Mmm, donuts. HB

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