Friday, August 20, 2010

RD350... 4 years ago

Today marks the 4 year anniversary that my RD350 engine blew on the Bay Bridge and I almost became road pizza. From my archives:

Let me preface this story with a picture of my sweety.

Geez, what a horrible conclusion to what I thought would be a wonderful day. I was looking forward to riding my motorcycle in town and Marin with a friend today. I was booking along on the Bay Bridge going 80mph in mad, angry traffic... and suddenly my bike made a funny noise, the engine died, and I started dropping speed like crazy. I signalled with my arm that was coming over, emergency style. Kind of like a karate chop type gesture. I was heading to the right side, but the bridge's huge flaw is there is no emergency lane! I had no where to go!

80-90mph traffic coming from all lanes, I was slowing down fast and was signalling to come over frantically. The caged machines just were not happy with me. I was getting swerved at, screamed at, honked at. Can these people not fathom a vehicle in distress? What has happened to humans to make us such evil people, especially when in a car? I was coming over whether they liked it or not.

I managed to get all the way to the right in direct path of traffic. I was completely resigned to the fact that this might be my last few seconds. A lone, small biker on an 8 mile bridge full over assholes in death machines blazing down the road. Yup, there was guaranteed to be one person not paying attention and I would be on page 10 of the newspaper tomorrow burried under a burrito ad. "Motorcyclist: Hit On Bridge." Tragic. Short. Nondescript. Gyped. That would be the end of me.

I got as far over as possible, and I just grabbed my bike and ran as fast as I could. Cars screaming by, no courtesy. Forget it! Run! Treasure Island was just a few hundred more yards and I got my last bout of energy. I sprinted the last hundred yards screaming "FUCK FUCK FUCK!" I got off the exit, pushed my bike to a shady spot, and sat down. Holy shit, I can't believe I almost became a pancake! I started cursing people loudly. The ringing sounds of cars flying by filled every bit of the world at that moment. Doppler effect times 1000. They couldn't hear my screams at them. I pulled the sweat drenched helmet off my head and sat down to try to think of what to do.

I called my friend to cancel. I called my roomate for a ride home, and then he reminded me that I have AAA. "Sweet Jesus, he's right!" I called AAA, and talked to some extremely friendly people wanting nothing more to help me. Triple A is the best investment I ever made. Hands down. Well, maybe my capo for my guitar is up there.

3 hours later of being stuck on a loud rock between the bay and San Francisco, Eddie the tow truck driver showed up in his yellow "Mickey's Towing" International flatbed. A scrawny asian man with mangled, gnarly teeth. But he was a nice dude. He managed to survive the hour of traffic it took to get to me.

We loaded up my bike, me telling him how to load it right. Apparently a lot of tow truck drivers don't like getting motorcycles, as they often get damaged. Owners complain about scratches. I told him I did not care about scratches and showed him the right way to tie it down.

The ride home was relatively calm. I took a few more glimpses of his gnarly teeth and noticed a stack of asian cds and a pack of Wrigley's Spearment gum on his dash. I concluded that his Billy Bob teeth probably put off quite a pungent smell, which he compensated by chewing the gum. Attack the symptom.

He dropped me off and I parked my bike. So what happened? I'm currently praying it's a fried spark plug. I really don't want to have to open the engine. I'll have to wait until later this week to look at it. Luckily I have the old standby XS650, which I have affectionately named "The Gaping Maw."

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