But I seen him.
I love riding motorcycles. I’ve had more than a few of varying types, selling my sixth just a few years ago. At the time, I also subscribed to Cycle World. I don’t think there’s an issue that I didn’t read cover to cover. They have great writers. I read this one when it was published:
Song of the Sausage Creature, by Hunter S. Thompson.
Cracked me up. I love Hunter Thompson’s style. And at the time I was the proud owner of a Yamaha FZ-1, the only bike I can say ever tried to kill me. It was stupid fast. To fast for it’s frame.
I am not without scars on my brain and my body, but I can live with them. I still feel a shudder in my spine every time I see a picture of a Vincent Black Shadow, or when I walk into a public restroom and hear crippled men whispering about the terrifying Kawasaki Triple… I have visions of compound femur-fractures and large black men in white hospital suits holding me down on a gurney while a nurse called “Bess” sews the flaps of my scalp together with a stitching drill.Hunter Thompson, Song of the Sausage Creature
This bike spent more time on the ground than my others. Mostly because my left foot (one that I’d broken in two places) gave out, and the damn thing would tip over.
I knew I was in for it when I took the bike on it’s maiden voyage down the tollway to I-75. I went up through the gears as I swooped onto the highway from above, and wound my way through traffic, marveling how the bike handled like a jet fighter. I looked down and realized my fat ass was going 140 MPH and there was still plenty of room left on the tach. So I eased back on the throttle and slowed to a reasonable and prudent 80.
When aimed in the right direction at high speed, though, it has unnatural capabilities. This I unwittingly discovered as I made my approach to a sharp turn across some railroad tracks, saw that I was going way too fast and that my only chance was to veer right and screw it on totally, in a desperate attempt to leapfrog the curve by going airborne.
It was a bold and reckless move, but it was necessary. And it worked: I felt like Evel Knievel as I soared across the tracks with the rain in my eyes and my jaws clamped together in fear. I tried to spit down on the tracks as I passed them, but my mouth was too dry… I landed hard on the edge of the road and lost my grip for a moment as the Ducati began fishtailing crazily into oncoming traffic. For two or three seconds I came face to face with the Sausage Creature….
Hunter Thompson, Song of the Sausage Creature
But somehow the brute straightened out. I passed a schoolbus on the right and got the bike under control long enough to gear down and pull off into an abandoned gravel driveway where I stopped and turned off the engine. My hands had seized up like claws and the rest of my body was numb. I felt nauseous and I cried for my mama, but nobody heard, then I went into a trance for 30 or 40 seconds until I was finally able to light a cigarette and calm down enough to ride home
For the most part, the bike was like a tame big cat. But every now and then I’d do something…uh..ill advised…and it would try to kill me. That said, I’ve been riding for decades and had the skill to throttle out of it. Worst example was when I stopped by a charity car wash to ask if they wanted to wash the busses I’d drive on occasion. I turned to leave, parallel to the hose, ran over it and damn near lost it. I jammed on the throttle and the bike pulled upright and took off.
In the end, though, it had to go. I started having chronic issues with my shoulders and hips that made riding more than an hour tough. It’s also tough to ride here in the summer. Even with a jacket and vented helmet, it’s way too hot. Heat that you feel on your body when you stop at a light. Heat you feel on your shins when the radiator fan cuts on. Heat you feel on your nuts when you sit on the black saddle that’s been out in the sun while you were in the store.
It’s also tough to get a grip on the fact that my reflexes aren’t what they were 10-20 years ago. And as I tell everyone who wants to ride that it’s a sport. You have to be in shape and alert. And it’s not necessarily the bike that’ll summon the sausage creature. It’s the inattentive idiots on the road in cars that do that. You need to ride like they are all trying to kill you when you are on a bike.
I miss it though.