Motorcycle Stupid

Today's Post
Another of my Don’t Do Stupid stories.

Motorcycles are fun for some and might have been fun for me, but…
My uncle let me ride his Harley now and then. I didn’t become skilled like I assumed him to be, but I managed to never turn it over.

Just before I went into the army in 1955, I went to the A&W on my human powered vehicle[mfn]1942 Elgin Lightweight ‘Victory’ Roadster skip-tooth bicycle in questionable condition[/mfn]to hang out with some of the recent graduates.

One of the guys pulled in on his well-used Indian motorcycle. He ribbed me a few times about the rebuilt Whizzer motor bike I once had. As I remember his good-natured ribbing included my downgrading to pedal power.

When he suggested I should ride a real motorcycle, I told him about my riding the Harley. I guess he believed me because he offered to let me take a spin on his Indian. Of course, I accepted. I idled it around the A&W perimeter to show that I could ride, and he said something like, “Take it to the street.”

The street was clear, and I cranked up the compression. What I didn’t know and wasn’t told was that the compression and throttle on the Harley were on the opposite handlebars on the Indian. So, at full throttle, I flew across the street, over the curb, smashed a lawn mower, and ended up under a picnic table with the motorcycle still idling in a lilac bush.

Other than having some dirt and lilac branches on it, the motorcycle was undamaged. But the lawn mower was totaled and my reputation as a rider was likewise. I caused some alarm because a scrape from something under the picnic table made a minor gouge on top of my head. We all know that head wounds seem to bleed disproportionally to the damage.

I got cleaned up and arranged to pay for the lawnmower damage as soon as I got my first Army pay.

Have fun with a motorcycle, but don’t do motorcycle stupid!