Scoot Commute

Doin’ the Double Take

Posted in BMW R75/5 (Mackie Messer), Daily Commute, Honda CB750 K3 by sbahn on 2009/07/20

Friday I rode the new CB750 to campus. I knew I would be leaving early and wanted to meet Erik and go to Trinity to show Tommy. When I pulled onto campus, the security guard actually spun around and put his arms out wide and said something like, “Now that’s a bike!”, as if dealing with all the idiots on Providence’s streets on 10 inch wheels isn’t impressive.

I told him that ever since Erik got the Bimmer, it’s not fun chasing after him with a 150. Actually, we sat down one night and started to verbalize what bike made sense for me.

  • What kind of riding do I want to do?
  • Do I need storage?
  • Do I want to shift?

It came down to this: every where we go, everyone ooohs and aaaaahs over the /5 (as they should because it’s a beaut). And then there’s me, either on the Buddy (what’s that? a Vespa. No, it’s a Buddy…yeah, yeah, I know it’s lame) or the P (wow, that thing’s seen better days). Plus, I can’t push the Vespa as much as I’d like, as we’re both so freaked out over the blown piston.

I announced I wanted a headturner…some candy for the boys. Although Erik’s been diligently working on the CB350, which I love, we both figured it won’t have the same get-up-and-go as the BMW nor the sweet-factor to get the boys all doe-eyed (it’s two different colors for starters). The CB750…now that’s an icon. So that’s what I rode to campus.

I managed to only stall it once on the ride in (this would have been my second time, ever, out on the street in traffic riding an actual motorcycle) and that was at the corner of Atwells and Dean. There was a guy standing on the street corner and I wasn’t sure if he was going to cross (illegally) or not, so I didn’t give it enough gas. But I didn’t panic; just a quick push of the ignition (did you know you get bikes with electric start as early as the 1970’s…why Vespa never saw that as a plus is beyond me) and off I went.

Even on the big hill at Smith Street where I have to turn left, I managed to make a decent turn from a standstill. I was proud of that.

I parked way, way, way far off in Lot R mainly because I didn’t want anyone watching me get it started in the afternoon. I slipped a crushed Strongbow can under the kickstand to prevent it from sinking into the hot tar (it was a HOT day!).

I asked Erik to meet me at campus so we could ride together to Trinity because I was nervous trying to back it into the curb and park properly in front of the pub. I don’t like people watching me. He waited outside on the street and I met up with him around 2:15pm.

He said he didn’t know how I was planning on going downtown and asked me to lead. I said, sure, and got us onto Smith Street, then a right onto Pleasant Valley. At one of the lights on Pleasant Valley, he said, oh ok, I see how you’re going and then he took the lead. I didn’t think anything of it, as he said he knew which route I had chosen and he usually leads (I hate having to constantly look in my rear view mirrors watching for him if I’m leading). We are stopped at the light where I make the left turn to swoop down by Modern Industries, and I have my indicator on. He doesn’t have his, which is odd, but I just figured he’s got too many other things to keep together. But then the light turns green and he goes straight; I have someone on my tail and after all, I know where I’m going, so I scootch over to make the left.

Now what should I do? I just want to get to Trinity and out of this stupid traffic and the way I’m going is a nice loop with no stops and no lights (which is why I take this route, even if all the men at the bar didn’t think it was the most direct, oh, but I digress). I think maybe I should head up the street at Bob & Timmy’s, because maybe he turned there and has some cockamany way to go. But it’s a really tall hill and I don’t want to deal with the two 4-way stops.

My CB750, Seans and Tommys Triumph Thunderbird...theres also come four-wheeled thing, I think they call it a car

My CB750, Sean's and Tommy's Triumph Thunderbird...there's also some four-wheeled thing, I think they call it a car

I continue my usual way to Trinity, making that nice broad swoop by the Convention Center, then a quick flick (or on this thing, giant tug) into the left lane, then swoop again up by the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. I see Tommy’s Triumph and another Honda 750 in front of the bar. I pull up next to the Honda and start backing into place, engine barely turned off, and I hear, “Oh ho ho! Look at that!” and Tommy’s standing next to me. I get it into place and he’s asking a ton of questions and looking it all over and I’m standing there, sweating my ass off as I’m completely geared up, and saying, “I wonder where the BMW is? Where is he?”

I walked into the bar and don’t even have my jacket off and some other guy is darting out to look at the bike. He comes back in with a slew of questions (I’m thinking to myself, do I know you?). Everyone was chatty-Mc-Chat yet, as I pull off my pants and boots, I keep saying, “Where do you think the BMW is?” Tommy’s like, uh, was he with you? I got a little knot in my chest all of a sudden and I said to Tommy, “Do you think he went down somewhere?”

I said I was right behind him but he started going some stupid way and I was already turning left, and the guy at the bar says, you should stay with the leader. So now I feel bad, but also concerned, ‘cos Atwells is a bear and I do the city commute traffic crap better than Erik does because I do the route every day.

Finally the Beemer rolls up. He parks and comes in and says, Where did you go? I pulled over and waited and was trying to tell from the way the traffic was moving if there maybe was a motorcycle in the middle of Pleasant Valley. I said, I thought you knew the route. You didn’t turn at Modern Industries, and that’s the route.

Supposedly I’m supposed to keep following even when the dum-dum leading is taking a stupid route. Lesson learned. Give me lots of red lights and left turns over my sweet swoop-swoop route.

Regardless, the bike gots lots of attention. As we’re gearing up to head home (after keeping the libations to a minimum), a couple comes up and the guy says, “I drove by the bike and tried to find parking, but couldn’t, so I just looped around again and I’m parked illegally on the other side of the street…where did you get this bike? I’m looking for the same thing…” and thus started a 5-minute conversation on what Honda he should buy. Erik is hysterically laughing inside of his full-face because he knows I’m loving it. I told the guy there’s a gorgeous CL360 on the Providence craigslist for a mere 400 bucks and if I had the room…of course, when I checked the listing the next day, the ad was ‘removed by author’.

Three Hondas, One Bimmer, One Triumph...wheres Josh with his Buddy?

Three Hondas, One Bimmer, One Triumph...where's Josh with his Buddy?

When we left, a Honda Goldwing had joined the pack. The guy had just ridden back from Vermont.

We’re meeting Tommy on Saturday to ride out to the Enchanted Forest in Hope Valley to get the tag for the ADV list. He wants to gauge my stamina for the big ride to Unadilla.

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