EIGHT years ago, I owned a Harley-Davidson.
It was a rare version of the V-Rod known as the Street Rod, with mid-foot controls and beefier front forks.
The customized and polished 1130cc “hog” was my pride and joy. I was especially proud of the “lava lamp”, a Pyrex tube with a red LED light to showcase the engine coolant at work.
Like all Harleys, it was not light. So when I needed to make a sharp U-turn, I had to keep as upright as possible and steer the bike with a light throttle, or bank in and power into the turn.
The former was always my preferred choice especially for very tight U-turns.
However, banking into a turn with a light throttle is a recipe for disaster, as I discovered.
THE FEAR OF EMBARRASSMENT APPARENTLY PRODUCES SUPERHUMAN POWERS.
The process of falling with the bike is a rather Matrix-like, slow-motion drop. It was like my first motorbike accident when I was 17. I had time to tell myself, “Ah, I am in an accident and I am tumbling now!”
It was the same as I fell with my Harley in my office carpark one evening. “Oh no, I am falling. I hope no one sees me and I also hope my wife doesn’t have a headache tonight.”
You do not need experience to save yourself when you have instinct. I pulled my right leg out before it was sandwiched and toasted by the hot exhaust pipe.
After falling, I stood up faster than an MP in the UK House of Commons who had been called by the Speaker to address the House. A quick look around confirmed no one saw me.
What happened next convinced me that I was a superhero. In one attempt, I managed to lift the 280kg machine! The fear of embarrassment apparently produces superhuman powers.
The only damage was a scuff ed right mirror and a very bruised ego.
A few months later, I was riding with a buddy along a two-lane back road in Johor. I was ahead of him when I spotted two damsels in distress.
They were standing beside a red Singapore-registered Honda Jazz at the side of the road. Obviously, the ladies needed assistance but were too shy to flag me down for help.
But I would have none of that. I came to a stop about 100 metres further down and told my friend, “Let’s turn back and help them.”
I pictured myself banking right, applying the throttle and executing the tight U-turn like a superhero! In a split second, I would arrive on the opposite lane where the two ladies were waiting for their knight on a shining Harley-Davidson.
But the weighty Harley got the better of me again. I leaned into the turn… and fell to my right! The ladies rushed towards me. “Are you okay?” asked one of the two. “Do you need help?”
“I’m okay,” I replied sheepishly.
I was sure they were impressed when they then saw me lift my hefty Harley in one attempt. I pushed the Street Rod and parked it behind their Jazz.
At that moment, I saw two dudes emerge from the bushes and walk towards us. Turns out they had gone to water the plants and the ladies were merely waiting for them.
Talk about going from hero to zero.
SARJEET PREFERS TO DO HIS WEIGHTLIFTING IN A GYM INSTEAD OF ON THE ROAD. HIS MOTORCYCLE COLLECTION NOW CONSISTS OF RELATIVELY LIGHTER BIKES.
Text: Sarjeet Singh / Photo:123RF.COM