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Northern Ohio Firefighters

2016 Ride will be June 10th -June 12th and will be starting at Clare-Mar Lakes Campground

Give me three steps, Mister, and you won’t see me no more!!

I must preface this story by saying I don’t approach the loop with the same, shall we say, killer racing mentality as some others.  The machine I ride is a modern 150cc “twist and go” big wheel scooter.  It has a realistic top speed of around 70MPH.  Furthermore, tank capacity and aerodynamics limit the range of the bike greatly.  Nevertheless, I go into these races hopeful that I can pull a top three just from reliability.
But LEL IV was hell for me.  The night before, my first night in any tent, some guy outside the campground was burning rubber and revving his engine between midnight and 2AM.  I know this because I was looking at my clock at those times.  Because of this I only got maybe three or four hours sleep at the most.  Then my plan to go all the way north to what I believe to be the 403 bridge took me to every closed and one lane construction route in Detroit.  I was behind and drowsiness wasn’t helping.
I had just gotten gas at some point in Canada and started back out when not 20 miles later I noticed that I was extremely drowsy, not a good thing on any two wheeled motorized machine.  I had to stop.
I stopped at one of the Canadian travel plazas and went in to get one of those small energy drinks in the hopes it would perk me up.
I walked out of the store and casually looked up.  BLOODY HELL!!!!  There were three men around the scooter.  Three BIG men.  Parked around it were three BIG HARLEYS.  I was hoping this was just the typical bike night leather laddened fashion show posers, you know, the computer geeks and lawyers that go to bikenight to live out some leather chrome manhood dream.
But no, that wasn’t it.  The bikes had road grime on ‘em.   Come to think of it, so did the bikers.  And they were BIKERS.  Their vests, dare I say their “colors” matched and even though well worn, I could make out the most important words.  “Hell’s Angels.”
So here I am on 150cc’s of a Mary Poppins Italian scooter.  My riding gear consists of a bright yellow jacket and matching bright yellow helmet.  Safe yes, manly NO!!
I thought about running or waiting until they went away but they were waiting on the owner.  With the attitude of “this ought to wake me up” I walked out.  The biggest one walked towards me, but not in a way that I thought he would.  I looked at me, pointed at the scoot and said “Hey, is that yours?”
I said “um, yes” and then explained very quickly why the bike was there and what the loop was all about.  “Hey, that’s cool!!  The scooter, my wife is thinking about getting one, this one runs pretty good, eh?”  Just as Canadian of an accent as you could ever hear.  One of the other bikers was riding a very interesting machine.  It was a Dyna, but it had the factory fairing and hard bags that comes with the Dyna police package.  He told me that there were only a few years they had them available for civilian purchase in Canada.  “Get a good look at it because you won’t see very many of these.”  As we talked, I finished my energy drink and wanted to get on with riding.  “We’ve found that if you go up the road about 10 miles and THEN drop down to route three, it’s faster.  The cops watch the QEW like hawks and will pull you over for sneezing.”  I headed their advice and was on my way.  The experience kept me alert until PA.

Eric Bechtol  2002 Aprilia

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