So this guy is telling us that he in his souped up and chipped 8/9 year old 2 litre petrol Japanese compact car could burn me off in my bog standard but 1 year old 1.6 litre turbo-diesel German compact car, so I say “you may be right”, he smirks and walks off.
One of the other guys who has known me forever says, why did you say that may be right shit, I shrug, just easier, can’t be assed.
One of the other guys who hasn’t known me long turns to the guy who has known me forever and asks him what he means, like, am I a racing driver, or did I used to be, or is my car a sleeper…
He just tilts his head and me and says, nah, he’s a cunt, he just does stronger harder faster than anyone else, because he does it consistently.
The other guys were looking puzzled, the guys who has known me forever explains, he nods at me again, he isn’t that good a driver, or a rider, or anything else, but those that are better than him never talk about it, never challenge people, never big it up, so if someone does challenge him then by definition they aren’t better than him, and then what decided it isn’t who is best, just who can do stronger harder faster, consistently, for longer.
Then he gave a specific example, and I have mentioned this before, but I am talking about this here for one reason only, for the first time, I heard about this thing I did and lived through from someone else’s perspective.
So the whole thing was I was riding and old 74 inch shovel, with the standard for me 44t rear sprocket which really lengthened the stride, and this other guy had a brand new top of the range 1,100 cc kwack, and we ended up challenging each other to a race, nothing that unusual there, what got people interested was I said that any cunt can do 175 mph for 1 mile, but average speed… and on average speed my old shovel, which would pull a ton, just, if you were generous, was as fast if not faster than his new crotch rocket.
So the challenge was there and he was all OK bucko, you pick the distance, bear in mind we are sat in a pub in the south of England at the time, so I open my mouth and out pops “Athens”
You can’t un-ring a bell or un-say shit when a challenge is in the wind, so there it was.
Long story short, I beat him hands down, for two reasons, reason one was a 4.5 gallon twin tanks and 65 mpg @ 75 mph, and I would sit in the saddle doing 75 mph for much longer than him, and reason two was he was riding so hard to catch up to the tortoise than in any event, even though he was behind at the end anyway, he wore out his rear tyre, down to canvas, just before the end.
Now, I have long since known that the guy who knew me forever won a Peter Green and the Fleetwood Mac poster, mint, a set of vacuum gauges, and 9 gallons of beer, on side bets placed on me.
So this last weekend when these recent events were going down, I heard for the first time WHY he bet on me, as he explained it, it wasn’t just that he personally knew things about me, eg the stronger harder faster for longer personality shit, or even what I was doing for work at that time, which was long distance dispatch riding for the pre-press industry, anything from 300 to 900 miles per day, Monday to Friday, on my trusty old z1000 shaftie workhorse, which happened to be in at my mate mechanics that week for the regular major overhaul, new guides, cam-chain, tensioners etc.
No, he bet on me because he knew no-one else there knew that stuff.
It was a cunt hair short of a 2,000 mile trip on the agreed route, nobody else there knew I could do that in two days (two ferries to rest on, one several hours, and one rest break in the north of Italy) because nobody else there knew that I already did that as a daily mileage on “bad” work days, in a country where the realistic maximum keep your licence speed was within a cunt hair of what the old FXE could cruise at, with 300 miles in between refuelling stops…
See, the guys says, nodding at me, he’s always been that kind of cunt, from way back, and as he explained, back then, no such thing as alloy wheels, bike wheels were steel rims and hubs laced with steel spokes, the dunlop 40 spoke pattern being most popular.
So back then, when you ran a hard-tail, which I did (of course..lol) which means a motorcycle with no rear suspension, you got the suspension you did from running a fat tyre at low pressure…. 7 psi was typical.
Now, spoke wheels you got to have a tube, no tubeless tyres, and spokes means a rim tape on the inside to protect the tube from the spoke ends, and since 7 psi isn’t enough to get the air pressure from the tube to make the tyre grip the rim well enough to stay solid under heavy acceleration, you used 3 or 4 polished for smoothness steel insert / clamps, that crushed the tyre bead against the rim, and these poked through the rim like air valves, but with bigger nuts, and if you rode hard and long, which I did, you have to let the meagre 7 psi out of the tube, and re-inflate the tube, and rinse and repeat 2 or 3 times, until the “creep” was gone and the air valve now poked through the rim straight again… otherwise it would rip, and puncture city.
So, long story short, it was a hard assed fucking ride man, hit a bump or pothole at speed, and it could really fucking *hurt* so there is this guy, known me for ever, saying even back then, you remember that time you gave that chick a ride to the gig and back, and she fell asleep on the back of a fucking hard-tail, which is *impossible*, and you had to reach back and grab her to stop her falling off at 60 mph, that’s how long and hard he rode even back then in the seventies.
I’d actually forgotten that incident until he mentioned it, but I knew what he was saying, always been a cunt, always willing to go harder faster stronger.
The guy he won the vacuum gauges off, was boyfriend of that chick who fell asleep around about that time scale, the guy he won the small barrel of beer off, was her brother, I didn’t know either of them, but apparently they had me pegged.
So they knew about the harder faster stronger, but forgot it or discounted it.
As he said, it should not have been a leap for them, that that guy back then (eg me) could, 20/25 years later, be essentially the same guy, but it was two fold, one, they didn’t know I was doing long distance dispatching on a modern jap four shaftie 5 days and week, and number two, they just saw some asshole ride up on a potato=potato hardley dangerous, and applied the stereotype, poser on a slow bike that doesn’t handle worth shit, and then promptly believed everything they thought they saw.
Now, this story isn’t all about me and what a fucking hero I once was, it’s one of those where you sort of have to tell the whole story for it to make any sense, and the sense in it is what got triggered when I actually said, “you may be right” even though I was also thinking the unsaid “just pray your life never actually depends on you being right boy”
See, in an entirely other context, we were talking today about our company, Acme It corp, we being some of the field engineers, and while everyone was, as usual, moaning about the wages, about the office staff, about the logistics staff, about the sales staff, you get the picture…. they were all pretty sure that the company itself was healthy, and would still be trading, and indeed be bigger and stronger, at X point in the future… so job security should be a good un….
And I said “You may be right”, instantly remembered last weekend, the story above, and started grinning to myself.
They, like the guys who bet against me, don’t actually know what the company is doing this week, none of us get invited into board meetings or lunch with the accountants and bank manager, but instead the see some sort of googleplex light and all the gold partnerships and all the acquisitions, and put 2 and 2 together and get 22.
Which is why this link may be much more significant in YOUR life than it seems, no matter where you are..