Wyatt Underwood's


How the Sportster went away

[The bike:  a glory of black and chrome]

Once upon a time, a motorcyclist - actually a Harley rider! - sat patiently at an intersection, and his Sportster leapt out from under him. It did! He was so startled he still stood on the pavement as if he straddled his Harley, as if his hands still held the handlegrips, while his Harley lay on the street just in front of him, its rear wheel turning and turning. The rider stared at it, so stupefied he thought something like "Oh! It must've lost its balance."

A sweet young woman ran up to him and tugged on his sleeve. "Are you all right? Are you okay? Oh! I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!"

Well, let's try for a slightly more objective description.

The intersection occurred where a minor road T'd into a major street. A traffic light had stopped the Harley rider, and the sweet young woman behind him. It changed state for them, from red to green. However, an SUV approached the intersection with no evidence of slowing, so the Harley rider dallied. Sure 'nuff - Whoosh! - the SUV sailed though the intersection oblivious to red lights, other traffic, anything except the slight bend in the road. Once that danger had passed, the Harley rider would have released the Harley's clutch, except that his Sportster leapt out from under him. (See above.)

What had happened behind him? The sweet young woman was so busy taking care of his befuddlement that she never explained or he never heard. She helped him right his motorcycle. They exchanged information. She waited to see if he could ride away, then loaned him a screwdriver and a jack-handle to pry the rear fender away from the tire as well as he could. Then he rattled off to his Harley dealer, and she drove away.

The rider and the mechanic looked at the Sportster and first concluded that he'd been very, very lucky. He could have surprised the SUV driver as a brief "Splat!" that interrupted the SUV driver's thoughtlessness for a moment. Or the driver behind him might have been one of those impatient people who, having knocked the Sportster out from under him, simply kept on driving right over him. So maybe there was little damage to the Sportster too.

Alas. When the mechanic removed the seat, he said "Uh-oh." When he removed the fender, he said "Darn." After a couple more expletives, the mechanic recommended that the rider take a bus home and wait for the diagnosis. Well, gentle reader, you need not wait. When the mechanic called, he said the Sportster was totalled. The frame was sprung and a crossmember was broken. The swingarm (which holds the rear wheel) was sprung and twisted. Several other pieces of the Sportster had been broken or cracked badly enough that they would need to be replaced. The cost of the repairs needed added up to more than the value of the motorcycle. Totalled!

Rats! The Harley rider loved his Sportster. It had taken him over much of southern California, along beaches, into mountains and forests, beside beaches, across the desert, near beaches, and even close to the coast where no beaches have survived. It had taken him to towns and villages and around much of the city. In seven years, they had covered nearly fifty thousand miles. But some decisions make enough sense that even a Harley rider who loves his Sportster can understand them!

Luck came to the rider again. A young mechanic who wanted to assemble a chopper from Harley parts offered to buy the Sportster for parts, so they agreed on a price and the Sportster went away.

But it had been a very good motorcycle, so perhaps it will return as a very good chopper. In any case, the rider is sure it has gone to a good home.