First Time to 150

I live in San Francisco now, but at the time of this story lived in London, England. My current project is achieving 200mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats on a modified Suzuki GSX-R1300 Hayabusa.

Homeward bound, adrenaline drained, I took a wrong turning in a little town called Wetzlar. U turning on a hill (well, that’s my lame excuse) I dropped it. Pinned underneath the bike unable to move, my pride was by far my worst injury – Speed King laid low by learner error…

After some time, a man with a bristly white beard came along, holding hands with a little girl obviously on her way to a birthday party. He helped me up, and together we surveyed the damage. The small girl looked on, wide-eyed, resplendent in her party frock, holding her birthday gift. Then I realized my problem. The gear selector had broken. After some experimentation, we realized that I could kick down to 1st, but couldn’t get anything else. Stranded in Germany, at this rate, I was going to miss the ferry home, and had damaged my bike. At that moment, I felt pretty low. My rescuer came straight to the point:

“I see you haf problem. I take my daughter to party. I return in 10 minutes. Ve go to my house unt ve fix”.

In fact, it was less “ve” was more him; I stood around pathetically, trying to cheer myself up, eating the wonderful sausages his wife gave me and practicing English with another of his daughters, while he swiftly and neatly fixed the broken lever. The repaired lever is so elegant, I keep it as a paperweight.

He was nearly done before I glanced into the garage, and saw, up on paddock stands, a white 1998 GSX-R 750 SRAD, with a mirrored tri-oval can. The seat had purple and yellow flames on it, matching the design on the one-piece white leathers and crash helmet hanging alongside. The bike was spotless, and the ensemble dazzled. Hans followed my gaze, and said “Ja, GSX-R, ze best, no? I see you, I think, I must help my brother”. Then he asked:

“You haf come from England on GSX-R ?”
“Yeah”
“You are hardcore,” he said.

At that, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and confidence flowed through me once more. I crossed Belgium stopping only for gas – after all, I was hardcore – and very pleased to be part of the Gixxer Cult….