Some time ago, I was out riding with friends. I was riding one of my friend’s ZX14. This is a supersonic land missile of a bike – and I was running around 180 at one point when I inadvertently passed an unmarked cop in a white Charger. I think he realized the hopelessness of the situation because he didn’t even try. Or at least, that’s how it looked to me. At 180, you are covering a lot of ground and I was probably half a mile away by the time the Hero’s synapses clicked and he became conscious of what had just happened. By the time he reached for the wig-wags, I was a mile away and out of visual contact. Too late for him; too late even for Motorola! Since I knew what I had passed, I did not slow down. I sped up. Not sure what my ultimate terminal velocity was. I just knew I had to put distance between Me and Him. Which I did. I also knew I had to confuse the porker by not taking the first right-hand off-ramp. It is imperative to take the third if at all feasible. Which is what I was able to do in this instance. Thank god for six-piston calipers, incidentally. The bluing of drilled rotors is a beautiful thing to behold. Hot though they got, they scrub the speed such bikes are capable of in a way that very few cars without “M” on their flanks can match.
Next, it was time to disappear.
Probably the biggest mistake people make when attempting to “elude” a guy in a funny costume determined to put them in a cage for harming no one is to not take advantage of getting the drop on him – which is the only advantage you’ve got in such a situation – by going to ground as soon as you are out of sight. You must pull a Houdini and seemingly vanish without a trace. Depending on where you are, this could mean darting into the woods and laying the bike down (and you with it) then hunkering there quietly for several hours minimum before you even think about poking your head out of the trees to see what might be looking for you – or finding safe harbor in a friend’s or sympathetic fellow citizen’s garage.
I’ve had an understanding with several of my friends for many years. We all know we are welcome to avail ourselves of one another’s backyards, garages and so on in emergencies without prior consultation. Once upon a time, I knew a guy who had a house conveniently located just off a certain Interstate off-ramp. It was good policy to get to know this guy and become his friend.
Anyhow, in the situation I was dealing with on the ZX14, my option – my best option – was the woods. When you SR-71 past a cop at three times the limit – the highway limit – it is like deliberately kicking an unchained Rottweiler. One who also has friends. I knew, as anyone who has played this game before well knows, that within minutes the roads would be swarming with enraged two-legged Rotts and I had better not make my belly available to them.
So into the woods the ZX14 and I went, carefully choosing my entry point so as to not leave a telltale single track impression in soft grass for a baconator to snuffle. The key now was to go deep enough in such as to be invisible to any car but not so deep that I’d never get the bike back out. Sport bike tires are not meant for off-road work and you should try to keep this in mind, even with the adrenaline narrowing your consciousness to the cat’s eye slit of escape at all costs. Be calm. Remember: You are not dealing with rocket scientists. Pigs are dangerous animals but not particularly bright. They are easily angered, though – and you want to be far, far away when that happens.
Which, luckily, I was. After threading through some heavy pines I found a nice spot and hunkered down. I knew I would need to stay there for awhile. Actually, as it turned out, the bike stayed there overnight. I hiked through the woods to a friend’s house and this friend drove me home. Which was a damned good thing, given the roadblock we encountered on the way. An even better thing was that I’d had the sound sense to take off my leathers and leave them and my helmet at my friend’s place. Hey there, officer. What’s the kerfuffle? Said officer looked explosively hypertensive but what could he do? We were just two guys in a truck. He had to wave us on, much as he might somehow, via his highly developed snout, have smelled what he was after. Savor such moments. They are among life’s greatest pleasures.
Next day, we got the bike. Using another friend’s enclosed trailer. Do not screw around. Never assume you are free and clear until at least a month has gone by. That bike was unridable for the duration. They may not have been able to grok the license plate – that’s hard to do at 180, even with a plate reader. But “green Kawasaki” was on the radar – literally and figuratively. You’re just asking for it if you ride that bike again anytime soon.
Luckily, I have other bikes. I let my friend borrow one, as a form of compensation while his was sidelined until things cooled off. I also offered to clean and service the ZX14. It was the least I could do. I wanted to put a small “oink” badge on the fairing, WWII ace style. But I held off, realizing the needless provocation that would be.
No need to poke the pork.
Getting away cleanly is its own reward.
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