Into The Woods

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I probably ought not to mention this openly, but what the hell.woods 1

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.woods 2

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.angry pig picture

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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  1. Eric, I spent this morning enjoying a rummage through your website. We are quite similar in several ways. I wrote about that and linked to three of your essays at my blog – see:

    We sure share the liberation of driving well on beautiful roads. I also made more than one failure to pull over in my life too. None worked out badly. I won’t recommend it, but it should always be an option.

    I’ll be checking in from time to time for more good reads.

    • Hey Ted, thanks for the mention of Eric’s site,

      another car guy blogger
      April 12, 2015
      By Ted Dunlap

      This morning I discovered Eric Peters’ website. Perhaps a half-generation younger, he is strikingly similar to me in many ways. He clearly understands and has plenty of experience with high-performance driving for the sheer delight in the act itself. He also fully comprehends The Nanny State efforts to remove joy, individuality and thinking from our lives. Best of all, he can express that and more with written words.

      His car- and motorcycle-guy stories are like reading my own with names and places changed to protect the innocent guilty. We both understand that speed limits good for cement trucks and motor homes are not real-world relevant to high-performance bikes and cars guided by skilled drivers.
      – – – –

      Now for my unmoderated two pence:

      Eric is not only another car guy blogger. He’s a standup guy with more guts then all the typical Borg Sky Mental Midget Mentalians put together.

      What is the deal with compliant cowardly Montana style liberty bloggers. Mealy mouthed moderators quaking in fear from the long arm of the Internet Police. Why even waste the effort?

      You old guardians are dying off nice and quietlike out there, I guess there’s no avoiding the Napoleon Dynamite youth wimpishly waiting in the wings until they take their rightful place as the new Mountain West ruling class.

      Not to pick on just you, lots of commenters here have blogs. Everyone hides between mainstream norms. I’ll bet nearly all of them have to pre-approve every word by hand, or also allow no comments. Some freedom fighters.

      Eric is a rare throwback on this increasingly gutless form of digital communication. He could use some more firepower, and not yet another promoter of the same old status quo.

  2. I’m shocked and appalled at this article explaining how to escape and evade. I wish I had it handy when I needed it to teach my novice MC riding friend. I was seen by a cop car coming towards me as I passed a car on a double yellow in the mountains. Yeah, I was on a 79 BMW R100RT heading to the annual 49er Rally in Northern California. I forgot that he wasn’t used to riding like my long time riding partners who I would race with in various places as we saw the opportunity.
    I hit the throttle and took off since the cop would have to turn around on an area of cliffs and shear drop-offs down the mountainside. My usual riders would have continued on towards the rally as if they didn’t know me. If stopped, they would have said that they were merely following me to the rally and didn’t know me. No, not my novice friend. I turned off on a dirt road and headed up into the pine trees like you mentioned; out of sight is out of mind – hopefully at least for the moment. He stopped right where I turned off and waited. The cop did figure how to turn around and didn’t have to guess where the offending bike went. A full-dressed touring bike doesn’t make good time on a dirt road. I told the cop that I was looking for a camping area. He didn’t believe me, but just gave me the ticket without towing me; probably because it would take too long.
    The worst part was that my drivers license was restricted to driving to work only. I was going to work serving food for my friend at the Rally. I took a letter explaining that to court. They made me hire a local lawyer who explained that claiming that I was going to work was a grey area although it technically fit the letter of the law. The end result was that it cost me $500 and a second full day ride to Northern California and back to go to court for passing on the double yellow. The moral of the story is to make sure all riders are on the same page in case of an emergency.

  3. Well done Eric. Any escape from porkupines is a welcome read. And yes it does pay to have friends in the right places and times. It is sad that such small minded punks are placed in charge of anything and allowed to commit crimes that even sadistic and sick people cannot think of.

  4. Well done Eric. open road favours speed for escapes, where suburbia requires quick thinking and multiple zig-zags.

    I used to hassle the porkers at night down near Campbelltown, south of Sydney back in 1990. A friend and I used to ride down the freeway until we saw a radar trap hiding in the median scrub, then we’d go further to a crossover, switch off the headlights and pass the trap full speed by the light of the moon – on BMW K100’s of all things.

    We always took the first offramp because there was a neat hiding spot right next to it where nothing could be seen at night. Doing this by day would have led us to using a different method, which we couldn’t do anyway since Army took up most of our time.

    Every time though, the cop sailed right on past the offramp. Probably expecting us to continue on without exiting, while frantically doing the Roscoe to his dog.. 🙂

  5. Eric – Bravo! All’s well that ends well. And depriving the pork patrol of those coveted private funds along with “their” revenge is a happy ending indeed! I will have to disagree with you that the feeling of successfully eluding them is as good as sex though; but it does run a real close second. 😉

      • So that’s why you posted a bike chase video….ha ha ha. Spent the next two and a half hours looking at similar videos on youtube after looking at the one you picked.

        Interesting to say the least. I think people on light bikes running (and getting away) from the fuzz is way more common then I had imagined….

        Some were from the same poster, and was clearly the same rider(s) but a different time. That time some of the cops are on motorcycles, but bigger ones. I think these guys go out looking to be chased. Another one they look like they are in downtown St. Louis.

        Another video is a poor sap, who was doing fine, until he ran out of gas. He got busted because he made no attempt to hide.

        A group in Oakland California (I think looking to be chased around too) in the daytime. They even manage to run a poorly set up roadblock.

        A group in some European downtown (Germany maybe?). Not really a chase since the cops couldn’t really “chase” in heavy traffic.

        A dad and son bating cops on quads. Not really a chase as they would dive into back into the woods and the cops couldn’t follow.

        The one you may enjoy the most. A cam from a cop car. A pair of cops in a charger start chasing a guy on a light bike. They manage pretty well at first, the cop is a half way decent driver, taking curves pretty good etc, even at times getting close to the rider. Never manages to read the tag.

        Finally the biker does a 180 and comes back at the cops. They try to block him, and he accidentally bumps the biker as the biker can’t stop in time. The second cop gets out of the car and tries (and fails) to collar the guy, he gets back on and rides off. We don’t see him again.

        They lose him as the second cop gets back in the car. The driver is pissed that he marked up his squad, and his driving becomes noticeably worse (so much for training huh). You can tell he would rather look for the guy then drive. So he comes up to a curve,,,,, and rolls the charger…………..I imagine the dent the rider put on that car wasn’t noticeable after the rollover. I wonder if the guy that ran knew about the crash, I am guessing he got away as all the cops are clearly rolling up on the crash.


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