Editor's note: As we approach our riding season, I
thought it would be a good idea to dedicate our
March Front Page Story to riding
safety. Nothing too serious, just basic information to
get our mind focused and prepared for a safe riding
went through my files and not really finding what I was
looking for I started searching the web. In my search I
ran across a story I have read before and I would guess
some of you have run across it as well.
have seen this story posted various places but I wasnt
sure if it was really a true or not so I dug a bit
deeper to find its origin. I found it was written by
Daniel Meyer who just happens to have written a series
of motorcycle books called Life is a Road.
enjoyed reading the story again and considering it is
safety related (sort of) I thought for March we would
share our Front Page with Daniel.
Here is a link to his website if
you would like to check it out. I know I'm going to add
some additional reading material to my library.
Life is a Road -
I hope you enjoy
reading Daniels story as much as I have.
(Or: Why the Cops Won't Patrol Brice Street)
never dreamed slowly cruising through a residential
neighborhood could be so incredibly dangerous!
Studies have shown that motorcycling requires more
decisions per second, and more sheer data processing
than nearly any other common activity or sport. The
reactions and accurate decision making abilities needed
have been likened to the reactions of fighter pilots!
The consequences of bad decisions or poor situational
awareness are pretty much the same for both groups too.
Occasionally, as a rider I have caught myself starting
to make bad or late decisions while riding. In flight
training, my instructors called this being behind the
power curve. It is a mark of experience that when this
begins to happen, the rider recognizes the situation,
and more importantly, does something about it. A short
break, a meal, or even a gas stop can set things right
again as it gives the brain a chance to catch up.
accurate, and timely decisions are essential when riding
at least if you want to remain among the
living. In short, the brain needs to keep up with the
been banging around the roads of east Texas and as I
headed back into Dallas, found myself in very heavy,
high-speed traffic on the freeways. Normally, this is
not a problem, I commute in these conditions daily, but
suddenly I was nearly run down by a cage that decided it
needed my lane more than I did. This is not normally a
big deal either, as it happens around here often, but
usually I can accurately predict which drivers are not
paying attention and avoid them before we are even
close. This one I missed seeing until it was nearly too
late, and as I took evasive action I nearly broadsided
another car that I was not even aware was there!
bad decisions and insufficient situational awareness
within seconds. I was behind the power curve. Time to
get off the freeway.
the next exit, and as I was in an area I knew pretty
well, headed through a few big residential neighborhoods
as a new route home. As I turned onto the nearly empty
streets I opened the visor on my full-face helmet to
help get some air. I figured some slow riding through
the quiet surface streets would give me time to relax,
think, and regain that edge so frequently required
Little did I suspect
passed an oncoming car, a brown furry missile shot out
from under it and tumbled to a stop immediately in front
of me. It was a squirrel, and must have been trying to
run across the road when it encountered the car. I
really was not going very fast, but there was no time to
brake or avoid itit was that close.
hate to run over animals
and I really hate it on a
motorcycle, but a squirrel should pose no danger to me.
I barely had time to brace for the impact.
Animal lovers, never fear. Squirrels can take care of
Inches before impact, the squirrel flipped to his feet.
He was standing on his hind legs and facing the oncoming
Valkyrie with steadfast resolve in his little beady
eyes. His mouth opened, and at the last possible second,
he screamed and leapt! I am pretty sure the scream was
squirrel for, Banzai! or maybe, Die you
gravy-sucking, heathen scum! as the leap was
spectacular and he flew over the windshield and impacted
me squarely in the chest.
Instantly he set upon me. If I did not know better I
would have sworn he brought twenty of his little buddies
along for the attack. Snarling, hissing, and tearing at
my clothes, he was a frenzy of activity. As I was
dressed only in a light t-shirt, summer riding gloves,
and jeans this was a bit of a cause for concern. This
furry little tornado was doing some damage!
Picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser,
dressed in jeans, a t-shirt, and leather gloves
puttering maybe 25mph down a quiet residential
and in the fight of his life with a squirrel. And
grabbed for him with my left hand and managed to snag
his tail. With all my strength I flung the evil rodent
off the left of the bike, almost running into the right
curb as I recoiled from the throw.
should have done it. The matter should have ended right
there. It really should have. The squirrel could have
sailed into one of the pristinely kept yards and gone on
about his business, and I could have headed home. No one
would have been the wiser.
this was no ordinary squirrel. This was not even an
ordinary pissed-off squirrel.
was an evil attack squirrel of death!
Somehow he caught my gloved finger with one of his
little hands, and with the force of the throw swung
around and with a resounding thump and an amazing impact
he landed square on my back and resumed his rather
anti-social and extremely distracting activities. He
also managed to take my left glove with him!
situation was not improved. Not improved at all. His
attacks were continuing, and now I could not reach him.
startled to say the least. The combination of the force
of the throw, only having one hand (the throttle hand)
on the handlebars, and my jerking back unfortunately put
a healthy twist through my right hand and into the
throttle. A healthy twist on the throttle of a Valkyrie
can only have one result. Torque. This is what the
Valkyrie is made for, and she is very, very good at it.
engine roared as the front wheel left
The squirrel screamed in anger. The Valkyrie screamed in
ecstasy. I screamed in
I just plain screamed.
picture a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser,
dressed in jeans, a slightly squirrel torn t-shirt, and
only one leather glove roaring at maybe 70mph and
rapidly accelerating down a quiet residential street
one wheel and with a demonic squirrel on his back. The
man and the squirrel are both screaming bloody murder.
the sudden acceleration I was forced to put my other
hand back on the handlebars and try to get control of
the bike. This was leaving the mutant squirrel to his
own devices, but I really did not want to crash into
somebodys tree, house, or parked car. Also, I had not
yet figured out how to release the throttle
my brain was
just simply overloaded. I did manage to mash the back
brake, but it had little affect against the massive
power of the big cruiser.
this time the squirrel decided that I was not paying
sufficient attention to this very serious battle (maybe
he is a Scottish attack squirrel of death), and he came
around my neck and got IN my full-face helmet with me.
As the faceplate closed partway and he began hissing in
my face I am quite sure my screaming changed tone and
intensity. It seemed to have little affect on the
The Dragon maxed out (I was not concerned
about shifting at the moment) and her front end started
picture the large man on the huge black and chrome
cruiser, dressed in jeans, a very ragged torn t-shirt,
and wearing one leather glove, roaring at probably
80mph, still on one wheel, with a large puffy squirrels
tail sticking out his mostly closed full-face helmet. By
now the screams are probably getting a little hoarse.
Finally I got the upper hand
I managed to grab his tail
again, pulled him out of my helmet, and slung him to the
left as hard as I could. This time it worked
Spectacularly sort-of, so to speak.
Picture the scene. You are a cop. You and your partner
have pulled off on a quiet residential street and parked
with your windows down to do some paperwork.
Suddenly a large man on a huge black and chrome cruiser,
dressed in jeans, a torn t-shirt flapping in the breeze,
and wearing one leather glove, moving at probably 80mph
on one wheel, and screaming bloody murder roars by and
with all his strength throws a live squirrel grenade
directly into your police car.
heard screams. They weren't mine...
managed to get the big motorcycle under directional
control and dropped the front wheel to the ground. I
then used maximum braking and skidded to a stop in a
cloud of tire smoke at the stop sign at a busy cross
would have returned to fess up (and to get my glove
back). I really would have. Really. But for two things.
First, the cops did not seem interested or the slightest
bit concerned about me at the moment. One of them was on
his back in the front yard of the house they had been
parked in front of and was rapidly crabbing backwards
away from the patrol car. The other was standing in the
street and was training a riot shotgun on the police
the cops were not interested in me. They often insist to
let the professionals handle it anyway. That was one
thing. The other? Well, I swear I could see the
squirrel, standing in the back window of the patrol car
among shredded and flying pieces of foam and upholstery,
and shaking his little fist at me. I think he was
shooting me the finger
is one dangerous squirrel.
And now he has a patrol car
took a deep breath, turned on my turn-signal, made an
easy right turn, and sedately left the neighborhood.
for my easy and slow drive home? Screw it. Faced with a
choice of 80mph cars and inattentive drivers, or the
evil, demonic, attack squirrel of death...Ill take my
chances with the freeway. Every time.
Ill buy myself a new pair of gloves.
brief post-note...with over 300,000 hits you may well
imagine that I have gotten a bit of email on this story.
I really do appreciate the comments! Keep 'em coming.
The original posting was on my boat site
I am slowly
transferring the motorcycle stories on the boat site to
here. I mirrored this one first due to the volume of
hits it gets. Note that this story appears in my second
book, Life is a Road, Get on it and Ride!
Many have asked if this story actually happened. With
over half a million riding miles under my belt I have
seen a lot of interesting things, but, as with all my
stories, you will just have to decide for yourself...my
comments are not going to sway you one way or another. I
do have to address one comment though...many have
written me to tell me a Valkyrie cannot do a wheelie.
They would be wrong...
The Valkyrie is a heavy cruiser, but with around 100
free horsepower at the rear wheel, any competent rider
can wheelie this bike in the right conditions. Of course
the kicker is that most competent riders will choose NOT
If you just want to cut to the chase...there is a video
of a Valkyrie wheelie (not mine) right here:
Valkyrie Riders - Wheelie
Oh...and just for fun here is the VRCC's own Hollywood
having a little fun on his Valkyrie.
Credit to Paul (Hoosier Daddy) Weber