7/10/08

Pushing Back

It had been a relaxing seaside afternoon of sushi and soju. Not wanting to break the mood I opted to take a scenic ride back to Cheonan through the mountains. The gentle curves of the mountain road snaked James and I within twenty miles of Cheonan. With the sun low in the sky and an empty highway stretching before us, I pulled back hard to the throttle and shot off towards Cheonan.

Tucked down on my tank the road began to flash before me as the needle on the speedometer crossed into one hundred mile an hour territory. Then the bike began to hesitate. Assuming the engine was experiencing mild indigestion brought on by some bad gasoline, I played with the throttle and tried to ride through it. Then came the horrible sound of grinding metal from my engine. With no power, James shot past me, leaving me alone in the countryside.

Pulling in the clutch, I coasted over to the median and stopped. After trying to restart the bike to no avail, I began to look for a rope. Alongside of the road I found a lenght of rubber tube just about the time James called and asked me what had happened. I told him the bad news. He laughed and said he would come get me.

Doubting that the rubber tube could handle the weight of the motorcycle, I wandered over to a set of buildings that were under construction. Through a set of glass doors I could see a rope lying on the floor, so I began trying the doors to see if one was open. When last door finally opened, it set off the burglar alarm and not wanting to explain myself, I ran back over to my motorcycle and waited for James.

When James arrived, we looped the rubber tube through my front fork and tied it to the luggage rack on the back of James motorcycle. Now came the fun part. The rubber tube gave us about a foot and a half between the two motorcycles and Cheonan lay twenty miles away. To get there we would have first to ride on the highway and then negotiate our way through the evening traffic in the city.

James started out towing me at a slow pace and the rubber tube held as I was towed up the on ramp. Soon we were ridding down the highway and all seemed to be going well. Inspired by our good fortune James began to ride faster, which did not sit with me well. As a yelled a James to slow down, all I got in reply was the classic, "What? Huh, What? I cannot hear you?!" Knowing my concentration was required elsewhere, I decided to forget that we were going 65 mph and just concentrate on keep the bikes from crashing into one another.

The empty highway was soon behind us and the clogged city roads lay before us. Ridding on the shoulder, with little room to spare, side view mirrors and over sized trucks left me once again staring down at the rope. While we were making great time, I had no desire to know how close James was cutting it.

Finally we were almost home, the last mile lay beyond this final turn. As we entered into the corner, once again, I yelled at James to slow down and once again he did not hear me. As James turned the rubber tube began to sling shot me straight forward, rather than into the turn. As I tried to correct my front end by breaking and turning, it started pulling James' back end out from under him. Knowing if this continued much longer, it would end with both of our bikes on the ground in the middle of the intersection. So I dumped my bike and went for a roll.

Broken turn signal aside, the bike and I survived without a scratch and we soon found ourselves at home. That Monday the motorcycle was picked up and taken down to the shop. After opening the engine my mechanic found that I had shaken two cranks lose, cracked a piston, warped the cylinder wall, and broken the bearings in the camshaft.

Maybe its time to get a bigger motorcycle...

7/9/08

Motorcycle Firework Joust

A few notes:

1) “I” was not “involved” in this.
2) The scream heard mid-way through the video is the camera lady being hit by a rouge firework.

Cheonan, South Korea

City View

video

While I had higher aspirations for this video, it will give you an interesting glimpse into what a countryside city looks like in South Korea.