Friday, September 15, 2023

It's Not a Competition

He pulled up next to me, right into my lane, and he was faster.  

At the intersection that releases you from the local Harris Teeter, he'd snaked his way to my side, lanesplitting through the cars behind us.  Me, on my scooter, a 300cc Yamaha.  Practical.  Utilitarian.  Efficient.  Underseat storage filled with groceries.  

He, on a 650cc Suzuki, an SV650S, a lovely and entertaining sporty bike with a rorty V-twin motor.  He'd modded it, clearly, from the rumble that blebbed from his twin aftermarket exhausts.  

I gave him a nod.  He, behind mirrored facemask in a black helmet, close enough to touch, did not respond.  I was on a scooter, after all.

Ah well.

When the light turned green, we pulled out side by side.  Too tight, right next to one another, doing the Ponch and Jon CHiPs thing, which is too close for my comfort.  I goosed my scoot.  Someone had to take position, and I wasn't going to wait for him to pull ahead.   I bolted forward, as a scooter can, little wheels and CVT-maximized torque curve making for a frisky zero to thirty-five push.  For a moment, I was in front.

There was a roar from behind me.  I had dropped a gauntlet.  I, on a mere scooter.  A fraction of a second later, he blasted past to my right, motor wound out and snarling.  It sounded lovely.  

But when he got well ahead of me, there was a pop, a moment of errant combustion.  Smoke, now, coming from his left exhaust.

He slowed, and I passed him, making an effort not to do so overly quickly.

At the next light, I went straight.  He took a right, and stopped for a moment to put his foot down.  Smoke rose in a cloud around him, and he looked around, realizing what he'd done.  A valve blown, most likely.  He rode off, smoke trailing behind him.

O my dude.  So sorry.  It's not a competition.  It really isn't.