Biker Brotherhood

by Eric

During our recent sojourn to the wild roads of the South on the Blue Ridge/Gapaganza Run, I was a witness to, the recipient of, and a participant in the benefits of what I call Biker Brotherhood. That is the uncanny dedication other bikers have to one another, when help is needed. As a biker I have participated in this unspoken ritual since I started riding, never knowing any other way. You see when I was young and impressionable my father would stop and happily render assistance where it was needed on the roads. As I aged I took a Zen philosophy approach to the whole affair. In my view if you are there and willing to lend a hand where help is needed then when you or your loved ones need help it will be there, to balance the scales. In other words if you inject some "good" into the world's consciousness you will stand a better chance of being able to be beneficiary of "good" when your time of need comes. Making the world a better place.

Anton has already mentioned in his reports how our "team" joined forces to gently persuade Earle's K1200's rear wheel back into a useable shape after a chance encounter with a very unyielding piece of terra firma. The facts surrounding my troublesome encounter with the consequences of excessive utilization of clutch friction was also reported on. The standard fellow biker's response of "yea we can get you back on the road again we have a plan" was quickly heard. Sure, I'll ride 180 miles with you and your ailing bike so we can get to the lone Ducati dealership that has a replacement clutch for ya. This dedication is not an uncommon or unexpected phenomenon, but it did play an important part in the success of the entire trip. An act I will be hard pressed to ever forget. Thanks Mark!

Events such as this are not uncommon among bikers; just ask the keepers of BMW anonymous list. Though not uncommon, we should not forget that in our society today such acts of kindness are not the norm, and so many of us are required to carry AAA cage club cards and pay a fee, to receive the type of assistance we bikers often supply to one another gratis.

Why this long diatribe on the existence of a behavior and a practice we are all already aware of? Because the practice is special, and it such an important part of the concept of Brotherhood and because it is commonly expected today, among bikers all over. This in a world that is full of personalities that would just as soon spit on ya than help ya. We have a human code that says simply lets help each other. Rare indeed.

The inspiration to put fingers to key board on this topic came to me on the way home from work on Friday. I had left work about 5:50 to stop by Joe Dille's by six to borrow a tool that he offered to me to check out the trueness or lack thereof in the newly !*&@!$ bent rim on my 748. See a trend here? Thanks Joe. Joe and I told tires and kick lies as I applied duct(duc?) tape to my rain suit that had melted on the exhaust and started to rip. Thanks for the tape too. I was back on the road toward home by 6:20 or so. I got to with in a mile of my home in about an hour as the sun was just giving its last gasp of shine before calling it a day. I had taken yet another different way home letting the 748 play among all the twisties that I could find between work and home. I did not want the 748 to be to jealous of her older sister the 900, since I had spent most of last week in the South in twisties with her, and the 748 just begs for the fast twisties!! When I came up on a mini van on the right hand side of the road with its hi beams on, looking to me to be ready to pull out. Just a bit of pressure on the handle bars and the 748 immediately responds as I quickly move to the left. I pass the van only to see that the hi beams were shining on a motorcycle. Stuck stranded? Who knows? I turned around and headed back to offer my assistance. After all I do not carry all those damn tools just to fix my own bikes. Do I?

When I got off the Ducati and asked what happened the reply I got was, "The front brakes just started to lock up on me!! I barley had a chance to make it to the side of the road!!" Were replies I received. The rider was an 18 year old boy. The bike was his father's and was a very clean example of an early 1980s R100. It had a BMW faring and hard bags so RT? The boy's Mother was there with an older brother. Just a note of interest the boy took Dad's pride and joy out without permission. Whoops! OK, so I slipped into my best impersonation of a BMW mechanic, just like a Ducati one just a different accent.' I tried the front break lever, yup stiff as a board. Completely locked up. So, now the questions:

How long had you been riding the bike before lock up? - 25 minutes

Had it been sitting long? - Yes 3-4 months

Where? - out in the car port(exposed to humidity)

Who maintains the bike - My dad

Has he been riding long? - Na just a year or so

OK so I thought that moisture got into the braking system and expanded with the heating up of the brakes 'till it boiled causing the lockup. It may not be right, but that was what came to mind. So the fix was simple enough, bleed out the offending fluid to give the pistons some place to go. With 11 mm wrench and bleeder hose in  hand I proceeded to work. As soon as the pressure was relieved the bike settled back in its kick stand in a sigh of relief from both the bike and the audience. All fixed! After a test ride I announced the bike safe to ride the .3 miles back to the owners house. I also took the opportunity to mention that the front forks could use a good rebuild as I haven't seen diving like that since the Olympics. As I offered to follow the group home (only 30 houses from mine) I was bestowed with such praise and adulation for my acts of generosity that I began to feel a little uncomfortable. I was even offered a rather large sum of money! I responded that that is not why I stopped. Then I was asked, "Why did yo stop?" A simple reply, "Because you looked like you needed help." "You have no idea!" was their reply. It seems that there would have been hell to pay if the family had to tell dad that his pride and joy was borrowed without permission and is now stuck on the roadside.

This assist was very easy for me. I had the tools with me and a rudimentary knowledge of Brembo breaking systems. The whole ordeal took 15 minutes of my time and probably saved the happiness of at least 4 people. They could not believe I stopped and fixed their bike for no other reason then they needed it. I had to stop; that is the way it is with bikers, "a brotherhood". I'm beginning to understand that.  "Let me give you something," she commented as we arrived safely at their house. "You already have," I replied. "What's that?" Well, you see I'm on this Internet list of BMW riders and now I have a great story to post, of a lone Ducati rider who stopped to help a stranded BMW rider in need.

The world is a small place the people we help today are all our neighbors. Lets hope the camaraderie is catchy. A helpful, giving and generous world? Yea, I could be happy living there.

A lone Ducati rider in a sea of Humanity.

Biker Brotherhood