After a long day of motor officer training Dean W and I were sitting in a small room at a community college. Also present were a couple of other instructors who had worked with us all day. The rest of the attendees were present via a telephone connection. It was just as well. Nothing like a two hour meeting in a closed up room with no air-conditioning. Or any other way to bring in fresh air, as a matter of fact. The four of us were dog tired, sun burned, and pretty ripe. As Jeff Earls, who was physically present declared, consider it a bonding experience. I believe he said we all looked and smelled like Day 4 of the Iron Butt Rally.
Perhaps it was the heat and the exhaustion. Maybe it was the effect of our bodily emanations, but suddenly Dean looked at me with a look of mischief on his face. Of course, Dean looks like that a lot. That's one of the reasons we get along so well. This particular look had the added elements of triumph and discovery shining around the edges.
Dean had an idea for a new business venture. He said we could sell street cred to wannabes. As a further proof of the bad air's effects, I heartily agreed. We would sell our ground off peg feelers to those seeking physical proof of their claimed riding prowess. Part of the deal would be that these riders, in turn, send us their virgin peg feelers. We would be discrete. Dean and I would then proceed to grind these down and sell them to the next poser. It might just work. We could probably even get some sort of government "green" tax credits. Our product would be made from 100% recycled material.
This a close-up of one of Elvira's pegs. As you can see, it might be getting time to replace them. Here's another look.
Being excellent multi-taskers, Dean and I were using his laptop to go online during the meeting to price new peg feelers. As you remember Dean rides an FJR, too. He was actually in the FJR camp long before me. Dean is no slouch on the tracks, either. He isn't shy about grinding away. Please note his most excellent head turn, by the way!
We were both shocked at the price of new peg feelers. There was a small discussion on whether the feelers might be made of aluminum. Ray declared that he had seen my peg feelers spark so we were pretty sure they were steel. I figured we might as well not waste our money as we would just grind them off again. That was the spark ( pun intended ) for Dean's idea.
Of course, it can't stop at the peg feelers. Other things would need to be scraped up, too. Take the center stand, for example.
See, the cops are in the classroom for nearly two hours. That leaves us instructors some free time to work on our lines. We'd never be frivolous enough to just go out on the track and ride for the sheer fun of it. No, it's all business. As we are, um, working, we tend to build momentum. I also swear there is never a spirit of competition or any testosterone rush. We are strictly self disclipined.
Being so self disclipined, we were riding. Faster and faster as time went on. The last turn coming onto the straightaway is tricky. Apex too early, and your line will rub against a chain link fence. Apex too late and you'll hit the fence before you can apex. The faster you go, the more precision is required. My precision was a little off. I was about two inches too far to the left on this particular lap. Nothing like solidly grinding the centerstand onto that red and white striped concrete curbing to lift your back tire off the ground. That's a weird feeling, by the way.
Elvira and I recovered and sped down the straight. The harm is when your fellow instructors see you. I'll never live it down. At least until one of them screws up.
Besides peg feelers, there's the tire issue. I mean, a true poser can't have severely ground peg feelers in the middle of two striped tires, can they? You know the kind of stripe I'm talking about. A narrow dark stripe between two wide lighter colored stripes. I believe those lighter colored stripes are commonly called "chicken strips".
Here's Elvira's front tire.
These are the low calorie version chicken strips. The back tire has zero calorie strips.
I'm using Elvira as the sales model, but Dean is manufacturing the same product. This back tire only has a few thousand miles on it. As you remember, the previous one had a nail in it so I replaced it. The tire, not the nail. ( Just in case Jack's reading ) I figure we can turn out tires and peg feelers at a pretty decent rate. Is there a market?
At the risk of yet another long post, I have to share a quick story with you to prove my point.
Dean and I were teaching an ART ( Advanced Rider Training ) class last week. One of our students was riding a black FJR, the same year as Elvira. The man told me that he had changed the OEM tires to Pilot Sport II's. He claimed the bike was a totally different bike with these tires. The guy said he could corner like crazy, now.
During one of the breaks, I took him over and showed him my mostly identical FJR. I pointed out the severely ground off peg feelers. I figured that I had pretty much reached the full cornering potential of the bike with my Metzeler Z6 tires. It might be time to consider an aftermarket shock. The guy told me that he didn't know if his bike had peg feelers or not.
That comment struck me as odd. I mean, if he was really cornering like he claimed he was, wouldn't he know?
We ventured back to his bike to check it out. Hanging proudly beneath the pegs were peg feelers. Each as smooth as my new grandson's little backside. The chicken strips on his tires were high in calories judging by the portion size.
I detected a potential customer. If one is going to play a part in the play, the correct props are essential. Dean's idea has a lot of merit, don't you think?
Admittedly, we won't get rich at it. On the other hand, job satisfaction would be off the chart!
Miles and smiles,
Disclaimer: I do not advocate judging a person's character and riding solely by scuffed tires and ground-off parts. Nobody has to have a bike in the same condition as Elvira to earn my respect. This is intended solely as a tongue in cheek poke at those who brag about their riding ability but their bike shows they are not walking the talk.
Neither should this kind of scraping happen on the streets. The photos are of professional trainers with high skill levels doing business on a closed course.