Everyone knows a good motorcycle horror story. There are the ones about buying a bike, that are full of finding out that the bike was stolen, it was a mechanical monstrosity or that the guy selling it robbed you at gun point. The best of these I have heard however was more funny than scary. It involved our hero turning up to buy a bike he had seen on Craigs List, only to have the owner unzip his pants and get his dick out. Turns out there was a bit of a misunderstanding and the seller had two appointments one to sell his bike the other to…well you get the point!
But those are not the only type of horror stories. There are also the spooky ones, the ones that are meant to send shivers down your spine; it is Halloween soon after all. One such story happened to me, many years ago now, back when I was young and foolish…ok more foolish!
My mate owns a bike that he calls Mr Crowley. It is an old air cooled Yamaha RD400 and it got its name because it killed its two previous owners, put my mate into a coma and just out of spite also killed a prize bull in that “accident”. After recovering and being a responsible and slightly superstitious guy, and seeing as this killing thing seemed to be a habit, Mr Crowley was put into the back of the shed, covered up and forgotten about.
Fast forward a couple of years, an autumn evening, the pubs have kicked out and I am on my way home. The familiar twists and turns unwind before me and I am, as the police might say, “Making progress”. Suddenly from out of nowhere a bike flies past me, which of course is a red rag to a bull. I click down a couple, open the throttle wide and start the process of hunting down my prey. Up, down, round, scratching and drifting I was managing to catch the guy and I got to thinking that there was something familiar and yet unusual about that bike. Then it struck me, or rather I smelt it, it was a two stroke, you don’t see many of them these days. So much for the strange, but what about the familiar? Twin expansion pipes, yellow with black and white hatchings of a Yamaha paint job… that was Mr. Crowley! Some bastard had obviously stolen it; well they were riding as if they had anyway.
No way was I going to let them get away and so filled with the power of a righteous cause I went about trying to overtake and stop the thief. A mile or so later there was a very sharp, bumpy and blind, left hander. A difficult corner but one I know really well, and I thought, I will have him there. We approached flat out, screaming two stroke and roaring four, past the usual braking point and into brain out territory, past the brain out and into the virtually suicidal, and then I had to brake, but he didn’t and he disappeared round the corner making me look like a total snail.
I made the corner, only to be greeted with a shower of sparks and a bike sliding down the road in front of me. No time for thoughts of “Ha, I knew it”, or” Twat ”, in fact no time for any thoughts at all as instinct took over and I headed for a gap that I hoped would be there. I’d like to say I skillfully avoided the accident, but in reality I probably shut my eyes and hoped, but whatever the technique I made it through and slid to a halt and looked back.
Behind me there was...no screaming, no blood, no rider, no bike, nothing! I looked, I checked I climbed up the bank and checked the field, the one with a bull in it, bought to replace the one killed in a bike accident on this corner. The very accident that put my mate into a coma, the last time Mr. Crowley had been ridden.
Spooked, you bet I was, and I was even more spooked when I went round to my mate’s house and got him to open the shed and check the bike was still there. Of course it was, under its covers, forgotten in the corner…just the sound of clicking, cooling, disc brakes to make us leave in a real hurry!