You thought the side stand was done when you leaned the bike over. It kept going. Or, you simply lost balance. Yes, we have all done it.
Picture courtesy of Larry, aka GalacticGS on www.advrider.com
I was going to give a presentation to a few hundred people about the London 2012 Olympics. It was a formal affair in a large central London hotel. Even though I was wearing a business suit that day, we were experiencing a hot summer, so I decided to ride my Harley-Davidson Road King to the event. It was only 20 or so miles, so I was looking forward to the ride.
I knew the hotel had its own car park, so I wouldn't need to leave my pride and joy on the street.
I arrived at the hotel in good time and rode down its long ramp to enter the underground parking garage. I stopped at the booth to collect a ticket, but the attendant put head out of the little window, and the conversation went something like this....
Attendant: "Sorry mate, we don't allow motorcycles to park in here."
Me: "What? Why?"
Attendant: "Some people bring their car in here, leave it a long time and come back weeks later on a small motorcycle, get a new ticket and take their car out cheaply using that new ticket. They then ride in the small gap at the end of the barrier to get the motorcycle out."
Me: "I am not going to do that." Full of self-importance, I added "I am giving an important presentation here at the hotel and I need to park my motorcycle in here."
Attendant: "Sorry, the answer is no."
My only other option would be to park my bike on the street and I didn't want to do that. By now, a car was waiting on the ramp behind me.
Me: (Getting a bit annoyed now) "So you are discriminating against me, because of what someone else has done?"
Attendant: "Like I said, you are not parking that motorcycle in here."
I was as determined as him. "Please contact the manager of the hotel and ask him to come here."
Attendant: "No, because it won't do any good."
Me: “I am not going anywhere.” Now there are a few cars behind me waiting to get into the car park.” One beeps his horn.
Attendant: “You had better move your bike.”
Me: “No. Besides, I cannot as there is a barrier in front of me and cars behind me. I suggest you go get the manager.”
Attendant: “No, move your bike.”
There was no way was I going to back down and somehow turn my bike around in the small space and squeeze passed the cars on the ramp. I climbed off my bike and lent against the wall, staring at the attendant. I was furious and the cars drivers were not happy either. I shrugged my shoulders at them as if to say “what can I do?”
After a couple of minutes of this stand-off, more cars have joined the queue, so I locked my bike, set the alarm and leaving it blocking the ramp, I set off to find the manager of the hotel. After a short discussion, he agreed with me and telephoned the attendant to tell him so. I walk back to the car park, unlock and start the bike, the barrier is raised and with the attendant and car drivers glaring at me, I rode into the car park.
It then happens. Ten feet past the booth, turning sharply to follow the ramp, I drop the bike onto its right side. Fuck!
Full of blood-pumping adrenaline, I use all my strength and pick the bike up, only for it to get away from me and it fell over onto its left side. Fuck! Fuck!
Now sweating buckets in the heat of the confined car park, I tried in vain to lift my heavy Harley-Davidson again but i didn't have the strength. I was now delaying the car drivers even longer and some had begun to blast their horns. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!
I tried again, but there was no way I could lift the bike.
Embarrassingly, I had to ask one of those drivers to help me. I felt stupid. I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me so I was out of the gaze of the car drivers. Reluctantly, one did help me to lift it, and I quickly parked my motorcycle and got out of that car park as fast as I could.
I can assure you, getting flustered, angry, sweaty and being in a bad mood is not a good thing just before delivering an important speech. It went okay, but I have never been back to that hotel.