It's time for another quick story, about the highs and lows... Who am I kidding, pretty much just the lows, of building custom motorcycles, specifically those with three wheels.
I decided, whilst my current trike was being built, that what I wanted most in the world was a set of stainless steel, straight-thru, unbaffled, drag pipes. Because I'm a badass, honest - Look, I prove it here... *
OK, for the non-exhaustophiles, those things that I describe up there are just really drainpipes that take the noise and noxious fumes away from the engine and deposit them into the radiator grille of the car behind me, or in the lungs of small children minding their own business by the side of the road. There's no boxes like you'd have on a car that take the really poisonous stuff out or baffle the noise.
But, as generations of Badass motorcyclists have always said 'Loud Pipes Save Lives' - And there are many badges and stickers that you can actually buy in real shops that say this, so it must be true.
Anywho, I went to this custom exhaust fabricator guy, who, if I remember correctly, looked a bit like a skinny Thor. He said that it was no problem, seemed simple enough and would probably only take him about week or two. So I went home, enlisted the help of a mate who had a car with a towbar and a dolly (A contraption that allows you to tow something by lifting its front wheel off the ground - Not one of those inflatable things with three holes or the deluxe model with the real hair) and we trundled off down the road, the trike bobbing along behind us like an excited labrador puppy.
Before the next bit, I'd just like to point out that the rear tyres on the trike are 275/75-R15's so they're about 32" (81cm for the Frenchies etc.) in diameter and weigh the same as a medium sized child, or a couple of morbidly obese emperor penguins, or about a fifth of a juvenile Yak.
So, we were going down this hill, towards a mini-roundabout, my mate started to brake and there was a bit of a 'judder' - We both looked at the trike and it seemed fine, so he continued to brake, and as we came to a stop there was this crunch. We turned to look behind us again. The trike was listing at about 30 degrees, so we assumed that one of the wheels had come off... I say assumed... Actually we knew that the wheel had come off because it had just bounced past the drivers side window and made its way down the road, bouncing higher and higher all the time.
By the time it made its way onto the island itself, It was bouncing higher than the cars - There was a lot of beeping of horns, I could sympathise I guess. I'd beep my horn if something like a tractor tyre was flying at my face at 30mph. It made it across the island and swerved into the oncoming traffic. There were many twitching sphyncters on the A514 that afternoon I can tell you. Then it encountered the bus and everything went a bit 'Slo-Mo'. It bounced into the path of said bus, just as it was pulling up at the stop, so the driver slammed his anchors on and all the old ladies that had been waiting to get off were suddenly catapulted forwards and were flattened against the inside of the windscreen. The tyre clipped the front 'wing' of the bus (If buses actually have wings that is) and slammed into the bus-stop. Totally crushing the seating and cracking the glass in the windows.
We both made our way over, saying things like 'Blimey, I wonder who this belongs to?' and 'Well I never, tell you what, why don't I just get this huge wheel out of the way of you lovely people trying to get off this bus?' and 'Goodness Mrs, your nose isn't half flat., want to borrow a tissue?' Grabbed the wheel and had it away on our toes as fast as we could.
There's a nice new bus-stop there now, so I think what I did was actually a good thing for the community, in a way - Don't you?
* Please note: I'm not really a Badass... Well, not really