Close Encounters Of The Gendarme Kind.
With Triumphrat being a popular and renowned motorcycle oriented website, no doubt more than a few of its participants probably have had interactions with law enforcement with respect to their bikes. And in some cases, such as my own, there have been some of these encounters that could have even been considered a reasonably positive experience.
Based on that premise, it would be interesting to know about some of the Close Encounters Of The Gendarme Kind with respect to other bikers. I'll start with my own positive police situation that goes back a long ways.
Waaaay back in 1956 I bought a 1953 Harley basket case of unknown origin. It was a super cheap buy for a High School student and the pot was sweetened with the inclusion of a chromed springer front end off of a 1949 Harley.
Part of the reassembly effort included painting the gas tank a color way ahead of its time, a bright purple color --- the bike did indeed stand out because of it's front end and the color. There weren't a whole lot of bikes back then, period, so that also gave it a uniqueness in general.
The bike came without mufflers, but hey, at 16 years old, who needed, or even wanted mufflers -- it was a very young youth's misguided machismo.
What's more, I lived only about 5 miles from the headquarters of the Hells Angels. While I wasn't part of that prevalent culture of bikers in the area, my Harley did compare reasonably well with more than most of their bikes.
In fact, one of the Angels even briefly palled up with me, at least till he found out I still lived with my parents.
After a couple of years the gendarmes finally caught up with me, and viola, I got a ticket for pipes that were too loud, which they clearly were.
By then I was a near penniless college student, consequently buying motorcycle mufflers was at the very bottom of my survival list. So the next best option was to try to fabricate a couple of baffles to help reduce the noise level and get the ticket signed off.
I got a piece of aluminum sheet metal and cut it into two strips, one for each pipe, with the outer edges trimmed in a sine wave pattern. This allowed me to bend the strip in a sine wave and insert the strips into the pipes.
And surprisingly, the wavy baffles did indeed do a fairly good job of quieting the pipes. However, they only worked briefly before the pressure inside the pipes would blow out the baffles. And I didn't have a drill to help secure them with some wire or a bolt.
I was in a quandary, the ticket was due to expire soon with a financial penalty which I couldn't afford. So I threw myself at the mercy of the Police Department and called them to explain my plight -- that the bike wasn't running, but I had installed silencer baffles.
And here's the sweet spot to all this -- and in California no less --- the Police Department agreed to help out, and they sent out a Police Car to my college apartment to check out the bike. Yeah, they really did. And not only did they send a car, but it included TWO Police Officers !
I showed them the baffles and the principle of how they worked. The first thing they asked was if the bike ran. In a response that might have aggravated George Washington who said he could never tell a lie, I said, no it did not run. Well, that was at least a tiny bit true, in that the bike wasn't going to run as long as the Police were there.
The second question was whether the baffles would stay in the pipes. Again, with all due respect to poor ol' George, may he rest in peace, I said yes they would. And that too was at least partially true as the baffles would stay in at least for a very short period. The Officers might have noticed my nose was starting to get about as long as Pinocchio's, but they didn't say anything about it.
With that, the two Police Officers stepped aside, had a brief private discussion between themselves, and a miracle occurred; they then signed off on the ticket, and they even wished me well in school. I suppose to this day, 60 years later, I still owe those two Officers.
With that I tired of the loud pipes and many other issues with the Harley so I sold it. With the money I bought a well used 650cc Bonneville. It too had a distinctive personality. In those days it was a fun, great handling bike to ride; kinda equivalent to a BMW in its sportiness compared to the twice the size 1340cc Harley which was like an overstuffed, but demanding and quirky Cadillac.
However, the bad news was that at speed the Bonnie would vibrate your teeth out, never understood how it could vibrate so much and not explode. Like a dog, it would always mark its parking spot with a bit of leaking oil. And what's more, like the Harley, it could have been a stripper in another lifetime as it liked to shed parts, and enough of them that I did some safety wiring to help hold it together.
That's it ; overall, a rather happy and memorable ending to my close encounter of the police kind.
So now, what is your story ?? It would be great to hear some of the other riders own interesting stories. I'll bet some of the rewards I still owe those two Police Officers that there are some real doozies of gendarme happenings out there.
Last edited by 49erx2; 02-18-2018 at 10:43 AM.