Close Encounters Of The Gendarme Kind. - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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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.
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Last edited by 49erx2; 02-18-2018 at 10:43 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 11:31 AM
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I remember an incident way back in the UK when I was 15. I had worked my first summer job and saved up enough to buy a beat up Lambretta scooter. Unfortunately I had broken the muffler's tailpipe riding the scooter down some steps and while it wasn't broken off completely it made the thing quite noisy. One evening I rode past a parked police car and he came after me and pulled me over. I knew that my rear light also wasn't working so I had my foot very lightly on the brake as I passed him to make it look like I had a light. I also had no license, no insurance and no registration, and at 15 I was under age to be riding.

He commented on the noise and I explained to him about the broken tailpipe. At that point he went off to his car, rummaged around in the trunk/boot and came back with some pliers and a length of wire. For the next 15-20 minutes he wired the broken tailpipe in place, which cut down on the noise significantly, told me to drive carefully and wished me a good evening. Probably wouldn't happen today!

A few months later, on my 16th birthday when I was of legal age, my dad took out a loan and we traded the scooter on a used Tiger Cub.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by denoose View Post
I really don't want to read that entire thread. The first post was long enough.

Was there a positive experience related to that story?

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2018, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 49erx2 View Post
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.
I read your accounts of the incedent with the sound of Alice's Restaurant playing in my head.

In my youthful days most if not all my encounters with the law while ridding were a direct result of my driving habits so I dont have any "good" cop stories to tell, just the faded memories of money pissed away!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-19-2018, 07:01 AM
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My story was back in the 60s and began when My friend and I were drag racing down a surface street. I was on my mighty T10 250 Suzuki with a buddy on the back. He was taking his sisters to confession. We got flagged down by a cop with a rookie in tow. He gave us a lecture but the rookie wanted to cite us. Anyway, no ticket. Whew! Fast forward a few months and on the same bike I dicing it thru a bit of road nicknamed Dead Man's Curve. I waved to a friend and got pulled over right after that by the rookie cop of a few months ago. He had me get into the cruiser and he retraced my route and lectured me ad infinitum and gave me a ticket. Well we won in court because my friend "testified" I seemed to be driving OK. Next encounter was with a bunch of buddies in a car and the rookie again pulls us over, singles out my brother and me, puts us in the back seat of the cruiser and proceeds to tell us he's gunning for us because word has gotten out we've beaten every citation he's issued to us. Sure enough he cites my brother a few weeks later and we beat that ticket in court again.

Fast forward a few years and he's the rent a cop at the bank I'm cashier for. We're close to running out of money on a Friday night so we order money from the Fed and have to head downtown in my car with him riding shotgun. He was actually a nice guy (mellowed with age I guess) and retired a detective.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 03:43 AM
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I was rounding a group of 5 cars on the sweeping bend of a 2 lane road. I opened it up leaning into the corner and may have been exceeding the posted limit a little

One of the cars in the left hand lane was an unmarked po po and they lit up as I whizzed past them. They pulled up behind me when i pulled over and proceed to read me the riot act about speeding and dangerous riding etc until I removed me helmet (I had an iridium visor).

The police officer shook his head when he noted my age and commented that " I was old enough to know better" and directed me back to the bike.

The sent me on my way with a warning and a smurk - obviously relating to my age vs recklessness. Nice bloke with a sense of reality of the real world.

A good experience for me that encouraged me to slow down - a little
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Last edited by steventhechef; 02-23-2018 at 06:09 PM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-23-2018, 06:49 AM
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@steventhechef , I love your story.

I have a few stories, but none as nice as yours.

Once I had no money to lubricate a cop (I am a law-abiding citizen, but here this is the “law”) and pleaded my way out saying my wife would kill me. He was married, he said he understood.

Once, I was pulled over by 2 cops in the mountains in the North, on my Jawa 360, one was arguing with the other that as a foreigner i would not understand and he was wasting his time. The other one turned to me and asked for my documentation, and as I pretended to not understand, I waved my hand in the typical way to say “I don’t know”. The cop turned back to the other one and said “you see, he speaks Vietnamese!”. But I kept the dumb role and escaped that one too.

Another time, my wife greased a cop three times the cost of paying the full fine —she had no clue. Got us a bright smile and a (long) chat.

Long before that, we were pulled over by a street cop (not supposed to pull people over) right in the middle of Hanoi at night, as I was was riding my then CD125 with my very pregnant wife in the back, and without a license plate. He formally asked my wife to translate but she stood her ground (“I am not a translator”), and committed me to push the bike onto the station (don’t do that, you’d lose it), so I was very polite yet all the while looking intently at his breast tag with his number. When I read it aloud, he fled.

We had one much less pleasant encounter in that period. Not the gist of this thread.


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