Francis Meyrick

The Great Sidecar Experiment (Part Five)

Posted on August 5, 2011

The Great Sidecar Experiment

Part Five: Solidarity

The horrible realization sank into me, that we were in big trouble.
Too late I remembered the rear brake pedal, that we never did get replaced. We had figured that the front brake was providing 70% of the stopping power anyway, and we’d find a replacement rear brake pedal “later”. Now, it was too late for “later”. Our speed was approaching ninety miles per hour, and the sidecar was almost airborne. All of a sudden, trees, lamp posts, brick walls and other solid objects were everywhere, surrounding us. Approaching routine objects on the road side, that normally would disappear harmlessly in the rear view mirror, now took on an ominous, sinister dimension. Rattling and bouncing at this crazy speed, we seemed barely under control. At any second we might depart the paved road, only to encounter any one of these solid, unmovable objects. I glanced back up at Deklan’s face, and his expression failed to inspire hope. He was trying to force a gear change down, to brake using the engine, but the old M21 was having none of it. Terminal grinding, squealing, whining noises testified to gearbox components being tortured, but refusing point blank to submit to frantic rider input. My mind was now grappling with an astonishing turn around in our fortunes. Gone was the exultation, the sense of utter triumph, the feeling of being on top of the world. In its place was dread, uncertainty, fear of the unknown, and a dark foreboding.

Where… is this charge going to end?

With the way the speeding Beast Combo was barely under control, the way it was almost ricocheting off every bump and ridge, I couldn’t imagine that we would actually make it all the way to the bottom of the hill. But even if we did, I knew full well things were going to get ugly at the bottom. Our downhill trajectory ran into a main road. We would be coming down the stem of an inverted “T” as it were, with a STOP sign, and a choice of a ninety degree turn right or left. There was no chance, zero hope, [i]nada[/i], no way, dream on, Hasta La Vista, good-bye… that we would ever make either of those sharp turns. I knew it, and I was sure Deklan knew it. Beyond the intersection, on the other side of the road -where we were probably going – lay about twenty yards of rough grass, and then another of those twelve foot stone walls. Built centuries before from rocks and boulders cleared from the land in readiness for plowing and cultivation. Totally solid, immutable, unyielding, inelastic, and coldly indifferent to our plight.
That wall was not going to budge.

We were now twenty seconds into hell, and my brain was flat lining. I was clean out of ideas. For some reason, I lay down flat in the sidecar cum coffin. It was long enough that I could lie flat on my back, brace my feet against the forward bulkhead, and wait for the impact. Now I was looking up at the clouds in the sky, wishing I was anywhere else but here. That repose lasted several milliseconds, before the uncontrollable urge to see where the hell I was going to crash, had me sitting bolt upright again. Now I could see ahead, and, wonder of wonders, there was a white-and-black car on the main road, traveling left to right. It looked like this vehicle would arrive at the junction at the exact same moment we would burst out like an unguided missile, straight through the red and white imperative STOP sign.

It was at this stage that I seriously debated making an exit. Just getting off. Or out, depending on your vernacular. Out of the coffin. Just… jump. But there was a mocking voice in my head.

Right. Yeah, right. You are gonna JUMP? That I gotta see…

At the speed we were going, serious injury was a racing certainty. I was well aware of the uncomfortable fact that even more serious injury might be awaiting me later. However, the trade of “no pain just yet” against “maybe a lot more pain in twenty seconds time” was a ‘no contest’. I stayed put.
The black and white car was now seconds away from getting a real surprise, and we were seconds away from furnishing it. I was vaguely aware that Deklan was making a funny noise. It wasn’t quite screaming, but it was rather high pitched. It was also loud. Oh, maybe it was screaming. What a wimp…

Just for solidarity, and to show how I really cared, I joined in…

(to be continued)


Francis Meyrick

Last edited by Francis Meyrick on June 6, 2015, 4:16 am

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