John Burns: Daily Diatribe

John P Burns
by John P Burns
From the desk of Johnny B:
Heck, there just isn't much pissing me off to write about these days,unfortunately. The race season's started, the wife hired a gardener, thehole in the boat is fixed, spring is here. If not for George Bush wantingto issue nuclear hand grenades to our troops, I'd be a reasonably contenthominid, if I hadn't been flipping through my new Road & Track and readthis letter from one Bob Tindel of beautiful Redlands, California.

The topic--and pardon me for coming back to it again--is deadshits holdingup traffic in the left lane of the freeway. Take it away Bob...

"I recently retired from 32 years with the California Highway Patrol andhave written many tickets for these violations. Unfortunately , a drivermoving at the speed limit on a multi-lane freeway is not in violation andhas no duty to move over and let traffic pass."

This sent me in a huff (may have been a minute-and-a-huff) straight to theCalifornia Vehicle Code at the local library. I flipped around the index,found passing and overtaking, and spent a total of maybe five minutes incoming to Section 21654--Slow-moving vehicles:

Seems pretty clear to me (except for the "notwithstanding" opening ofparagraph (a), which means in spite of, or although--which means nevermind the speed limit.) I don't know whether to blame former-OfficerTindel, or the people who trained him (or failed to), or to crack anotherNatural Light and cry. I mean, if I can look this up in a few minutes,you'd think at some point during his 32-year career, especially if itbugged him, Officer Tindel might've checked it out himself? What do theydo during all those gruelling weeks at CHP boot camp anyway? (Personally,I'm picturing a man in a neatly trimmed mustache using a pointer toidentify the various nmembers of the donut family. "You've got yourcruller, your glazed, your cake....") Apparently they're not wasting timereading the Vehicle Code.

All I can repeat is what I've been told by others sworn to uphold themanifold laws of the land: Ignorance is no excuse.

We at MO are dedicated to spreading enlightenment whereverpossible. Forward this to ten people, chain-letter style, and you will berewarded with a less stressed commute. Fail to do so, and a bitter littleman on a motorcycle will pass you while honking his horn.


I CAUGHT MOTORCYCLIST TV last night on the Speed Channel, hoping tocatchsight of my graceful dismount from an R1 at last month's launch fromCircuit Catalunya. (I only got off because I knew Rich Oliver was rightbehind me with the camera rolling.) No reportage, I guess those guys don'tlove me anymore.

However, MC TV did report on the new BMW R 1150 GS Adventure, completewith a little dirt-road footage, where it was obvious enough for Marc Cookto observe that the GS's off-road capabilities are sketchy at best--justlike we mentioned in our test of the "R" model last week. Meanwhile, I'vebeen using the R as daily transpo, and liking it even more all zetime. (Seems to cruise smoother now there's a couple thousand miles on,and fuel mileage is around 43 mpg.) I'm curious, then, why two bikes assimilar as the GS and the R--they share the same drivetrain--should carrysuch wildly divergent price tags? The base 1150 GS will set you back$14,500; our base Roadster goes for a paltry $9,990.

We at MO can only conjecture it's the ol' "overcompensation" thing atwork, the same thing powering sales of huge pick-ups and SUVs. Takeadvantage; the "R" seems like a huge bargain from where I sit (closer tothe pavement).

That is all.


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