by "Ye ol' Editor"
Big Sid was surprised they wanted the Shadow (which he has ridden since '65 and last had the cases split in the eary 70s). Surely the newly restored 47 B Rapide? But they didn't want a bike that said HRD on the tank and what's a Rapide? They wanted a Black Shadow and the tank to say Vincent. That's what I wanted anyway because the Shadow is the street machine, and this was a good excuse to go for a ride.
A fly screen (with VOC badge up front) recently given to him by an old riding buddy remained in place. When I hit the 100 mile stretch of route 158 through NC I slid down and let the Shadow wake up. A few hours later I hit I85 and then, with air filters removed, I rode over to the photography studio which was on the second floor of an old building in downtown Durham. With the aide of the photographer I got the bike up a steep ramp (from a gravel parking lot) and into a freight elevator and then into the studio. As if knowing where it was, the Vin leaked almost no oil while under the lights and on white paper.
The publisher arrived with an entourage that included the art director and friends with kids. The publisher placed a hand on the engine and gave me a startled look, saying "it's warm."
Ah, sometimes life pitches you a slow fat one right over the plate. I looked at him and said, "do you see a trailer out front?" Later, he crossed his arms and said, "Now why am I putting this bike on the cover of my magazine?" And still later there was the long discussion about putting the beer in the shot. I said "resting on a toolbox by the front wheel." This suggestion was ruled out as unrealistic: "no one would drink a beer and work on their bike." After I laughed at this, they still settled on a surrealistic shot where some of the engine and front wheel is viewed through a beer mug (full with Sam Adams according to the inside cover). (Musn't encourge drinking and driving, ya know. . .)
The next morning I arrived to get my bike. The photographer had a station wagon downstairs but knew the weather forecast for the next three days and according to him, I really should leave the bike in the studio till for at least another three days cause its going to rain. About 45 minutes later, I rode off under gray skys and headed for the coast. I skipped lunch and did the 250 miles more or less without stopping. Finally, the rain hit (hard squalls just off the ocean). Avons on grates going over bridges will always make me twitch. About a mile shy of home I hit an accident that had backed up traffic, forcing me to a lane split across a bridge. The Suzuki clutch performed without a hitch (this after much experimentation with the oil), and I rolled up, wet but throughly happy. Now that ride qualifies as a Coleridgean dream with single and double touch!