European Motorcycles

Today in Motorcycle History

Rabbit and the Bridgestone

*Rated R for petting*

There weren't any Bridgestones in the little town atop the mountain in N. Alabama where I was reared up; I only saw pictures and read of them in motorcycle magazines.  My family did however, take holiday once a year in Florida's panhandle, on the marvelous white sand and azure water of the Gulf of Mexico in Panama City.  That's a nice flowery description, it is also aptly known as the Redneck Riviera.  

The next to the last year I went along with the family to PC I was in grade eleven in high school.  I remember this because the very next year, being the chaste lady she was, my long time girlfriend went along and it was the first time she allowed me the classic "Feel Up."  All the suntan oil and heat got her going, I guess.  Whew.  Woody for a week.

Anyway.  Where was I?  Yes, the Bridgestone.  My best buddy at the time, a feller called Rabbit, joined my family on that next to last year at the beach.  We all in the fifth grade or so had dubbed him "Rabbit" because he had seen a cartoon, "Ricochet Rabbit" or some such, and it had tickled him somehow so he came to school the next day singing, "Rikkooooohhhshaaayyy RABBIT!!"

Rabbit and I were of course too old and sophisticated to be hanging around with my dumb family, including my four years younger sister who was in 'love' with Rabbit and wanted to go everywhere we went.  We managed to slip away one morning, each with just enough cash to purchase an hour on a one of the svelte rental Bridgestones we'd seen earlier from the rear windows of the family car, a beige 1964 Chevrolet four door Impala with two barrel 283 ci and Powerglide.  I hated that car.  

The vendor at the rental was not the least reticent in giving our freshly licensed young white redneck asses a nice shiny Bridgestone 90 apiece.  Mine, I learned later, was a Sport 90 in Candy Red, and Rabbit's was a standard 90, in black.  We didn't know Bridgestones from Shinola at the time.  So we took off for an hour of fun in the sun, knowing for sure that these two fine and fire-breathing sickles would get us laid within the hour, if not in minutes.  Well, who knows, although I seriously doubt it they might have.  But we'd had to have stopped riding them for that to happen, and we weren't about to do that once we got going.

There's a fairly long bridge on highway 98/231 in Panama City that goes over the entrance to the bay, and we were sailing along at about 50 mph back toward the rental site over said 'bridge' when I turned my bike to 'stone.'  I didn't really know where I'd ended up in the gearbox, shifted once, figured I'd missed fourth, shifted again.  Bam.  Must have broken the piston.  It sounded awful.

Amazingly, although I'd cut my speed significantly with that splendid maneuver, I was able to coast most of the way to the bottom of the bridge.  It was another mile or so back to the rental hut, and we had about fifteen minutes of the hour left when we got back there.  I expected the worse, certainly knowing Dad would have to come bail me out of jail or whatever.  The dyed blonde and probably stoned beach boy running the rental shrugged, and handed me the keys to a black standard 90!  

Said, "Ya'll still got fifteen minutes, be back here then."


A few years later, there was a darkly mysterious chocolate eyed young lady in college on a (also Candy Red) BS DT175, but that's another story.