Crossposted from: Mai MoJo, written by Lauren Spears
We got to Gilberto's garage in Hillcrest around 4pm. Adam had assured us his bike would be ready to rip by the time we arrived but no dice. He managed to break his moped again because he rides hard, fast, and dirty. We were eager to go ride but as I've been told, half the fun of being moped enthusiasts is tinkering with the little buggers. I'll leave that to the guys.
Gilberto showed up and wanted to ride with us but he had errands to run. Lucky for him it took us about 4 hours to get going – during which we found the need to drink booze. Alex went to the store to get us Gordon's vodka and orange Sunkist: a hobo's screwdriver. We mixed the ingredients in a bucket. It really wasn't horrible. In fact, not even bad. We chugged on while Adam continued working on his bike.
Gilberto was getting antsy to ride. I think smelling the exhaust and hearing the revving of a two stroke engine enough times manages to give you the itch to ride. He offered his fancy pants horse Puch (a Magnum LTD – ed.) for Adam to ride and encouraged him to leave his own project for another day. After a lot of lollygagging we were ready to go. Right as we were about to helmet up and take off a cop pulled up and told us someone made a noise complaint. Some crotchety old bag has nothing better to do than to watch her stories all day and doesn't like it when Adam causes a ruckus by opening up full throttle with no pipe on his Tomos. I guess I can kind of understand. Kind of. So this cop was the smiliest and sweetest storm trooper I've ever met. I think he actually took an interest in what we were doing with our moped mania. It's probably nice for cops to come across good clean kids (except for the grease on our hands – ed.) like us who are geeking out on old crummy bikes in a back alley rather than slamming smack while getting/giving BJs.
Broke my nail too far down to explain cause it's gross, wrapped it in electrical tape, and we were off to the ruby room. All those hours of Adam's hard work while we stood around and watched amounted to riding a few blocks down University. It was $1 well drinks though. We ordered two doubles each. More bang for our buck.
After rattling off the few phrases in German we know to a Deutsche tourist, we headed to the taco shop, La Posta, on Washington. See pictures os Alexander's Neanderthal method of eating. After fueling up on cheap greasy food, we mounted up to head to the Ken Club. After pedaling my bike a few strokes I heard the dull repetitive thud of a flat tire. I thought the evening was over. It was all too good to be true. The fates has been against us all day. Why should they stop now? I thought we were about to call it a night when Gilberto offered Alexander his Puch (a kitted Maxi – ed.) while he would ride Captain America (a Motomarina Sebring with a Red-White-and-Blue stock paint job – ed.) and I would ride Alexander's Motobecane. It was like musical mopeds. The key was to get the Garelli back to Gilberto's. I didn't want to hold the gang up so I thought I'd be courteous and kinda bad ass if I just ran it back. Luckily he only lives a few blocks away from the Mexican joint. Luckily I didn't have a heart attack. Some homeless guys were making fun of me for running out of gas.
We got to Gilberto's and he'd lost his helmet. He scoured the apartment for it and then realized he might have left it at the taco stand. Alexander jetted back over there as we stayed back still looking for the missing helmet. He had to have put it on, right? Was he already that drunk? Were we not to have noticed that he left his giant white 8-ball looking helmet on the table? Alexander came back and the woman who served us had said she saw a girl take the helmet. Alexander thought she meant me. Short? Yes. Long red hair? No. Shit. Some tweeker bitch straight lifted Gilberto's helmet. Who steals a used helmet? I guess I already answered that. Gilby was sad. Real sad. He loved that helmet and he loved the sticker on the back of it. He had another helmet but apparently it was headache city cause it squeezes his temples in a vice-like grip. He did not seem enthused about wearing it. I thought the night was surely over this time. Like a champ, he proved me wrong and donned the jaws of pain.
It's a nice ride from Hillcrest to the Ken Club. I had fun showing off just a little, or maybe a lot, on Alexander's Motobecane. In Normal Heights, in front of the taco shop (why is it always taco shops?) we saw a swarm of five cop cars. That's a lot of blue and red but luckily they're distracted. Except for the one who decided five might be overkill and pulled a u-turn to follow us down Adams. Now I'm riding next to Alexander, who is rocking plates, albeit with a tail light out, and I look barely legal. I decided to peel off from the group because apparently I've seen way too many movies of people outrunning cops. None of these movies depicted evasion on mopeds. I hoped Alexander would stay the course, but like a good loving man he followed me down the side street but lost me as I jetted down some dead-end (smooth move, exlax). I doubled back, took the side street I MEANT to take back to Adams and there, pulled over by the beat, was my fiancee. And like a good loving woman, I just kept on going. I rode hard to the Ken Club. Blew through a red light cause I'd never end up triggering it green and I didn't want to risk getting caught by the other cops who apparently thought we were a street gang. Us in our ties and horn-rimmed glasses.
Caught up with the boys at the Ken Club. We parked in the back to avoid the fuzz while we awaited some word from Alexander. Adam assured me that if anyone of us could charm our way out of a ticket or a DUI, it would be my sweetie. He was right. Alexander's mustache probably had something to do with his get out of jail free card as well. Cops embrace and understand the importance of the mustache. And for that we were lucky enough to hear the sweet low hum of the Puch growing louder as it made its way back to us.
The Ken Club was filled with the usual suspects and the DJ, an old friend and coworker of mine was playing what I refer to as “tractor punk.” The boys and I bonded over more vodka and gin, respectively, and I think we had one of those moments where we realized how much we all clicked as a group of people, as a circle of friends. Adam and I had a heart to heart in which we discovered together that I finally understood the magic of mopeds.
“You get it!” he said to me several times, his smile warm and wide.
And I did. Everything about this ride was like the time I took the wrong train while traveling in Bavaria. At first I was mortified that I would end up in some random town, barely able to speak the language, and totally lost. That's exactly what happened and because of it I had an amazing adventure that otherwise would never had happened. Mopeds are just that. Amazing adventure machines that are unreliable, loud, dirty, and we love them for it.