Published on March 31st, 2019 | by Boris0
TALES OF THE NIKEN – EPISODE 9
In which our hero recounts some of the many conversations he has had with well-meaning chieftains, champions, and low-panted busy-bodies he has encountered in his travels. He has made selfless efforts to shine the light of knowledge into the abyss of ignorance he has been presented with. His success in this regard is varied.
“You don’t need a penny just to hang around
But if you’ve got a nickel, won’t you lay your money down?
Over on the corner, there’s a happy noise
People come from all around to watch the magic boys
Down on the corner, out in the street
‘Willy and the Poor Boys’ are playin’
Bring a nickel, tap your feet.”
The Road Gods know I have talked to a lot of people about the Niken. That is not even counting the people I know and call my friends. There have been a lot of folks I’ve met on the side of the road, in servos, out the front of pubs, and at sets of lights, who, driven by the bizarre appearance of the Niken, have squared their shoulders and stepped on up, so to speak.
I admire them for this, for I am not the most approachable of creatures. Life has conspired to make me look far more forbidding and hazardous than I am….um, most of the time. Hell, I guess it’s all about timing, isn’t it? Get me on a good day and I’m Mr Congeniality. Get me on a bad day, and I won’t mind if everybody’s day gets a whole lot worse.
But be that as it may, I am fully aware vehicles like the Niken will attract attention. And as its custodian, it is incumbent upon me to be patient, tolerant, forthcoming and helpful to people who ask questions…up until the point they turn into terribly bad-mannered knobsacks, in which case they are normally advised I am no longer being paid by anyone to eat anyone’s shit.
That all said, I would share some of the conversations I have had with folks about the Niken – just so you know what the proverbial patience of a saint is, and when it runs out…
WHERE: End of Bylong Valley Way after the Mitta Mitta TT. I have a loaf of bread taped to my tank and I am in the company of Rob, who has ridden his Aprilia from Darwin to drink beer with BikeMe! and is now riding home. We have stopped to breathe after a spirited run and a white farmer’s ute pulls up with us.
Farmer: “What’s that you got there? Never seen one before.”
Me: “It’s a Niken. It’s new”
Farmer (peering under the fairing): “How’s it work?”
Me: “I put petrol in it. Turn the throttle. Try not to run into stuff.”
Farmer (still peering): “I’ve been riding all my life and I know about bikes. This can’t be right. Is it heavy? Bet it’s heavy and steers like shit.”
Me: “How much money you got?”
Farmer: “Mate, I know about bikes.”
Me: “By bikes do you mean sheep?”
Farmer: “I don’t want to pick a fight with you.”
Me: “I’m not sure I feel the same way.”
WHERE: Cowra, just outside the BP servo. I’m checking my messages when a large, tattooed, and grey-bearded freedom chief approaches. It’s 35 degrees and I’m tired.
Freedom Chief: “What’s that, mate?”
Me: “It’s a Niken.”
Freedom Chief: “What’s it go like?”
Me: “Like a Niken.”
Freedom Chief: “My son owns a bike shop. I ride a Harley. I’ve been riding for 20 years.”
Me: “I will drink to your joy when I get home.”
Freedom Chief: “So it’s like a Spyder with those two front wheels? Looks a bit tall.”
Me: “Not at all. A Spyder is big mobility scooter for fat people with bad knees who can’t ride motorcycles. This is not that.”
Freedom Chief: “Why does it have a side-stand?”
Me: “Because petrol leaks out when it lies on its side.”
Freedom Chief: “What engine has it got?”
Me: “An MT-09 engine.”
Freedom Chief: “What’s that?”
Me: “It’s an engine from an MT-09.”
WHERE: Outside the Henty bakery. I am putting my jacket and helmet on and two young blokes with beanies and pierced faces, exuding vibrations of teenage angst, misery, and cynicism walk by, then stop and come back.
Teen One (to his mate): “Dude, check this fucking thing out…”
Me: “You want me to pose a certain way?”
Teen One: “Ha ha! Nah, mate, sorry. I mean your bike…wow, it’s mental, aye?”
Me: “You ride?”
Teen One: “Yeah, just dirt bikes.”
Teen Two: “I rode my cousin’s DR to Melbourne a few times.”
Me: “So you know about front-end grip then?”
Teen Two: “Yeah, it’s important or you crash.”
Me: “Well, imagine a bike with twice the front-end grip of a normal bike.”
Both teens look like the secret of getting endless sexy girls is revealed to them.
Teen One: “Dude, that must be awesome.”
Me: “It is. But I’m too old to be very awesome.”
Teen Two: “So it leans and shit?”
Me: “It sure does.”
Teen One: “I wish I had a job. I’d get one.”
Me: “You could become a prostitute.”
Teen Two: “We talked about that. But we know all the mums in town, aye.”
WHERE: Just behind my dentist’s office in Neutral Bay. Young bloke in an expensive suit walks up.
Young Bloke: “Excuse me, can I ask what that is?”
Me: “It’s a Niken.”
Young bloke (pulling out his phone): “It’s the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. Can I take a picture?”
Young bloke (putting his phone away and sticking out his hand): “My name’s Justin. I’ve never seen anything like this. I was thinking about buying a bike. Are these things for sale? How big is the engine? Does it lean into corners? Why does it have two wheels at the front?”
Me (shaking his hand): “I’m Boris. You should buy a bike. It’s the best thing ever. Yes, Yamaha sells these things to anyone who wants to buy one. It’s a 900. Yes, it leans into corners. It has two wheels at the front to increase the grip of the front-end.”
Young bloke: “Is that important?”
Me: “You won’t die as soon as you would on a normal bike.”
Young bloke: “It’s so cool!”
Me: “I think so.”
WHERE: At a set of lights. Large, heavily tattooed, troublesome-looking carnivore in a pimped-out Ford Raptor is staring at me through the closed window of his car.
Carnivore (mouthing): “What the fuck is that?”
Me (motioning he should open his window): “It’s what happens when your mum has sex with goats.”
Carnivore transmits the Death Stare at me.
Me: “Is your mum hot?”
Carnivore (after a confused pause): “She’s alright.”
Me: “There’s an unmarked cop car behind you.”
WHERE: Main street of Cabramatta. I’m parked beside some scooters. A Vietnamese bloke is staring at me and the Niken.
Me: “Never seen one of these, have you?”
Vietnamese bloke: “No, first time. Is very special look.”
Me: “Yeah, I think so. You like it?”
Vietnamese bloke: “Yes, yes. Look very…ah, tough.”
Me: “Thanks, I try. But the Niken, this. You like?”
Vietnamese bloke (laughing): Ha ha! Yes, yes, look like robot. Fight robot.”
Me: “It protects me.”
Vietnamese bloke: “You lucky.”