Friday, December 02, 2005


The slow and the curious

What exactly is going through the heads of these pimply-faced, 17 year-old kids when they pull up beside me in traffic at the wheel of some hilarious little compact car, wanting to race one of my sportbikes?

This has happened three or four times over the last few weeks, and is always the same scenario. I'm sitting at a red light, minding my own business, and begin to hear the intentional revving of a small-engined car with a farty sounding, coffee-can exhaust pipe. The car pulls up beside me and continues to rev. I ignore it. Finally, I look at the driver and overtly shake my head at him in disgust. The light turns green and I accelerate away at my own pace, as the little gramma car with the loud muffler does its best to impress me with a four-inch scratch and a rate of acceleration that would embarrass a ring-toed sloth.

Well, the other day, I gave in to temptation while out on the Green Meanie. As I sat at the light, listening to the inane revving of yet another Ricky Racer Wannabe® in a Dodge Neon, something snapped. I made a quick scan for cops, leaned down on the tank, held a 9,000-RPM rev, and blasted away when the light changed.

By the time I was at the top of second gear, I figured I had proven my point and got out of the gas. What seemed like 10 minutes later, the little Neon finally caught up and passed me like there was still a race going on. This brought us to the next intersection, where I promptly turned left instead of continuing to egg the kid on.

Then I started feeling stupid. I had just given the little numbskull his own personal sportbike demonstration, which is probably all he wanted to see in the first place.

Look, I know some of these little cars can be made to go fast -- and that's fine. Buy what you want and soup it up. More power to you. But unless your sport compact is capable of running a 9-second quarter mile, please don't bother trying to pick a fight with a sportbike. Most of you tuner freaks are hopelessly out of your league.


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