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Telephone Pole Blues on collision with their motorcycle at a closing speed of one hundred and ten miles per hour. Billy leaned hard to the right, jerking the handlebars in that direction, at the same time hoping that Ridenbaugh could both hold on and, either by seat-of-the-pants feel or instinct, throw his weight in the right direction. It was happening too fast, and without thinking he flew into a series of responses designed to avoid certain death. They were now streaking toward the right curb at a forty-five-degree angle. The oncoming headlights and grille were impossibly close but moving past them on a slant. Beyond the curb lay a narrow grass strip and then the sidewalk. Behind the sidewalk was a row of brick store fronts. Between downshifting and braking, their forward speed had dropped to forty-five mph. The front wheel slammed into the curb and the motorcycle bucked upward like a prancing horse rearing back on its hind legs. “Hold on,” Billy yelled, “we’re taking off.” The continuous blast of the car’s horn grew in volume and pitch as it approached them. Had he wanted to, Billy could have reached out and down with his left hand touching the left front fender of the car as it hurtled past them. How the car missed the left rear side of the motorcycle and avoided crushing

Ridenbaugh’s leg would, depending on your outlook, remain a mystery or reflect a miracle. Now their back wheel struck the curb. The rear of the bike shuddered violently upward. Ridenbaugh held on as they went airborne, sailing over t he grass st r ip. Somehow, they landed upright on both wheels twenty feet away at the ragged edge of the sidewalk. But they were still traveling forty mph, and to avoid the brick storefronts Billy and Dick instinctively coordinated their lean, which left them skimming along the top of the curb like an unsteady monorail. Up until this point, it had been an incredibly lucky escape act brilliantly executed. But that was all before they arrived a second later at the intersection of Beckford and East Washington Street, where a telephone pole stood firmly planted. The front tire of the motorcycle na r rowly missed, but t he r ig ht handlebar grip clipped the pole at thirty five mph, which wrenched the front wheel v iolently to the right. This catapulted Billy over the handlebars into a tumbling somersault through the air. The bike’s mass and forward momentum caused it to continue wobbly but upright into the intersection with Ridenbaugh now sitting precariously on the back of a driverless machine. Unfortunately, the action of the right handlebar grip impacting the telephone pole bent the throttle control into a wide-open position so that

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July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015

July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015