Another Sunday Morning Motorcycle Ride?

The officer pointed at my old Indian waved me over.

This past Sunday morning, my riding partner and neighbor, Dean, rode over on his trusty 1959 Panhead. He wanted to show me his recently purchased, correct, and original bubble bags. The sun had just come up and the temperature was climbing out of the high 30s. I was bundled up for the cold when I fired up my trusty old 1931 Indian 101 Scout. While it had been more than a month since I had last rode this old Indian, it is a bike I have ridden a lot over the years and is one of my favorites.

We rode to our usual Sunday morning breakfast spot where we caught up with some of the usual suspects and their much newer motorcycles. After breakfast, Dean and I headed over to Marcus Dairy, the famed Sunday morning motorcycle hangout that will be torn down by the time you read this. On the 20-mile ride, we passed under a traffic light that flicked from green to yellow to red. A police car zoomed past us in the opposite direction with the lights on. Moments later, my Indian started surging. I looked down and saw raw gas pouring out of the old Schebler carburetor.

I knew it was a float-related issue causing the carb to overflow. Odds are either some rust or grit jammed the pivot pin, causing the float to stick too low in the bowl, or today’s crappy gas had finally trashed the float, causing it to swell and lock in place. Neither scenario was good, but the first is much easier to fix on the side of the road. I turned off the fuel petcock and pulled out a heavy screwdriver. I banged the carb several times and turned the fuel back on. It still overflowed. On the third try, the float popped back into position and I was good to go. The process only took about five minutes, by which time Dean had finally turned around and ridden back to see what I was doing. He explained his delay by saying that if the policeman had pulled me over, it was best for him to wait up the road rather than get involved in whatever would be going on.

As we accelerated back onto the road, another cop car pulled up with flashing lights. The officer pointed at my old Indian and waved me over. I was riding under the speed limit and doing nothing illegal. We slowed down. And so did the cop car which drove next to us. The policeman was studying our old bikes. Then he simply waved to us, smiled, flipped off the lights, and pulled away. Seems he just wanted to have a look at Dean’s Pan and my Indian and used the police lights to slow us down long enough for him to get an eyeful. What a jerk! He could have simply pulled up without the lights and had a look.

If you enjoy classic American motorcycles like old Harley and Indian motorcycles, check out our Classic American Iron site.

New Ride For Old Bikes
All of us enjoy a good motorcycle ride (if not, you’re reading the wrong magazine) but epic rides like the coast-to-coast Motorcycle Cannonball take more time than many of us can swing.

Most of our staff, including editors, art directors, and advertising salesmen ride. We’re always ready for any excuse to get out of the office and ride. So here’s the deal on a new ride for old bikes. We’re planning the two-day Motorcycle Kickstart Classic for October for any motorcycles with kickstarters — antique, classic, custom, or chopper. The weather should be terrific that time of year, so consider this your invitation to join us at Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, for an open house Wednesday, October 5. We roll out Thursday morning and should ride into the Barber Museum in Birmingham, Alabama, around lunchtime Friday, October 7, for the start of the museum’s Vintage Festival.

Named the Motorcycle Kickstart Classic, in honor of the art of the kickstart, this event is open to everyone who can kickstart his motorcycle (which you will have to do often on this ride). This event is sponsored by our American Iron Magazine, RoadBike magazine and Motorcycle Bagger magazine. For more info visit the American Iron Magazine site.

American Iron Motorcycle Bagger
Based on the popularity of our two special Motorcycle Bagger issues in 2010 we are expanding to bimonthly frequency (six issues) in 2011. Expect the same quality and depth of details you find in American Iron Magazine. The focus is on how to better ride, enjoy, maintain, and customize your bagger motorcycle. Also, expect tours, new products, tech, and reviews. The first issue will be on sale at Daytona Bike Week, and you can now buy a subscription at only $11.99 a year by purchasing online at

If you want to share photos of your bagger, send a letter and a few snapshots of you and your bike to [email protected]; post it on Facebook (like Motorcycle Bagger), or mail it to Motorcycle Bagger Mailbag, 1010 Summer St., Stamford, Connecticut 06905. Who knows, it might end up in print.

Ride safe, ride smart, have fun. – Buzz Kanter


  1. Mike Benincasa says:

    I agree with Gilbert…the guy is obviously a fan of the bikes. You should be flattered, not overly sensitive…learn to take some ribbing.

    M. Benincasa

  2. P.O. Mark Gilbert says:

    So let me get this straight, A police officer slows you down, smiles and waves and he’s a jerk. Without talking to him you don’t know what his intention was. I guess I’ll stick with the other bike magazines. You probably think I’m a jerk too.

    P.O. Mark Gilbert, White Plains PD

    Is the P.O. in the Nov. issue a jerk too?

  3. We got a number of letters and emails from readers defending the policeman’s actions. It seems most defending the policeman’s using his lights to slow me down to look at the bike were active or retired officers.
    We got a lot more letters of fellow riders upset with the polceman’s use of his emergenty lights simply to have a look at my bike. What do you think?