By Craig Latimer
From Singletrack Magazine – Issue 1
A speeding ticket gave Craig Latimer an unexpected excuse to ride his bike more. He didn’t count on quite how much more…
I am driving a borrowed vehicle, a sleek, powerful, four-wheel drive truck, late-model and plush. Also fast. In fact, I am driving it at 70-miles an hour through a 35 mile an hour zone. I am not doing it because I am disorderly or drunk or a bad person. In fact, I have borrowed the vehicle to deliver children’s books for a nonprofit, Christian organisation. Honest. I am driving at this speed simply because I am thinking about other things. Besides, all trucks – hell, most cars I’ve ever owned, rattle and shimmy like Tina Turner on hot coals once they exceed 50 miles an hour. This vehicle is buff and flying and besides, I’m thinking about what might have happened if Carlos Baerga had singled in the ninth inning against the Braves in the World Series and I’m thinking about what a little minx Julia Louise Dreyfess is and what a damn shame that Hank Williams died at 29 and where I should eat lunch and what privileges I’m going to take away from my kid if I get home and the lawn still isn’t mowed. I am yanked from this reverie by a-lookin’-in-my-mirror-and-a-seeing-a-po-lice-car.
After the officer informs me of my transgressions and fines me enough money to buy new Rockshox, I continue on my way, not realising that the journey has only begun.
A letter from those dutiful folks at the Department Of Transportation informs me that in March they will see fit to revoke my driving privileges for a period of two weeks. This, they reason, will teach me a lesson. “Oh yes”, they add, “…and Happy Christmas”.
The two week period for my suspension begins today and I have made an important decision. I am going to drive anyway. First of all, this not-driving is simply not going to fit into my lifestyle. I love to ride my bike as much as the next guy, but the current job description I have found for myself requires suits, ties, shined shoes, an appointment here, a drive across the county there, meetings with zoot-suit-corporate-types where bike-helmet-hair is neither acceptable nor understood. Besides, it’s just for two weeks. I will obey the speed limits religiously. I will not for one second be so foolish as to drive with alcohol on my breath or in my blood. I will be a model driver. I will be okay.
I have just finished talking to two different school groups on the glories of the non-profit Christian organisation. I leave the basement of the small church in the small country town where the meeting was held. I drive away on a back road which follows several sharp bends before it comes out to an intersection with a lightly travelled secondary road. At this intersection, there are Police everywhere and they have created a road block. An officer comes over to my window and says, “Sorry to bother you sir. Just a routine roadside check. Can I see your drivers license?”
How I laughed…
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It’s a year since my first, innocent speeding ticket. A year…
Got a big chunk of mud up my nose when we raged down that muddy slide and crossed that creek and Twisted Rich endoed but got up laughing so it was okay. We hadn’t ridden down here in the mountains all summer but I picked up Rich and Mac and Tweener and drove ‘em all down for a day in the forest. Kicked their asses, too.
Well, hell, I guess I should.
[This article first appeared on www.dirtragmag.com and was republished in Issue 1 of Singletrack Magazine April 2001 – Used with permission.]
Posted on: September 12, 2013