“Don’t worry about my plumbing. Get your bikes loaded.
You riding with Bum tomorrow? Glen Helen? That place is
about as much fun as double jumping a good gapper on
Carabella. You ever tied a bike down before? I’d be careful
when you lean over the bike and crank on that tie-down. It
The tie-down broke. But not the one I was cranking on.
Unfortunately, I was on the outside of the bike, kneeling
on the side of the truck bed with my belly resting on the
saddle. The outside tie-down itself was a red, white and
blue number, about 1-inch thick and popular when Reagan
was in office. I’m pretty sure that my little brother borrowed
my last pair of decent cinchers earlier in the week, so I was
left using this relic that I found hanging from a nail in the
garage. It disintegrated as I leaned over and yanked the
inside unit down in a “pull the sword out of your stomach”
Mental was chumming. In his hand was a 44-ounce Pepsi and a large bag of Doritos. I mentioned that the
integration of the two food groups would transform into
2 1/2 pounds of spackle snaking through his colon. My
big buddy was parked in a lawn chair, barking orders and
smearing chips like a sumo-sized drill sergeant.
By Tom Webb
“My head harpooned into the truck
bed, and the 350XC body slammed me
and left me pinned.”
“ The bike launched backward and
pulled me to the ground like I was
attached to a big-block V8 that had
been thrown off a cliff. ”
My very sano KTM 350XC exploded in the same direction as I was compressing the fork. My body hurtled over
the seat. My head harpooned into the truck bed, and the
350XC body slammed me and left me pinned.
Mental nearly choked on his spackle…laughing.
Someone had stolen my loading ramp—from my house,
from inside my truck bed, while I was home. I was furious;
my folding Matrix loading device—stable, compact and a
superb loader—had been nicked when I needed it.
My phone beeped a text.
“Tom, Harv here. You weren’t up and I needed a ramp,
so I stopped by and borrowed yours. Be back at your
Hum. I was hosed now, as I was en route to Milestone to
moto with brother Mike. I had no spare; I’d left it in my van
when I sold it. I forgot to take it out. I had a Graham Sheet
Metal unit for a double decade, but it vanished when I got
to Indian Dunes in ’ 81 and realized that my ramp and gear
bag had ejected on the 405 freeway somewhere.
I remembered a guy who used to load his bike by hand
and thought, “How tough can it be?” With the RM-Z staring at the tailgate, I hefted the front wheel in a dead-lift
move from the weightlifting world. I got it as high as my
knee. Perfect if my truck were a skateboard.
“Okay,” I thought, “let’s go the 2x4 route.” I located what
I thought was a decent chunk of lumber. Then I found a
hill and backed the truck up to it so that the loading angle
was closer to flat than uphill. I rolled the front wheel oh so
gingerly onto the 2x4, stepped onto the tailgate, and went
to push the machine the remaining way into the truck.
Unfortunately, the wood was arthritic and snapped when
the rear wheel still had a foot to go. The machine’s rear
end plummeted and the frame’s engine cradle slammed
onto the tailgate. My momentum snarled. The rear wheel
kissed the earth. My right foot slipped off the tailgate. The
bike launched backward and pulled me to the ground like
I was attached to a big-block V8 that had been thrown off
I ended up missing Milestone Moto, but did get to go to
the emergency room for foot X-rays.
I’ve now learned my lesson. It took nearly three decades,
but I realized that I cannot regulate who takes, borrows
or needs moto loading and cinching hardware. I’ve taught
myself to make proper knots and use rope to cinch my
machines down. I made a loading ramp out of a 2x10, and
in the last three months, no one has borrowed my rope or