One of our regular characters was Phil Ridgdill. Phil was a controller in East High and was probably the resident expert in motorcycles. What Phil didn’t know about bikes or couldn’t do on a bike wasn’t worth knowing or doing. Especially on the road, Phil was the king.
Roddy, on the other hand, got interested in motocross racing in his early days. Our supervisor, Ron Browne, was easily wound up by Roddy’s racing interest, which Ron felt took precedence over Roddy’s interest in training. Nevertheless, Roddy eventually became Florida State Motocross Champion and a pretty good controller in the bargain, ratifying our collective assessment of Ron’s dubious insights.
Roddy and Phil rode a lot together, both to and from work and recreationally away from work. Once Roddy bought a new 900cc Kawasaki and after being waxed a couple of times by Phil, secretly installed an 1100 kit. The next day as they were riding to work they ran the stretch from Dunn Avenue to Callahan at a relatively tepid pace of 80-90 miles per hour. Once clear of Callahan, they decided to open ‘em up.
A couple of miles out of Callahan they saw a car on the side of the road ahead with the trunk lid up. Figuring a disabled vehicle, they continued apace, which by this time was on the far side of a buck-thirty. As they cleared the car they saw the black and white of the county gendarme parked in front of it. There wasn’t much to do at that point but to keep going. After all, even if the deputy stood on it for all the high speed police pursuit cruiser was worth, he could never catch them.
As they neared Hilliard, Phil and Roddy, figuring you still can’t outrun a Motorola, took a cutoff road that bypassed town and came out just east of the center. They rode the bypass at a saintly 35-40 but at the top of the hill, as they turned left toward the center, they saw a Blues Brothers-like collection of squads replete with flashing lights awaiting them. Without a bit of ceremony, the boys in blue escorted our lads (on their bikes, no less) down to the county lockup where interviews were then conducted.
When asked where they were headed, Phil and Roddy told them they were on their way to work (almost in front of the road block). The deputy asked, “you weren’t trying to avoid our road block on US 1?”
“What road block?”
“We clocked you boys at a high speed down south and figured to stop you at the road block, but you surprised us by taking the cutoff.”
“That wasn’t us. We were just headed for work.”
“Where do you work?”
“At the air traffic control center where you stopped us.”
“Uh…” the deputy stammered as he looked at the licenses of the otherwise respectable looking miscreants, “…maybe we have the wrong guys. Do you want us to call work and tell them why you’re late?”
“Thanks, no. We’ll explain it to them. They’ll understand.”
Roddy and Phil couldn’t get out of the lockup quick enough and after 15 minutes of slow riding, pulled into the center, went inside, made their mea culpas, and proceeded to relate the tale of the morning’s commute to the attentive in the café.
Not wanting to take any chances, they didn’t ride their bikes home that afternoon. In fact they left them there for three or four days. However, nothing ever came back to haunt them.
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Last updated: 22 March 2009