Saturday, 5 November 2011


Scha·den·freu·de /ˈSHädənˌfroidə/
Noun: pleasure derived by someone from another person's misfortune.
I was recently talking with a friend about the hassles involved in getting an older bike through its annual MOT (annual safety check required by law in the UK). It's a bit of a chore, but without it I’d probably never actually check the bike over, however, it does require ever-increasing amounts of ingenuity to keep old bikes up to the required standards.

All the talk reminded me of when I took in an older MZ TS250/1 years ago. It was a bit of a heap, if I do say so myself, but it ran reasonably okay. I was using it as my commute to work bike at the time so needed to keep it road legal.

When I took it into the shop there was another rider already there - full ‘power-ranger’ race leathers in team colours, complete with knee-sliders and shoulder hump, holding a very expensive helmet in some race-hero colours. I was wearing jeans, boots and an old Belstaff jacket, and had a black open face helmet.

I said, “Hi!”, and he purposely ignored me. Oh, well. No skin off my nose. 

I booked the bike in and went through the rigmarole of how it worked, ie. no tickover, so blip the throttle, the lights only worked when the engine was running, don’t turn them on all at once or it would stall the engine etc.

Mr Power-Ranger stood sneering through all of this.

The bloke behind the counter wrote it all down with a sigh and said to come back in about an hour as he had to do Mr Power-Ranger’s Hondasakimaha Big Bore GSXYZ 1300 first.

So, I went for a walk and came back about 45 minutes later. When I entered the shop the bloke in shop looked up and actually threw the bike’s keys at me saying, “God knows how, but it passed. I’ll write out your MOT Certificate in a moment”.

He then turned to Mr Power-Ranger who had walked in behind me and said that the frame on his bike was twisted beyond recovery and he wouldn’t be getting his Certificate. He was going to need a new frame, and that wasn’t going to be cheap. Mr Power-Ranger looked like he was going to cry.

Picking up my new MOT Certificate I turned to Mr Power-Ranger and with a big, smug cheesy grin plastered all over my face wished him a very hearty, “Good morning!”

Oh, and I made sure to rev the old MZ outside the shop before I left.

It felt sooooo good!

(original cartoon by Ian Douglas)

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