Return of the Supermotard

Two weeks ago, my DR-Z400SM was stolen. It was a sad day. It was especially sad because I only have liability insurance.

On Sunday afternoon I got a call: the San Francisco Police Department found my bike! It took a few hours to sort out paperwork and run UPDATE VEHICLES SET STOLEN=FALSE WHERE LICENCE_PLATE='ABC4567'; It was DMV-esque: talking to different cogs in the machine; each one converting time into frustration. Finally, I was ready to pick up my bike.

Patience waning, I walked across the street to the impound lot, where the real adventure began. I was told it would be $200 to get my bike out of impound. The fee would have been $400, but the city of San Francisco gave me a we’re-sorry-your-bike-got-stolen-but-not-so-sorry-that-we-won’t-charge-you discount. I had no choice. I paid the money. The sleepy lady behind the bulletproof glass then said my bike wouldn’t be available until tomorrow morning.

Now that, I will not abide.

I took a breath. The words I wanted to say would not help me get my bike back. Had I said them, the end result would have been to annoy a sleepy lady and force me to come back to the impound lot in the morning.

I thought up some new words that would help me get my bike back. I exaggerated my plight. “Lady, I have a flight in the morning and I won’t be back for a week. That bike is my only vehicle. You’re the only person who can help me right now.” This was… somewhat true. I had a flight, but it was in the afternoon. I own a car, but I haven’t driven it in weeks. Really, I just wanted my bike.

The sleepy lady relented. My bike would be at the impound lot in an hour. Where was it coming from? Why couldn’t I take a cab to where it was now? Again I bit my tongue.

Finally, done with bureaucratic bullshit. I had spent a good chunk of my Sunday to get to this moment. Carrying my helmet everywhere I went. Fiddling with the key in my jacket pocket. Imagining the engine sound, the smell of fuel-rich exhaust, the exhilaration of twisting the throttle, dropping the clutch and accelerating quicker than my mind could comprehend. Buoyed by these images, I strode through the impound lot. Smiling. Anticipating. Key in hand, ready to ride a celebratory wheelie all… the way… home.

Except, wait a second. Where’s the keyhole in the ignition?

The thief made a few modifications to my bike.

Keyless ignition!

The thief removed the ignition. There’s no place to insert my key. Now if I want to ride, I just flip the kill switch and hit the starter.

Passenger pegs!

I don’t have a picture of these yet, but the pegs were attached with wood screws.

Aftermarket gas cap!

The original gas cap had a key lock. The thief did not have a key. Improvisation ensued.

Broken turn signals!

Fender eliminator kit!

(The thief hacksawed off part of the fender and moved the license plate up.)

Other minor changed included removing the tool pouch, removing all reflectors, and adding 500 miles to the odometer.

This morning I noticed one more thing…

The thief wrecked my bike and cracked part of the engine case. He “fixed” it with some JB weld. It leaks oil when running.

Last I heard from the cops, they have a suspect and he is in jail. I guess that’s a happy ending for everyone involved. Except the thief, who is in jail. And me, since I’m out $200 and my bike is fucked.



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