One of the main roads in Ginza is closed off to traffic on the weekends (this also happens at Shinjuku on Sunday – what a great concept). So you get all sorts of shoppers loitering about amongst street photographers, tourists, tv show interviewing people on the street and others walking about. I was at an intersection snapping away. All of a sudden, through the view finder I noticed this girl with her helmet on crossing the path. The bike was silent and she was pushing it. My first thought was that her bike had broken down because I had been in similar situations like so before although with a much lighter bike, much much less expensive bike and certainly more more more protective gear. And I did so because of either a dead battery, bad electrics, or out of fuel or a combination of these issues. I also did it with less grace bordering on none.
Then I realised. She had turned off the engine so she could cross the road.
I took off a few snaps and was hoping to run in front of her for a few more. Alas, by the time I picked up the shopping bag between my legs, she had hopped on, punched up the electric starter and roared away. At least I and another photographer were the only ones who captured this moment. The other photographer quickly showed his camera to his mates, who had by then huddled around him.
My bike that was mentioned was a Suzuki GN250 – a simple commuter bike – ubiquitous, low maintenance, cheap to run and great for a learner. I think it came in either red or black. The first time I took W for a ride, I told her it was a shitbox. She thought that was the real name and started telling her friends about it until I found out and corrected her.
Like I said, it is a simple bike and nothing fancy about it. Another time, I was getting ready to hop on. I started the motor to warm it up, and proceeded to put on my protective gear. Then a good looking girl passed by and said “good looking bike.” I don’t know why she said that and just said thank you back. And in the back of my mind, I had this image of those comedy sketches where Mr Bean or someone nerdy walking behind a bunch of fancy bikes and rode out in a daggy little moped. I still smirk every time I think of that moment. I put it down to the leather jacket rather than the bike itself.