User Shaken

No, that isn’t the past participle of “shake”, although the experience did shake me a bit. Shaken (車検) is the Japanese vehicle test to get the endorsement sticker for one’s license plate, similar to emissions tests in the States, but far more comprehensive, and far more expensive. (I can’t tell you how hard it was not to title this one “shaken not stirred.”) I put my bike through the test today, and the story of my valiant struggle may be useful if you, like me, have quasi-legal modifications to your bike, or if you, like me, are a frackin’ dumbass.
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Mary Anne’s Bikes

Back in 2001, we got an email from some folks at the BBC, saying they were producing a TV program about global biker culture called Mary Anne’s Bikes, and wanted to do a feature on us (another benefit of having a website back when that was still relatively unusual). We got a bunch of our friends together and rode around Tokyo with their film crew, causing major congestion on the Shuto expressway in the process, and got some sweet shots. Since I’m on a Google Video kick right now, I’ve uploaded the clip.

This is back when I had no hair and my bike still had short forks, Owen was still single, and we were both noticeably younger than we are now. Thanks once again to professional editing and a kickass voiceover by Mary Anne Hobbs, we come off looking a good deal less dorky than we were in real life.

Mary Anne’s Bikes was a great show. The episode we were on also featured guys who test sportbikes on the Riviera, a biker from India who lost his leg but kept riding, a muddy no-frills biker rally in Russia, and more. It’s a pity it only lasted one season and doesn’t appear to be available on DVD, because I think more bikers around the world should see this show.