Wheelie Faux Pas

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Allow me to begin by saying that it's been a long, unrelenting winter for Midwest motoheads, fraught with huge quantities of freezing precipitation, vicious potholes and a disheartening lack of sunlight. Until just this past week, spring seemed as likely as cold fusion, peace in the Middle East or Donald Trump changing his hairstyle. So when the temperature broke the 50-degree mark in Chicago, it was time to go for a ride.

For those of you familiar with the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, try to recall the scene when the mischievous garage attendant and his cohort take the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California for an extended joy ride. Visualize the sheer, unadulterated glee cemented on their faces as they go airborne in the priceless Ferrari, the Star Wars theme song blaring in the background. My analogy might be a bit dramatic, but I'm fairly certain that the expression on my face was a near-perfect rendition of that very scene as I rode my first spring wheelie down Sheridan Road in Glencoe, Illinois.

Unfortunately, the police officer who witnessed said wheelie didn't share my taste in movies—or shenanigans. In fact, he was less than amused. When my front wheel returned to earth, he initiated a traffic stop post-haste and began the procedure of issuing me a rather expensive ticket. Even my most venerated excuse, "I was an intern at Cycle World magazine!" fell on deaf, merciless ears.

Twenty minutes later, the officer handed me a traffic citation for "operating a motorcycle on one wheel," served with a vaguely perceptible grin behind his sunglasses. Okay, my decision to pull that wheelie wasn't exactly a good one, but it's been a chilly winter and I had an itchy throttle hand. Now that it's out of my system, I can look at the ticket like a fun tax, one that I'll hopefully avoid in the future.

—Aaron Salman