When faith is no more he shall rise again, on a hill upon a horse; guarded by his Knights on foot, he will ponder with head down on where he went wrong, this I know this I’ve seen…Dess
Bow and Arrow Pub, Cambridge Massachusetts, 1990
We would travel to Cambridge Massachusetts to a local hot spot called the Bow and Arrow Pub, managed by a man I remember only by first name Rich and his knock out ,soon to be wife Tiffany. It was an interesting place to hang out if you were/are interested in night life activities. The shape of the interior was ‘L” shape, with the front half occupied by Harvard University students and the back half occupied by locals and avid motorcycles. On occasion the front of the Pub would have some dozen or more bikes out front with sardine standing room only inside. I mean jamming. Being in my early twenties this was prime. I have heard that the Pub was used as a back drop in the movie “Good Will Hunting,” staring Matt Damon who attended Harvard from 1988-1992, yup, he was there. The back of the Pub had a juke box and pool tables and dart boards. The dart boards were located in the path of the restrooms and caution was needed when traveling to the “head.”
One would at first think that the three crowds of attendees would not mix well. The Harvard Crimson, newspaper, did a false story regarding the Pub and the mix of people,check it out here. They made claims there were animosity between the students and others at the Pub. This could not have been any further from the truth. In fact Rich, the manager, cut the story out and framed it and hung it on the wall for all to see. We would read from it on occasion for a good laugh. The person who wrote the story was directly lying with malicious intent, to give the Pub a bad name. To know that this writer is now a leader in some community somewhere is freighting. Many Universities in the Boston area, at the time, had it out for bars including Boston University who went after The Rathskeller or commonly known as "The Rat."The Rat was a local hard rock night club that supported many bands over the years including but far from limited too: The Ramones, Powerman 5000, Orange9 mm, Pixies, Dump Truck and hundreds of other bands that later disappeared or became famous. This was Harvard’s failed attempt to go after the Bow and Arrow Pub simply because it was a hot spot and very popular with the students. The main reason for the Pub being so popular was the availability of cheap beer. Harvard Square, Cambridge Massachusetts, is an expensive area. Boston University won the battle over “the Rat” and bought the block the club was located on and evicted the club.The diverse crowd that showed up made the place.
Both sides of the Pub got a kick out of the story and both sides of the Pub got along just fine, ask anybody who was there and they will tell you the same thing I just did.
Tiffany, the manager’s future wife, ran the back side of the Pub. I asked her why she tended bar in the rear and not the front, she told me that the rear of the bar tipped better than the front half. The students were broke and would only have one or two draughts. I remember Tiffany having Rich clean her side of the Pub.
One particular night at closing time we had the bikes out front and fired them up and started down the wrong way down a one way street before realizing the right way to meet up with Massachusetts Ave, the main drag in Cambridge. Harvard Square, Cambridge, was always busy even at one in the morning. Maneuvering a Harley Davidson motorcycles through and around traffic was tricky.
With a bit of a buzz on, difficult. (for those of you who mentioned to me that I am glorifying drinking I not, this is just how things went down). When we came to the center of Harvard Square, a fire truck was making its way through the traffic with lights and siren blazon. We proceeded to blast past the fire truck at half throttle which at the time was referred to as lane splitting. Lane splitting was not recommended by the Surgeon General and no longer practiced. Bill the Cop led the way. Lane splitting is flat out hazardous to your health. With cars moving on both sides. I remember the driver of the fire truck looking out the window down at us in amazement that we had the “balls” to pass him while he had his lights on. That blank look on his face I have not forgotten. It was no big deal to us at the time. The two fellows in the rear of the truck had that same look. We never got pulled over the driver must not have called it in to the local cops.
We travelled to Route 2, a small highway that heads west; I had a fist full of throttle by this time and bad timing. When making a corner on a motorcycle, do not accelerate. You tend to drift because the bike will try to straighten out. Well drift I did, right in to the guard rail. I hit the rail hard and was heading down to the pavement, hard. I hit the guard rail with such force that all I could see were sparks. The front end started to wobble uncontrollably. From left to right and back again. I remember the bike starting to lean with the wobble and I grabbed the throttle and twisted it to wide full open. The bike straighten out and pulled out of a very deadly situation. I later learned that this is called inertia. With rotating mass a motorcycle will try to straighten up right. I did not know about this at the time and later read about it in an engineering hand book. If it wasn’t for inertia I would not be here today. The next day my 48’ would not start on Sunday it did. I enjoyed working on my bike and the bike was in top condition and there was no explanation for it not starting. I miss this bike even today. It was a 1948 motor in a 1958 frame with a six inch over stock front end, wide glide. A fellow from the Netherlands bought it for resale overseas. I was short on cash at the time, today I would never sold it because they are so hard to replace. Hay, I was young and you know, live and learn. I would sleep on that bike before I sold it today. I now sit and think about that bike and how hard it would be to replace it. Harleys are an expensive and selfish toy, I miss riding a bike. That Sportster in my blog was stolen and most likely the last. To me, riding, is therapy. I am not going to try to explain it.
Creative Commons Copyright by Dess Dermondy