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LEO on the road again

I got the Valentine One installed and windshield remounted Monday afternoon (July 10, 2023), then took the Patrol bike on a meaningless meander of the local twisties. I finished that ride by picking up a cooking pot my wife left at a Monday potluck in the other direction.

I filled the BMW up with fuel before and after, returning 44 mpg with quite a bit of overtaking, some to triple digits, a couple climbs up both sides of 7,014-foot Lost Trail Pass from the Bitterroot River 3,500 feet below, powering out of too many lovely curves to count, then running the ‘downtown’ errand. The result was a very nice 117 mile 2 1/2 hour break from the nose-to-the-grindstone yard-and-shop-work fuddy duddy I have been of late.

My custom aluminum bracket dressed in rattle-can flat black then riveted on top of the cowling fits right in. The wiring sneaks underneath the plastic panels. I am pleased with how subtly my anti-harrasment insurance-premium-protection-system fits the overall look.

I would have preferred to have it wired into the ignition system, but that can of worms is well above my pay grade. It is through its own fuse, straight off the battery, but not too inconvenient to power up when the opportunity to roll on some throttle seems imminent.

During my formative years, attentive drivers and professional public safety officers used sight, thought and discretion to minimize accidents on the roads we traveled. Alert, attentive drivers would observe traffic officers, shed any speed in excess of the posted numbers and all go on about their business with little or no further interaction.

Then electronic gadgets changed the game. Sight, thought and discretion were replaced with a digital readout indicating a violation of one-size-fits-all rules. Skillful pilots of high performance vehicles were held to the same standard as inattentive, untalented borgs haplessly semi-responsible for keeping battle-scarred barges on the same road.

The uniformed folks developed video-game personas, becoming more likely to punish skilled drivers than the incompetent and impaired. Watching the world around them for dangerous driving maneuvers has been replaced by their game consoles. Their controllers even renamed them to Law Enforcement Officers, helping plant the seed, or confirm that they were not anointed to preserve the peace or safety of their communities, but to enforce rules cast by their superiors.

Thanks to electrical engineer Mike Valentine, our tools can be equal to theirs. Sadly, I have to give some of my attention to the game console, but that beats the alternative.

About “LEO”: I don’t often give my vehicles cutesie names that stick. My very low mileage 2009 BMW R1200RT-P (the patrol version) was probably assigned to the department’s lead motor officer who spent more time riding a desk than the bike. The rest likely got traded in at some retirement age like 100,000 miles or so while this one at 14,000 miles just went along with them for an upgrade to a unified fleet of new ones.

Somewhere along the line a high performance exhaust system was added that changes from a rumbling purr to a noticeable ROAR when the throttle is opened up. That note, along with its law enforcement history inspired the name. I still call it “the BMW” or “the patrol bike” as often as not. Likely because, as indicated above, I have no love for the Peace Officer name change.


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Thank you, Ted Dunlap