Put your hands in the air!
I’ll start with the backstory. I had sold a 2016 Husqvarna TE300 to a local fell named Eduardo. He liked it so much that he wanted to buy my other one that I was selling. He was a bit more of a beginner than I had originally thought, but was set on those particular bikes. He had cash, and was ready to make the deal.
Living in Peru, you become accustomed to doing certain things without any thought. Take speeding for instance…You can fly by a police car with no issue, pass on a double yellow, cut people off whenever you feel like it, and stop signs are optional. It becomes the norm.
Eduardo wanted to test drive the other bike before he bought it. He showed up to my house on the first Husky that he bought. His plan was to buy the other one, do the paperwork, and drop one bike off at his house and return to pick up the other via taxi. Simple plan.
Just behind my house are millions of trails and dirt roads. It was there I figured would be a good place to have Eduardo run through the gears. We ran up behind the house, ripped around for a few minutes while I showed off some of the capabilities of the motorcycle. He was a beginner and had no idea what he would be able to do once he hopped on. It’s like me when I watch Graham Jarvis. I think, dude, that bike is awesome…I bet I could do that. The next time I ride, I realize that it has a lot less to do with the bike and more about the rider. Regardless, I am pretty sure it helped sell the bike, even though it was nothing special.
After Eduardo realized that he would become the same rider as I just by purchasing the bike, we discussed the terms, and headed back toward the house.
About four blocks from the house as I came down the nasty dirt road where a cop with no headlights was coming toward me as it bounced through the potholes. As I approached the car, the blue and red flashing lights and sirens started. I thought it was just a simple warning that they were there and had nothing to do with me. I began to move over to the right to get past and return home when the cop car veered into my path rather abruptly and forced me to stop.
First of all, I was a bit ticked off at the fact that I had to stop or at minimum change my direction. There was plenty of room for all. They certainly wanted to talk with me. Normally that spells trouble. My initial thought was to bail over the side of the road, rip through the field and be lost in a heartbeat. It would have worked as there would be no way to identify me. This wasn’t a highly trained group of officers. Besides, I would be in my house before they could get turned around.
My problem was Eduardo. He was an amateur. I was not sure he could cross the ditch without tipping the bike over. Any stop, would potentially harm me as the police would certainly hold him hostage with the bike that was still in my name. I decided to do the correct thing. I stopped and tried to talk my way through.
There are a couple of things at play…The law and the interpretation of the law. These are not street legal motos in the US. They have headlights, but no blinkers. They have license plates and insurance, but they are not legal to drive on the roads. Many police don’t care. In fact, the public busses rarely have tail lights and most speed through red lights on a daily basis. Certainly they wouldn’t have a problem with me.
The four policemen in the car exited and proceeded to surround me as Eduardo pulled up behind. They radio’d for backup and shortly, a couple more police cars showed up. I didn’t have any of the documents for the bikes because we were just doing a quick test drive. They were at the house, just a few blocks away. I would hardly ever take papers anyways. It’s never needed. This time, the policemen needed more.
I told them it was a dirtbike and for motocross and that I never needed to have papers. I explained that I was showing Eduardo the bike as he wanted to buy it. I also stated that I have the papers, but they were not with me.
After a long ordeal, threats to impound the bikes and take me to the police station if by force if they had to, I negotiated a deal. I would meet them at the police station. I told them that nobody was going to take my bike without my hand being the one to turn the throttle. I have no confidence in the police and figured that once I let go of the bike, it would be gone forever. They wouldn’t let me go by myself and offered an officer to ride on the back. I explained that there were no footpegs and was not for passengers, but that doesn’t work for Peruvians. They could care less about footpegs.
A set of footpegs for each passenger is not required in Peru
One of the officers hopped on the back and I took it as an opportunity to make it as uncomfortable as it could be. Just my sarcastic nature. I ripped off the line as if going for the holeshot.
The officer about ripped the skin off my ribs as he gripped on for life. I went through the gears as he began screaming at me to be careful. I explained that it was a motorcycle for racing and that is why I don’t have a license plate on it. It’s for competition. And it’s fast. Shut up and deal with it. You caused this in the first place.
Behind us was a motorcade of police cars, and motorcycles. I led the pack with the officer explaining where to go, even though I knew where the police station was. We had about 5 minutes to reach the station. Once we got on the pavement, I turned it down a bit because of traffic. As the officer began asking me questions about what I was doing in Peru, he got an earful.
I explained that I was a missionary. I figured the term would put the fear of God into him. Then I told him about how I run dirtbike tours and we use the profits to help the poor and destitute kids in the neighborhood. Certainly it would help if he knew that. Then he asked me a strange question.
“Eres el famoso Scott?” He asked if I was the Famous Scott.
I wasn’t sure about his question. Was it a good thing to be The Famous Scott? By the way he raised his excitement level as he asked the question, I figured it was a good piece of capital to actually be The Famous One.
I concurred that it was in fact The Famous Scott that he was hugging as we headed to the police station. It all changed at that moment.
With the new celebrity status, the rest of the night went a lot smoother. I was still miffed about having to spend so much time at the police station. Nothing transpired but a lot of wasted time. I had to share motorcycle stories to the numbers of curious officers while they scrolled through my Youtube channel to see the Famous One in action.
When it was all said and done, I left with a mixed batch of feelings. I was tired and cold, missed out on a couple of hours with my family, and had a lot less respect for the system in Peru. On the other hand, I added another crazy Peru story to the mix and made a bunch of lifelong friends as I gratuitously accepted a number of Facebook friend requests from a number of the officers. Maybe next time, they will just let me be.