Cruising down this long windy road through Griffith Park, I heard this rattling like there was a pebble in my engine getting thrown around in the casing. It was about four seconds from that moment until the ped shut off, leaving me doing like 40mph, lightless, screaming this down dark mountain pass in the middle of the night. In an immediate panic, I grabbed the brake handles but my eyes began to adjust and I could make out the road ahead, so I continued down the mountain toward the closest source of light that I could see. What I saw turned out to be walkway lights in a small parking lot at the base of the slope, and I coasted in so that I could get a look at my bike. Perhaps it was something simple, a taillight bulb came loose and threw off my electrical system...Perhaps I broke my spark plug--that would explain that weird rattling sound I heard just before shutdown. One thing was for certain. I was miles and miles from home with an adjustable wrench and a 10mm crescent, staring blankly at my dimly lit moped in this empty lot and facing the immutable truth that there wasn't much I could do at that moment, and I was about to walk this dead moped all the way home, when this little old man appeared next to me. After a few minutes of chatting with him ("Plugs? Electrical?"), he kindly offered to haul me and my ped home in his pick-up.
The next morning, I went out and got to work on the Puch to see if I could figure out what had gone wrong. After a few minutes of checking out the plug and electrical system, I pulled off the head and cylinder to stare at the inside of my engine. At that moment, the answer became visibly clear. A small metal shard from the back of my cylinder had broken off, got lodged between the piston and cylinder, and generally tore up the inside of my engine. And just like that, I got up, washed my hands, and ordered a whole new piston, cylinder, and head for my moped.