Sunday, August 22, 2010

First Times

My first time with a motorcycle and I got my finger's burned.
It was back in Turnersville, NJ and I was about eight years old. Jimmy Davys was a friend of my dads who came by on his motorcycle. If I remember right, it was a White AMF Harley. It was cool. He was cool in a 1970s kind of way. He was back from Viet Nam, wearing a white wifebeater and no helmet. I was told to stay away from the bike, but touched the tailpipe and burned my fingers. Got blisters and everything.

I was a big Evel Knievel fan back then, and my man rode a Harley scrambler. (check out this cool inforgraphic about EK) I had the wind up stunt cycle of my own that I jumped over the dirt Grand Canyons in the back yard.


My dad stoked my motorcycle dreams by getting me a Roadmaster bike with shocks and motorcycle seat.
 I was cool. The bike weighed a ton and looked and rode like hell when the BMX bikes came out a few years later, but for awhile, I was the king of the neighborhood. We jumped the heck out of that thing on the mounds of dirt between the houses.

Bikes have been substitutes for motorcycles for generations. I know I wasn't the first to pretend that there was a motor powering my lead weight bike instead of my little legs.

My brother and sister's friends all had dirt bikes when we moved to Washington State. It was the late 70s and  the motocross dudes were the demigods of Klickitat county.

My first time on a motorized two-wheeler was on a scooter. A Honda Cub to be exact. The Cub and Supercub (and later the Passport) was the vehicle that made the Honda corperation. They are still making them and at 60 million and counting, it is the most mass-produced motorized vehicle in the world.

My stepfather - Lester - bought the Honda Passport in 1982 for my mom. We were living in The Dalles and Lester was a impulse buyer. He had just bought a CB900 for himself and he wanted to teach her to ride. She hated motorcycles.

On her first lesson, we took the Honda up to the parking lot of the nearby church. She went round and round on the scooter and was doing pretty good until he told her to shift into second. It's an auto transmission, so shifting is easy, but it gave her a little jolt. She tensed up and thereby squeezed the throttle. She started going round and round like a 78 record on 45, unable to stop until she finally went flying off and into the bushes.

That was the last time she ever rode it. My brother Chuck and I loved the thing and rode it all over town. It was a blast and I wish I still had it. Would love to get a used one, or even by a new Symba -- which is a brand new Cub built by a company in Taiwan that used to make them. (See TeamSymba for more. )

I'm still a sucker for Hondas and Harleys and all this lead to the foundation of the my motorcycle dreams.