Recently I ran across an interesting thread in a motorcycle forum that I frequent. The premise of the post was to chronicle your favorite motorcycle memory. I thought about adding to the growing list but realized that after 50+ years of riding I have too many great memories to narrow it down to one. Instead, I thought I would share some of those memories with you on this space from time to time throughout the year.
Seems only logical to start at the beginning. Like most kids who were born and raised in the 60’s and 70’s, much of my time was spent outdoors looking for any sort of item or idea to entertain me. Luckily, I had two neighbors who were my same age so we spent a lot of time together just goofing off. We did the usual stuff: rode bicycles, played war with sticks for guns (hey, it was Vietnam on the TV in those days) and any other game our imaginations could come up with. Fortunately, I lived on a small farm consisting of about 50 acres, an old barn, a pond and 80 acres of abandoned woods next to our property that became our playground.
I’m not sure who was first, I think it was my neighbor Tony, who came rolling down our long gravel driveway on a mini-bike. Well, once I saw that bike…no petaling required…I was done with anything two wheels that did not have a motor. Next thing I remember, I had a mini-bike too, with a 5 hp Tecumseh, pull start, one gear , no clutch and lousy brakes. In no time all three of us were running around the farm like little Hell’s Angels wannabe’s.
That was my humble introduction into the world of motorcycles. Little did I know, but from that moment on I would never be the same. My parents had no idea what they were starting when they brought that little bike home. Honestly I don’t remember much about the bike itself, but I can clearly see Tony, Kevin and myself sitting on our bikes in my driveway, engines running, ready to wreak havoc on the neighborhood.
As they say, “From humble beginnings come great things.” Aside from my friends and family, the most important and defining entity in my life began when I was just a 6-year-old boy putting around the field with his pals on those crude two-wheelers. Some people think I’m a “nice guy.” Some think I’m an ass.” Some realize I’m both. I’m sure most of my friends and acquaintances imagine this old guy lives a pretty boring life. They have no idea of the adventure I live on two wheels.
I cannot imagine what my life would look like if I did not have this lustful love for motorcycles. More garage space I guess…but as I sit here at the bar in my garage, watching a motorcycle race on the tube, I look over to my right where my car should sit and here is what I see…adventure waiting to happen.