Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

What was your first motorcycle?

Do you remember your first motorcycle?

I'm afraid that I might be a little too analytical to answer my own question in a simple way, as I tend to overthink things way too much. For example, the first motorcycle that I actually owned, as in- the bike was legally registered in my name- was a 1990 Kawasaki EX500. My very first motorbike, however, was a very used Otasco mini-bike. It had no suspension, a horizontal shaft, pull start Tecumseh engine with a whopping 3.5 horsepower, an extremely worn out centrifugal clutch and a completely exposed chain. Ah yes, by today's standards it was a veritable death trap! My dad bought it for me from my big brother's junior high friend and I tore up the streets and trails on that little bike. In all honesty, I was probably a little too big for it, but I didn't care- I was having the time of my life. 

Motorcycles just make everything better. 

Terminator was a cool movie... but it got even cooler when the cybernetic killer from the future threw his leg over that Honda 750 Four and started chasing down the heroes while wielding a machine gun. When Beatrix Kiddo (aka Uma Thurman) donned that skin tight yellow riding suit and straddled that Kawasaki ZZR250, it certainly didn't hurt ticket sales... although that one may have had more to do with who was riding, rather than what she was riding. Regardless though... she wouldn't have been wearing that motorcycle suit if she wasn't riding a motorcycle in the movie. 

I'd be willing to bet that you know, or have known someone that you were never really interested in talking to until you found out they rode a motorcycle, then they suddenly became more interesting. Funeral escorts seem more dignified when they are being escorted by police motorcycles, Mardi Gras parades are often kicked off by police motorcycles rolling through the parade route first. Kids of all ages love seeing them riding and most people who cringe at the sight of a police officer will be the first to run up and take a picture with a Motor cop. I think the reason is because almost everyone can relate, in some way, to a person on a motorcycle. Motorcycles make people cooler and more approachable.

What bike inspired you, or your passion for riding?

The bike that did it for me was a 1980 Suzuki GN400X that my brother got from a friend of his. The bike was brought over to our house in boxes and I was immediately enthralled by it. I asked my brother what he was going to do with it and when he said that he wasn't going to do anything with it, I jumped on the opportunity to put the puzzle back together. I was maybe 13 or 14, had no knowledge of motorcycles, no service manuals to guide me and no Google to ask because the internet didn't even exist yet. But with a lot of determination, a little patience, a lot of trial and error and a fair share of blind luck, I was able to piece and part that thing back together. 

I still remember the feeling I got when I kicked that bike over and it actually fired up, and I'll never forget my very first ride on it. I loved riding dirt bikes, but there was just something different about the feeling I got when I twisted the throttle on that old Suzuki for the first time. Something just clicked and it was as if a piece of my own puzzle had just popped into place. At that very moment, a seed was planted that would take several years to sprout. When it finally broke through to the light though, what started as a tiny little seed would later grow into a towering passion that would come to define so many aspects of my life. I don't think I could have ever imagined that while I was sitting in our driveway on that old Suzuki, with it's single cylinder 400cc engine thumping for the first time in years, that the memory of that moment would become so influential in my life.

Why we ride.

Every person has their own reason, or reasons, why they choose to brave the dangers and ignore the warnings from their mothers, friends and co-workers about the dangers of motorcycle riding. If you've never seen it, I highly recommend the documentary film, Why We Ride. Even if you  don't ride... actually, specifically if you don't ride...  you should watch it. It might give you some insight about those people in your life that do ride motorcycles and why riding is so important to us. 

Riding my motorcycle is therapeutic. It gives me an opportunity to clear my mind and compartmentalize all of those things that are rattling around inside my head so that I can prioritize what's important and dump what's not. My wife has told me that she can see a difference in my overall mood when I've been off the bike for too long. There are so many times in my life that I've been able to find solace behind a set of handlebars and inner peace in the steady rumble of a motorcycle engine. I've also had a lot of fun on a motorcycle. I've enjoyed the camaraderie of riding with groups of friends, the dignity of riding in escorts and the exhilaration of riding through the mountains with my bike leaning so far over that sparks were flying. I've had adventures, explored new places and yes, I've even had a few close calls.

Your story.

What's your life story going to look like? If someone were to make a Hollywood movie about your life, with your favorite actor playing you, what would it be about and how interesting would it be? I'm not suggesting that any of us live our lives like a Tinseltown flick, but when you are drawing your last breaths and looking back over your life, will your life have been an action-adventure, a comedy, a drama or a tragedy?

I'm not sure that my life story would be a blockbuster- instead, I imagine it being a low-budget, over produced, action film with cheesy dad jokes, bad wardrobes and a completely random soundtrack. But I think it would be a fun movie to watch, with a lot of love, a little tragedy and a whole lot of great supporting characters to carry it through to the end credits. 

Fill your life with memories that you fondly remember and give your family and friends a good story to tell after your gone. You don't have to have a lot, to live a lot. After all, you never can tell, sometimes those low-budget, B-rated, movies become cult classics that end up being loved and remembered for generations.