I always did love riding my motorcycles, I began on a mini bike that I shared with my brother when I was very young, we loved this mini bike so much that we made the mistake of pushing it into the house to keep it in our room so it wouldn’t get stolen, I knew it was not a good thing when we woke up sick next morning and Mom was trying to find the source of the smell of gasoline in the house, the look on her face was not a pleasant one when she came into our room and saw that mini bike sitting there, needless to say that was the last night we slept with the mini bike.
We wore the mini bike out pretty quick and moved up to a big time Honda CL-70 about a 1970 model that was supposed to be a street bike but we didn’t have a license so it became a trail bike pretty quickly, we were living in North Carolina at the time and the wooded area we lived on was perfect for trail riding, we and a neighbor kid who had a Kawasaki 125 took like in Alice's Restaurant “shovels, rakes, and implements of destruction into the woods and cut out trails, although Arlo Guthrie wasn’t cutting trails he was picking up the garbage and now I’m getting off the subject so I will get back on the trail, our most impressive trail was about a mile and a quarter in diameter according to the odometer on the CL 70 which included a steep hill in the middle that began with crossing a small creek at the base and also had a by pass for the street bike so it didn’t have to climb the hill the Kawasaki always made with ease, I finally got brave and made it all the way to the top once only to slow to a stop without getting the back tire onto flat ground, it is a long way back down when you are tumbling with a small Honda and to get up out of the creek to the laughter of the Kawasaki rider is quite humiliating to say the least, I had a little payback laugh myself as we were riding back home, I was following JJ and he would turn back to laugh at me and my smaller bike covered with mud every so often, my laugh came as he was laughing and didn’t see the small tree catch his handle bar that turned him into the brush and over his own handlebars. JJ and his laughter made me a better and more observant rider trying to keep up with him and his much better bike.
After I was grown I actually bought my first bike to ride on the street, it was a Yamaha 250 the largest bike I ever owned at the time, it was actually more of a trail bike but I drove it back and forth to work and never off road, go figure huh. This bike is where I learned to respect myself and to pay attention to everyone else because they were not paying attention to me, finances were limited and the muffler was out making it so loud that a police officer gave me a warning that I would be getting a ticket if he heard my bike again, after pricing the mufflers and looking at them I took a juice can and poked holes all in the bottom, cut the lid completely off and it slid perfectly into the pipe, a sheet metal screw and I was now legal to ride on the street, my Southern engineering was still working when I sold it a few years later.
My last bike was also a Honda it was a 1982 V45 Sabre that I did love to ride, I owned this one while Cindy and I were dating and many of our dates were on this bike, I had a lot of good times and a few close calls but no close calls while Cindy was with me, the one that scared me most was one night while riding on a dark highway I had just shifted into 6th gear which meant I was going “Highway Speed” can’t remember how fast to tell you the truth, when I saw something red on the road I am trying to figure what it is, had a truck dropped paint on the road? When into my headlights all of a sudden I see either a small calf or a very large dog laying in the road, I remember standing up and turning the throttle back as hard as I could before I hit it as I had no time to be turning, I felt like Evil Kenevil when I landed on the back tire and never slowed down, the next morning I was cleaning black hair off the frame of my bike when I realized that Cindy had turned down the offer to go riding with me the night before, it took me several days to get up the nerve to tell her the story you know I had to macho it up a bit with the Evil Kenevil bit but to tell you the truth I have never felt my heart beat so hard and to have struggled so hard to stop shaking after that one.
I have a very good friend in New Mexico who is still riding a Harley, he always wanted a bike that only he had ridden, not a new one that had been test driven or one he had ordered that had a chance of someone else’s a*# having been on the seat before his, he wanted to build one from the ground up, so Dennis bought another Harley and completely took it apart, rebuilt the motor and added new handlebars and all new wiring, ordered a new tank and fenders and painted it himself, he had the seat re padded and new leather added, new pegs and forward controls, this project took months and it turned out beautiful, the nicest Harley around I’ll give that to Dennis he did a fabulous job on this bike, he didn’t like the lights so he ripped them all off and ordered a new tail light and turn signals they came in and were installed, I was admiring his work while he was making adjustments and standing back to look them over, it was getting dusky dark when he said “Jimmy will you jump on and ride down the driveway so I can see how the lights look” I had no problem with this so I fired it up and took off down the drive, I got to the end and figured he should see the turn signal in action so I clicked on the right turn and made my way down Prince Street, this bike felt so good I didn’t want to come back but I did and Dennis was proud of the way the lights looked. Next time we were at their house the project was complete and Dennis had ridden his bike to town, he had a few buddies over and we were sitting around listening to everything he had done to this bike when he said “And my a*# is the only one that has ever been on the seat because no one else ever rode her” you should have seen the look on his face when I said “But Dennis I rode her first”